The Best Free Museums In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city of culture and history, with numerous museums showcasing its rich heritage. However, visiting all these museums can be an expensive affair for budget travelers. Fortunately, there are many free museums in Amsterdam that offer visitors the chance to explore the city’s art and culture without spending a dime.

From contemporary art to ancient artifacts, Amsterdam has something for everyone. The city’s free museums not only provide an excellent opportunity to delve into its past but also showcase some of the most innovative exhibitions from around the world.

With so much on offer, it can be challenging to decide which museums to visit first. In this article, we will highlight the best free museums in Amsterdam that you should not miss if you’re looking for innovation and inspiration.

Key Takeaways

– Amsterdam offers a variety of free museums, including the Amsterdam Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Van Gogh Museum, each showcasing unique collections and providing an immersive experience for visitors.
– The National Holocaust Museum preserves artifacts and personal testimonies to tell the stories of those affected by the Holocaust, while the Amsterdam Pipe Museum and Museum of Bags and Purses offer unique insights into the cultural and historical significance of smoking and purses, respectively.
– The Tropenmuseum provides a glimpse into non-Western cultures and their global histories, while the Biblical Museum features a vast collection of miniature Bibles and explores the influence of biblical history on different cultures.
– Audio guides and interactive exhibits provide visitors with an opportunity to personalize their experience and learn in-depth information about specific pieces and collections.

Amsterdam Museum

The Amsterdam Museum showcases the city’s rich cultural history through its extensive collection of artifacts and interactive exhibits. Located in a 17th-century building, the museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into Dutch history, from the Golden Age to contemporary times.

The permanent exhibition features paintings, photographs, and objects that tell the story of Amsterdam’s growth as a city and its unique place in European culture. In addition to its impressive collection, the Amsterdam Museum is also renowned for its innovative museum architecture.

The building combines historic elements with modern design features, creating an immersive experience that transports visitors back in time while providing them with all the amenities of a modern-day museum. This approach has earned the museum numerous awards and accolades over the years.

For those interested in contemporary art exhibitions, the Amsterdam Museum also hosts temporary exhibits throughout the year that showcase emerging artists from around the world. These exhibitions offer visitors a chance to see cutting-edge work by up-and-coming creatives and expand their understanding of what art can be.

With so much to see and explore at this iconic institution, it’s no wonder that it remains one of Amsterdam’s most popular free museums. The next stop on our tour of Amsterdam’s best free museums is Stedelijk Museum – another must-see destination for art lovers from around the world.

Stedelijk Museum

Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Museumplein, the Stedelijk Museum showcases a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art from around the world. With its innovative exhibitions and events, this museum is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates contemporary art.

The Stedelijk Museum has an impressive collection of over 90,000 works of art that span from the early twentieth century to present day. Its permanent collection includes works by renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, and Willem de Kooning. The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year that showcase emerging artists and explore new trends in contemporary art.

For those interested in learning more about contemporary art, the Stedelijk Museum offers various educational programs for visitors of all ages. These programs aim to engage visitors with the exhibits through interactive tours, workshops, lectures, and other activities.

Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or simply curious about this vibrant genre of artistic expression, you will find something at the Stedelijk Museum to spark your imagination.

As we move on to explore other free museums in Amsterdam, it is impossible not to mention one of its most famous attractions – Rijksmuseum. This Dutch national museum houses an extensive collection of artwork that spans several centuries and features some of Holland’s most iconic masterpieces.


The Rijksmuseum is one of the most visited museums in Amsterdam and is renowned for its Dutch Masterpieces collection. It houses some of the country’s most treasured works of art, including paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals.

In addition to its Dutch art collection, the museum also features a vast array of Asian art and a picturesque Sculpture Garden that provides visitors with a peaceful oasis amidst the bustling city.

