Are you considering visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and wondering if it’s worth your time? As a lifelong Dutch van Gogh enthusiast, I have visited the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam multiple times and know the museum inside out.
In this review, I want to share an honest review with you to help you make up your mind.
Let’s embark on this virtual journey through the van Gogh Museum to help you make an informed decision on whether the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam lives up to its reputation.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is worth visiting because it has the world’s most extensive collection of paintings and drawings by Vincent van Gogh. As a result, the museum offers a unique insight into the life and work of this famous painter.
The van Gogh Museum also regularly organizes exciting exhibitions about the work and life of Vincent van Gogh.
The van Gogh Museum is undoubtedly one of the 30 most impressive museums in the Netherlands.
What I like about the van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam
- Largest collection of paintings and drawings by Vincent van Gogh in the world
- Provides a unique insight into the life and work of Vincent van Gogh
- Housed in a beautiful building designed by Gerrit Rietveld
- Centrally located in Amsterdam on Museumplein
- Easy to reach by public transportation
What I don’t like about the van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam
- The van Gogh Museum works with time slots during which you can enter the museum
- You have to make a reservation for a time slot at least 1-2 weeks in advance
- Sometimes so crowded that you can’t get a good look at some of the paintings
Review of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous Dutch painters ever and, together with Rembrandt and Vermeer, is counted among the top three of our most important painters.
In fact, every Dutchman should visit the van Gogh Museum at least once in his life.
The unique thing about the van Gogh Museum is that they can show his development as a painter because they own so many of his paintings.
During his Dutch period, Vincent van Gogh lived and worked mainly in Brabant, painted the hard life of the farmers and workers there and used a lot of earthy colors.
These are paintings that you’ll find mostly on the second floor of the museum, and fortunately, the van Gogh Museum owns his absolute masterpiece from that period: the Potato Eaters.
The van Gogh Museum doesn’t delve deeply into Vincent van Gogh’s life but focuses mainly on his often matchless paintings.
If you want to learn more about Vincent’s life, you should visit the Vincent van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen.
You can also visit the van Gogh House in Zundert, which was built on the site of his birthplace in Zundert.
In addition, the van Gogh Museum owns more than enough paintings that van Gogh painted in Arles and at St. Remy in the south of France.
These colorful paintings from his French period greatly contrast his dark Dutch period and show how much van Gogh had grown as a painter during the ± 10 years of his painting career.
The van Gogh Museum was initially designed by Gerrit Rietveld and opened in 1973. The famous elliptical wing next door, sunk halfway into the ground of Museum Square, was built at the turn of the century.
This wing also serves for temporary exhibitions that often include borrowed paintings by Vincent Gogh.
For example, in 2023, there was a fantastic exhibition in this wing on Vincent van Gogh’s works from the last two months of his life in Auvers.
These temporary exhibitions ensure that there is always something new to see at the van Gogh Museum. You can see here what special exhibition is currently on display at the Van Gogh Museum here.
Taken together, I think the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful museums in the Netherlands.
How do i get to the van gogh museum?
If possible, I would go to the Van Gogh Museum by public transportation, not by car.
There is an oversized parking garage under Museumplein, but you must expect Amsterdam parking rates.
The maximum parking rate per day in this garage is currently €55.
If you would like to come by car, please reserve a parking space in this parking garage in advance.
Public transport is the best way to get to the Van Gogh Museum. Travel by train to Amsterdam Zuid NS Station, and from there, take a streetcar, line 5.
Streetcar line 5 stops on Paulus Potterstraat in front of the van Gogh Museum entrance.
Alternatively, you can also take streetcar lines 2 or 12 from Amsterdam Central Station, which will take considerably longer than streetcar line 5 from Amsterdam Zuid.
What not to miss at the van Gogh Museum?
Below is an overview of the five most important paintings by Vincent van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum, with a brief description of why you must have seen them:
- The Potato Eaters (1885): This is Vincent van Gogh’s first masterpiece, depicting the hard life of farmers in Brabant. He wanted this painting to show that he was on his way to becoming a good figure painter.
- Sunflowers (1889): This is one of Van Gogh’s most famous works in which he uses only variations of the color yellow. Vincent van Gogh saw sunflowers as a symbol of gratitude.
- The Almond Blossom (1890): This is one of Van Gogh’s last works, in which he depicts the almond blossom in the garden of the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. He painted this work for his newborn nephew Vincent as a symbol of new life.
- Irises (1889): This is one of Van Gogh’s most famous works, in which he depicts the irises in the garden of the asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. This painting was primarily a color study for him, with the sharply contrasting colors of the irises and the background.
- The Harvest (1888): This is one of Van Gogh’s many works depicting peasant life. He wanted this painting to capture the hard work in the fields and harvest time.
The van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the world’s most extensive collection of van Gogh paintings.
The second largest van Gogh collection in the world is in the Kröller-Möller Museum on the Hoge Veluwe, but that van Gogh collection is much smaller than the van Gogh Museum’s collection.
Is a guided tour at the van Gogh Museum worth it?
I’m often asked whether a guided tour of the van Gogh Museum is worth it.
I find that a difficult question to answer because it’s very personal and depends on how interested you are in van Gogh and how much you want to learn more about him.
The multimedia tour of the van Gogh Museum is worth it. This multimedia tour was very user-friendly and more educational than I expected. The multi-media tour is not free but also not expensive (€3.50).
You can also learn a lot on a guided tour, but that is also more expensive.
I would try the much cheaper multimedia tour on a first visit and see if that works for you.
What is the best time to visit the van Gogh Museum?
I am often asked the best time to visit the Van Gogh Museum. Of course, this question is asked to understand if the van Gogh Museum is sometimes quieter.
However, the van Gogh Museum is never tranquil.
The van Gogh Museum is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; in my experience, from 9:00 a.m., it is immediately full.
From 15:00, it gets a little quieter in my experience, but I would never visit the Van Gogh Museum after 15:00 because you only have 2 hours until closing time, which is too little for me to see the entire museum.
By entering after 3:00 p.m., you are rushing the whole time to see the museum before closing time, and that would make me very restless.
How long do you need to visit the van Gogh Museum?
The average visitor only needs 1.5-2 hours to visit the Van Gogh Museum.
I find that very short because I need over 3 hours and have visited the Van Gogh Museum several times, but that’s my enthusiasm as a van Gogh enthusiast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which of the 4 Dutch van Gogh Museums Is the Most Beautiful?
Choosing which of the four van Gogh Museums in the Netherlands is the most beautiful and which one is worth visiting first is difficult.
Therefore, in a comprehensive review of these four van Gogh museums in the Netherlands, I have compared these museums with each other so that you can make an informed decision about which museum to visit.
What is a good book about the life of Vincent van Gogh?
You can read a book about the life and works of Vincent van Gogh before your visit to get a feel for this important Dutch painter.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book Lust for Life by Irving Stone, an autobiographical novel about the life of Vincent van Gogh.
Reading a book is much cheaper than a tour; this book is fun and smoothly written and offers excellent insight into the (harsh) life of Vincent van Gogh.