Amsterdam’s museum quarter, Museumplein is home to the city’s three most important museums: the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, and the Van Gogh Museum. Nearby are one of Amsterdam’s most exclusive shopping streets (P.C. Hooftstraat), the city’s largest city park (Vondelpark), and a host of other attractions.
Museumplein attracts Amsterdam visitors and locals in equal measure, with international art lovers mingling with locals playing soccer on the grass. In 1999 the main square was transformed from a simple 19th-century paved square into a large field with a pond at its center. South of Museumplein, Amsterdam’s world-famous Royal Concertgebouw concert hall can accommodate up to 2,000 people and is renowned for its outstanding acoustics. Between the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum stands the Royal Coster Diamonds factory, where visitors can learn about the process of polishing and cutting diamonds on a free guided tour.
City sightseeing tours by foot, bicycle, and even rickshaw typically pass through the Museumplein area. Hop-on hop-off bus tours also stop here. If you want to visit the famed museums, it’s a good idea to purchase skip-the-line admission tickets online in advance to avoid disappointment as these attractions are hugely popular.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Museumplein is must-visit for arts and culture lovers.
- There is a skateboarding ramp in the center of the square, which is a big draw for local youth.
- The Rijksmuseum is home to such masterpieces as Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (1642).
- Entrance to the museums is included with many city sightseeing passes.
How to Get There
The Museumplein area is served by tram lines 2, 3, 5, 12, 16, and 24. The Canal Bus (a hop-on hop-off canal boat line) also stops just across from the northern entrance to Vondelpark. The nearest metro station is Weesperplein (lines 51, 53, and 54), which is a 25-minute walk away.
When to Get There
To avoid the biggest crowds in the museums, try to visit Museumplein before noon. When the weather warms up, the area fills with picnicking locals, especially on the third Sunday of the month, when food and craft stalls set up shop. A winter visit also holds appeal as the pond is transformed into an ice-skating rink.
As well as hosting outdoor concerts and celebrations, the Museumplein area often displays public artworks and sculptures. One of the most well-known attractions was a large block of red and white letters reading “I amsterdam,” intended to celebrate the city’s diversity. Though popular with tourists and other selfie-snappers, in 2018 the city council decided to remove the sign they deemed too individualistic and tourism-oriented.