Dutch Masterpieces

Exhibiting a stunning collection of Dutch Masterpieces, visitors are transported to a bygone era of artistic excellence and cultural refinement. The Rijksmuseum houses some of the most iconic paintings from the 17th century’s Dutch artistry, including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Frans Hals. These pieces not only showcase the technical prowess of Dutch artists but also provide a glimpse into the historical context that informed their work.

To fully appreciate these masterpieces, visitors can take advantage of guided tours or audio guides that offer in-depth analysis and interpretation. Additionally, the museum provides interactive exhibits where visitors can learn about the techniques used by these artists and how they revolutionized the art world with their unique approach to painting. As a result, visitors leave with an appreciation for Dutch culture while gaining insight into how these masterful works continue to inspire contemporary art movements.

Moving on from this exceptional display of European artistry is the Asian Art Collection that boasts over 15,000 artifacts from China, Japan, India, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. This section showcases significant objects ranging from ancient ceramics to contemporary Thai sculptures demonstrating traditional craftsmanship alongside modern design influences.

Asian Art Collection

With a collection of over 15,000 artifacts from various Asian countries, the Rijksmuseum’s Asian Art section is like a treasure trove of ancient ceramics and contemporary sculptures that showcase traditional craftsmanship alongside modern design influences. This collection includes works from China, Japan, India, Korea, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries.

Visitors can explore the rich history and influence of these cultures through art pieces that span centuries. The materials used in creating these artworks range from precious metals to organic elements like bamboo and silk. Every piece tells a story about the customs, beliefs, and traditions of its respective country.

Visitors can study the intricate details engraved on each item to understand the cultural nuances embedded in them. Overall, exploring this section is an enlightening experience that provides insight into some of Asia’s most significant artistic contributions to world culture.

As we move onto the next section about ‘sculpture garden’, visitors can continue their journey through different forms of art at Rijksmuseum without missing a beat.

Sculpture Garden

Located just outside the Rijksmuseum, the Sculpture Garden showcases a diverse collection of outdoor art from various artists and time periods. This open-air museum features contemporary sculptures that are sure to delight visitors who have an appreciation for modern art.

Here are some of the highlights of this stunning sculpture garden:

– The ‘Old Tree’ by Giuseppe Penone is a bronze cast of a tree that appears to be growing out of a boulder.

– ‘Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 5’ by Henry Moore is a bronze sculpture that shows two abstracted human figures lounging in repose.

– ‘Dawn’ by Eduardo Chillida is made from steel and depicts two large forms meeting at an obtuse angle, evoking themes of tension and balance.

– ‘Horizon Light’ by Anish Kapoor is a mirrored stainless steel sculpture that reflects its surroundings, creating an illusionistic effect that suggests infinity.

The Sculpture Garden offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience outdoor art in Amsterdam. After exploring this beautiful space, head over to the nearby Van Gogh Museum to continue your cultural journey through Amsterdam’s rich artistic history.

Van Gogh Museum

The renowned Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses an extensive collection of the artist’s works, including iconic pieces such as ‘The Sunflowers’ and ‘Starry Night.’ The museum offers a comprehensive insight into Van Gogh’s life, his artistic influences, and the evolution of his style. Visitors can explore the different stages of his career through a range of paintings, drawings, and letters.

Van Gogh’s life was marked by personal struggles that greatly influenced his art. He suffered from mental illness throughout his adult life and spent time in institutions. His early work was heavily influenced by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, while later he experimented with techniques borrowed from Japanese prints. Despite selling only one painting during his lifetime, Van Gogh is now considered one of history’s greatest artists.

The museum provides an immersive experience that allows visitors to appreciate not only Van Gogh’s art but also the context in which it was created. Interactive exhibits help visitors understand the techniques used by the artist while multimedia presentations bring to life the stories behind particular works. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions showcasing works by other artists who were inspired by or influenced Van Gogh.

With its engaging displays and insightful commentary, the Van Gogh Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in art or cultural history.

