Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank's House . . .

The Van Gogh Museum which opened in 1973 holds an amazing collection of 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 500 letters written by Vincent Van Gogh. A dutch post-impressionist painter, Van Gogh was a super talented artist. His unmistakable tumultuous style of swirling brush strokes and vivid use of color is full of passion and emotion.

Sadly, Van Gogh although full of talent was a tormented soul suffering from bouts of mental illness. And at the age of only 37, Van Gogh committed suicide. In his short life Van Gogh produced some amazing artwork and it's sad to me that he died before his work could be recognized and appreciated.

The Van Gogh Museum is open daily and at the top of my must see list is: Bedroom in Arles, Wheatfield and Crows and Sunflowers . . . To have an insight into the artist behind the paintings the Van Gogh Blog posts entries of his letters to describe his own thought process as he painted.

The Rijksmuseum in its neo Renaissance style was highly recommended by Fellow Slow Traveler, AnnieNC (Churches in Venice), and so it is on my must see museum list as well. The Rijksmuseum contains the world's largest collection of paintings by Dutch masters to include Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals. One painting that is on my must see list here is Rembrandt's "The NightWatch". Rembrandt is famous for his use of light and movement in his paintings and I'm excited to see his work in person. The museum is currently undergoing refurbishment, but a nice collection of their most famous Masterpieces will be open for viewing in their Phillips Wing Saturday (until 6 pm) through Friday (until 8:30 pm). Many thanks to Annie for putting the Rijksmuseum on my radar.

And finally, not necessarily a museum of art, but a very important must see on my list, is the Anne Frank House. For two years, Anne Frank and seven others hid from Nazi persecution. They hid in a secrete annex behind a swinging bookcase. The 13-year old Anne, who began her now famous diary in July 1942, provides a unique account of growing up under persecution and of a life in confinement. Fellow Slow Traveler, Jane (Casey, Italy and Other Good Stuff), who visited earlier in the year recommend that I purchase my tickets on-line to avoid the long queue. Many thanks to Jane for the very helpful tip.

There are 50 museums currently listed in the City of Amsterdam but with only two weeks I will not be able to see most of them. These three are on my must see list but if time permits there are others that I would also be interested in seeing: Houseboat Museum, Madame Tussauds, Stedelijk Museum and I may even hit the Sex Museum just for fun. Just kidding! I had not heard of this museum until fellow Slow Traveler, Girasoli (Shave Ice & Gelato) mentioned it to me in one of her comments. I'm too embarrassed to go in there but if I happen to pass it by, I might snap a photo.  :D  Edited to add: Girasoli who also kindly recommended visiting my top three must see's on my museum list said that she and her friend visited the Sex Museum as a joke and ended up having a blast. So on second thought maybe this might be worth a visit for me too.  :) Thanks Girasoli, maybe I'll visit it after all.


  1. From Girasoli: I did also recommend the other 3 big museums as well as the Sex Museum :) We went inside as a joke and ended up having a blast.

  2. Hi Girasoli, thanks so much for your comments. After re-reading my post and your comments I wanted to edit my original post. Some how it was missing the paragraph spaces and I couldn't quite figure out how to fix it so I just redid a new post and copied your comments over here. I think I may have to change my mind about the sex museum. It might be kind of entertaining. LOL

  3. Chuckling - glad you clarified that the Sex Museum was not the only museum Girasoli recommended:-)

    I am so interested in hearing of your experience at both the Van Gogh and Rijkmuseum..sounds like music for the soul. Such fun!

  4. I loved all 3 of these museums. I didn't know about the sex museum but if I had, I would have gone for sure!

  5. Hi M, :) that was my impression to when I re-read my post and her comments so I definitely wanted to clarify.

    I'm very much looking forward to visiting the big three museums reccommended by the girls and will hopefully write a post to express my experiences seeing these masterpieces. I think the sex museum will be on a different post along with the Red Light District. :)

    Hi Annie, I'm glad that you really loved all three museums. I'm looking forward to visiting them. I've decided to add the Sex museum to my list. I found it on street view and right across from it are the boat cruises dock, so right after my little laugh fest at the sex museum I think I'll take a canal boat tour. :)

    Amsterdam is an interesting, "whimsical" (as Marta puts it), wacky and fun city. :)

  6. I also liked Stedelijk Museum because I like modern art but I think it is closed for renovation.

    One very unique small museum is De Kattenkabinet or Cat Cabinet. It is near where you are staying and is devoted to art about cats. If nothing else it is a nice old house to see the interior and it doesn't take long.

    My husband and family visited Museum Amstelkring which is now called Our Lord in the Attic Museum. It is a small hidden Catholic church in the Red Light District. Bummer - it looks like it is also being renovated.

    One other place not to miss that isn't exactly a museum is Begijnhof, one of Amsterdam's Almshouses. http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/netherlands/amsterdam/feature_30002.html I haven't visited any other almshouses in Amsterdam but I have toured the ones in Leiden. There is a guide at the VVV if you go to Leiden.

  7. Hi Marta, thanks so much on the tip about the closure of the Stedelijk Museum. That's a bummer but oh well thankfully there are many more selections to choose from. I love the idea of a museum devoted to cats. I will look for the De Kattenkabinet on google maps and put it on my must see list. I will also look up Museum Amstelkring. That sounds like a really cool place. I read about Oude Kerk which is in the Red Light District but not this one. But if it is being rennovated maybe I can just see the outside. Thank you for the link on the Begijnhof. I also had read about that special courtyard and what a fabulous history it has. I had not read Fodor's write up on it. Thanks so much for sending it to me. I'm going do do an audio guide for my visit to Begijnhof because there is just so much interesting little details I want to make sure i know what I'm looking at so I can appreciate it more.

    Thanks so much Marta for all of your wonderful tips and links on where to research. The more I'm learning, the more I'm getting excited about Amsterdam. I didn't realize just how much there is to see here. It'll be a fun visit! :)

  8. You are more than welcome. I have really come to love Holland and can't suppress talking about it. :)

  9. Hi Marta, I think I may come to love Holland too. :)

  10. So now that you have added the Sex Museum to your list, I will be curious to hear what new updates they have made since 1999 ;)

  11. Hi Girasoli, do you want a photo or a written report.... :)

  12. =) I am not sure if they allow photos inside that museum. If they do, definitely!

  13. Hi G, I think they do allow photos now so that is a bonus. I'll try to be careful in what photos I post for my report to you since I'm trying to maintain a PG rating for my blog & tweets. :)

    However, if there is something really hilarious that I think you would enjoy, I'll DM you a tweet photo. Ha, ha!


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.