Amsterdam City of Art: 3 Art Museums to get Lost In

Gillian Giles
August 7, 2019

I’m not an artist, but I’m a massive art fan. Art distilled down to its purest form is expression. Expression can range from imagery, to thought, to political message. For this reason, art and culture go hand and hand. For me, one of the greatest things you can do to get to know a city is to get lost in the city’s art, and that’s exactly how I got to know Amsterdam as a city. The Netherlands has a rich art history, and Amsterdam itself is overflowing with beauty and art. This expressive and diverse history is best seen in its art museums. The Dutch are particularly known for their painting, particularly their 17th century painting masters. In a city bursting with history and creative expression, there's endless art to get lost in, but below are a few of my favorites.


The Rijksmuseum is the Dutch National Museum of Art and History. The Dutch National Museum of Art encapsulates the rich history of the Dutch and the city of Amsterdam. Although the art in the museum mainly features art from the medieval age to the 20th century, the Rijksmuseum mainly features 17th century art from the Dutch Golden Age in which art, particularly painting, flourished. Dutch masters, such as Rembrant, Vermeer and Judith Leyster, are featured at the Rijksmuseum. A look into the art featured at the Museum can show you a clear documentation of Dutch life and culture from peasantry to nobel man. The Rijsmusum is part of Museum Square in Amsterdam where most of the more famous museums are featured. The collection at the Rijksmusuem is vast and even after visiting multiple times I was always able to find something new and interesting to discover.

The Van Gogh Museum 

The Van Gogh Museum is an extremely popular museum categorizing the life and art of Vincent Van Gough. Born in Zundert, Vincent van Gogh is one of the most well-known painters to ever live and also a Dutch National icon. In order to enter the museum you have to get tickets a day or so before or show up early in the morning the same day. The museum is essentially laid out to reflect his life, starting with his early work, interests, and influences. Overall, it is the world's largest collection of works by Van Gogh, and it is a must-see. 

Moco Museum 

The Moco Museum is a really homey museum (literally, it’s built in a small home within the museum square) that mostly features internationally acclaimed contemporary, modern, and street artists. Some of the more well-known artists include Banksy, Andy Warhol, and Basquiat. The museum is really intimate and interactive due to the fact that it was formally someone’s home. Artists featured are generally known for their unique vision and perspective of the world. Although artists featured are from all over the world, the museum places Amsterdam within the current global moment showing the interconnectedness of art and global movements of change.

Gillian Giles

<p>I’m 21 years old and just starting to explore the world outside the United States! Currently I attend Sarah Lawrence College as a junior studying Sociology. I’ve always enjoyed a good book, story or adventure and plan on collecting many new stories while I’m abroad. I cherish empathy, kindness and good listening. I’ve experimented with art, style and writing and am always looking for new ways to express and explore myself. I firmly believe that understanding yourself also means understanding your context and the world around you and I am looking to continuously do that through travel. As an IES correspondent I hope to provide content that both tells a story about the places I’ve been and show chases a my perspective as someone whose black, LGBTQ and disabled.</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Home University:
Sarah Lawrence College
Chicago, IL
Liberal Arts
Explore Blogs