As we move onto our next section about the National Holocaust Museum, it is important to recognize how museums like these play an essential role in educating people about historical events and their impact on society today. The Van Gogh Museum serves as a reminder of how great talent can emerge from even difficult circumstances while inspiring future generations to continue pushing boundaries through their own creative endeavors.

National Holocaust Museum

Immerse yourself in a powerful and haunting journey through the history of the Holocaust at the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam. This museum is an important reminder of the atrocities committed against Jewish people during World War II. The museum has preserved artifacts, personal testimonies, and interactive exhibits that tell the stories of those affected by this dark chapter in human history.

Visitors to the National Holocaust Museum can expect to experience a range of emotions while exploring this poignant exhibit. Here are four items that may evoke an emotional response:

1. A wall displaying photographs of Jews who were deported from Amsterdam to concentration camps.
2. An interactive map showing how many Jews were deported from different parts of Amsterdam.
3. Testimonies from survivors describing their experiences living under Nazi occupation.
4. Authentic artifacts such as yellow stars and concentration camp uniforms.

The National Holocaust Museum is an essential stop for anyone interested in learning more about Holocaust remembrance or Amsterdam’s Jewish history. It serves as a powerful reminder of the horrors inflicted upon innocent people during one of humanity’s darkest periods.

Transitioning into our next topic, visitors looking for a different kind of museum experience should check out the Amsterdam Pipe Museum, which offers a unique look at smoking culture throughout history.

Amsterdam Pipe Museum

The Amsterdam Pipe Museum is a unique museum that houses an impressive collection of pipes from various countries and cultures. These pipes have significant historical and cultural value, providing visitors with a glimpse into the smoking habits of different societies throughout history.

To enhance the experience, the museum offers a free audio guide that provides in-depth information about each exhibit, making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in the art and culture of smoking.

Unique Collection of Pipes

Featuring a fascinating display of over 2,000 smoking pipes from around the world, the Amsterdam Pipe Museum offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the history and craftsmanship of pipes.

The museum showcases an impressive collection of smoking pipes that range from simple clay models to intricately designed pieces made from precious materials such as ivory, silver, and gold.

For those interested in Dutch tobacco culture, this museum is an excellent resource for learning about the various types of tobacco used throughout history and how they were prepared and smoked.

In addition to its extensive collection of pipes, the Amsterdam Pipe Museum also features exhibits on tobacco-related art and literature. Visitors can learn about famous pipe smokers throughout history, including notable figures such as Sherlock Holmes and Albert Einstein.

Overall, this museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the rich history and cultural significance behind smoking pipes.

Moving into our next section on ‘historic and cultural significance,’ visitors can expect to learn even more about the role that smoking has played in various societies throughout time.

Historic and Cultural Significance

Exploring the historic and cultural significance of smoking, visitors to the Amsterdam Pipe Museum can gain a deeper understanding of how this practice has been intertwined with various aspects of human life throughout history.

The museum’s collection boasts over 2,000 pipes from all around the world and offers architectural highlights dating back to the 17th century.

The building itself is a reflection of Dutch culture and tradition, designed in a classic style that complements the exhibits within.

The local impact of tobacco cultivation and production is also explored through displays on traditional pipe-making techniques and materials used in different parts of the world.

Visitors can learn about how these practices have evolved over time and how they have shaped societies in both positive and negative ways.

With its unique collection, stunning architecture, and thoughtful curation, the Amsterdam Pipe Museum is an unforgettable experience for anyone interested in exploring humanity’s complex relationship with smoking.

Moving on from this fascinating exhibit, visitors can take advantage of the museum’s free audio guide to continue their journey through Amsterdam’s rich cultural offerings.

Free Audio Guide

Visitors to the Amsterdam Pipe Museum can enhance their experience by utilizing the museum’s audio guide, which offers a comprehensive exploration of Amsterdam’s cultural offerings. Audio guides provide a convenient and informative way to navigate through museums, allowing visitors to learn more about exhibits and artifacts at their own pace.

The benefits of audio guides are plentiful. They offer in-depth information on specific pieces, allowing for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the collection. Moreover, they provide an opportunity for visitors to personalize their experience by selecting which exhibits they want to explore further.

Ways to enhance museum experience with audio guides include taking advantage of the interactive features such as quizzes or games that can add an element of fun and excitement while learning about art, history and culture. Additionally, using an audio guide can help visitors save valuable time by providing insightful commentary that highlights important aspects of each exhibit or display without having to read lengthy descriptions or interpretive signs.

With so many advantages associated with using an audio guide during a visit to a museum like the Amsterdam Pipe Museum, it is no wonder why so many people prefer this method when exploring new cultures and historical sites.

The Foam Photography Museum is another excellent museum in Amsterdam that offers unique exhibitions focused on contemporary photography from around the world.

Foam Photography Museum

The Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam offers a captivating glimpse into the world of contemporary photography, with exhibits that showcase the creativity and vision of some of the most talented artists from around the globe.

The museum is located in a beautiful 19th century building and features several floors of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to engage with the art on display.

One of the key highlights of Foam is its commitment to showcasing emerging talent, making it an excellent place for those who want to keep up with trends in modern photography.

One of the things that sets Foam apart from other museums is its focus on interactive exhibits.

Visitors can engage with photographs through multimedia installations, listen to interviews with artists, and even participate in workshops led by experienced photographers.

This makes the experience more immersive and engaging than simply looking at photographs on a wall.

Additionally, Foam’s location near several other museums and attractions makes it easy to spend an entire day exploring Amsterdam’s cultural offerings.

Overall, Foam Photography Museum is an excellent destination for anyone interested in contemporary photography or looking for something new and innovative to explore during their stay in Amsterdam.

The museum’s commitment to emerging talent and use of interactive exhibits make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in visual arts.

Next up on our list is Tropenmuseum, which offers a fascinating look at cultures from around the world through art, artifacts, and historical objects.


Located in the heart of Amsterdam, Tropenmuseum offers a unique and informative glimpse into cultures from around the world through its extensive collection of art, artifacts, and historical objects. The museum focuses on non-Western cultures and their global histories.

Visitors can explore different exhibits that showcase cultural artifacts from Asia, Africa, South America, and Oceania. One of the most interesting aspects of Tropenmuseum is how it presents these artifacts in context. Exhibits are organized thematically rather than by geographic region or time period.

This approach helps visitors understand how different cultures have interacted with each other throughout history. For example, one exhibit showcases textiles from around the world to demonstrate how certain patterns or techniques have been shared across different cultures.

Tropenmuseum’s commitment to presenting a comprehensive view of global history makes it an excellent destination for anyone interested in learning more about non-Western cultures. Whether you’re interested in traditional dress, religious rituals, or ancient technologies, there’s something here that will capture your attention.

Up next: Museum of Bags and Purses!

Museum of Bags and Purses

Nestled in a quaint canal house, the Museum of Bags and Purses houses over 5,000 bags from the 16th century to present day, like a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. The museum provides insight into the history of purses and their evolution as a fashion accessory. Visitors can explore the different styles of bags used by women and men throughout various periods, including handbags, shoulder bags, clutch bags and more.

The Museum of Bags and Purses also features sub-lists that delve deeper into the world of purses. Famous purse collectors who have donated some of their collections to the museum are highlighted in one sub-list. These collectors include Dutch queen Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti and Margaret Thatcher’s personal assistant Cynthia Crawford. Another sub-list presents interesting stories surrounding certain bags on display at the museum, such as how a bag was made from an elephant’s foot or how a bag was used to smuggle diamonds out of Europe during World War II.

As one moves through these exhibits with intrigue, it becomes apparent that this museum is not simply about showcasing pretty objects but instead offers much more for visitors seeking knowledge about fashion history. For those interested in seeing firsthand how accessories have evolved over centuries past or exploring fascinating tales behind particular items on display – this museum is a must-see destination!

Next up we will explore another free Amsterdam attraction: The Biblical Museum!

Biblical Museum

Moving on from the Museum of Bags and Purses, visitors can explore the Biblical Museum located in the heart of Amsterdam. As one of the best free museums in Amsterdam, it is an ideal destination for those interested in history and culture.

The museum presents a unique collection that tells stories about biblical history and its influence on different cultures. The Biblical Museum was established more than two centuries ago, making it one of the oldest museums in Amsterdam. It showcases various exhibits that focus on biblical themes like art, archaeology, and literature.

Visitors can observe rare artifacts such as ancient manuscripts, Bibles, and Jewish objects that reflect how religion has evolved through time. With an impressive array of collections spanning several centuries, visitors can learn about religious beliefs during different periods. One highlight of this museum is its vast collection of miniature Bibles – some so small they require magnifying glasses to read!

The museum also features exhibitions that showcase biblical themes through contemporary art pieces created by renowned artists. Overall, it provides visitors with a comprehensive understanding of how religion has influenced society throughout history – making it an excellent choice for those seeking to expand their knowledge while exploring Amsterdam’s cultural landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any free days or times to visit these museums?

Popular alternatives to paying for museum admission include free entry days, which may have longer lines and more crowds. Pros include saving money, while cons may include less time to explore exhibits thoroughly.

What are the hours of operation for each museum?

The hours of operation for the free museums in Amsterdam vary, but most are open from 10am-5pm, with some closing on Mondays. Museum accessibility is good through public transportation and location convenience is high in the city center.

Are there any restrictions on photography or video recording in these museums?

The museums in Amsterdam have varying policies on photography and video recording, with some allowing it only for personal use while others prohibit it entirely. Visitors should check the museum’s website or inquire at the entrance for specific restrictions.

Are there any guided tours available at these museums?

Various guided tour options are available at the free museums in Amsterdam, with language availability varying depending on the museum. Visitors can choose from group or private tours, as well as audio guides for a more immersive experience.

Is there a recommended order or route to visit these museums in to maximize the experience?

To maximize the experience, consider walking distance and prioritize must-see exhibits. Map out a route that suits your interests and time constraints. Plan ahead to avoid crowds and make the most of your museum visits.


Amsterdam is home to some of the most renowned museums in the world. From art and history to culture and fashion, there is something for everyone.

The Amsterdam Museum offers an immersive experience into the city’s rich past, while the Stedelijk Museum showcases modern and contemporary art. The Rijksmuseum is a must-see for any art enthusiast with its extensive collection of Dutch masterpieces.

Art lovers will also appreciate the Van Gogh Museum, which houses over 200 paintings by Vincent van Gogh. For those interested in learning about the Holocaust, the National Holocaust Museum provides a sobering reminder of this dark period in history. The Foam Photography Museum boasts an impressive collection of photography from both established and emerging artists.

The Tropenmuseum offers a fascinating insight into cultures from around the world, while the Museum of Bags and Purses provides a unique look at fashion throughout history. Finally, visitors can explore biblical stories and artifacts at the Biblical Museum.

While some may argue that free museums lack quality or substance compared to paid exhibitions, these free museums in Amsterdam prove otherwise. Each museum offers an immersive experience with expertly curated collections that tell compelling stories through various mediums.

One potential objection may be that visiting multiple museums could become overwhelming or tedious for some visitors. However, by strategically planning visits based on personal interests or preferences, one can easily break up their museum journey into manageable segments while still experiencing all that these institutions have to offer.

In conclusion, Amsterdam’s best free museums are truly remarkable destinations for anyone seeking an enriching cultural experience without breaking the bank. From traditional works to modern pieces and historical artifacts to contemporary themes – each institution has something unique to offer visitors who want to explore this beautiful city’s diverse offerings.