The city of Amsterdam beckons to the restless soul with its vast canal network, meandering bicycle paths, and 17th-century Dutch charm. The city has preserved its culture while keeping pace with the times. Its beaches, tulip gardens and vibrant nightlife are enough to tempt anyone. But a visit to this ‘Venice of the North’ is incomplete without a trip to the famed Van Gogh Museum, a 21st-century tribute to the life and works of the ingenious Van Gogh. The four-storied museum houses art galleries which display the works of Van Gogh and his contemporaries like Monet, Gauguin, and Millet. If you seek to visit the museum and are looking for the ultimate guide to getting Van Gogh Museum tickets, tips, directions and more, we've got you covered!
Van Gogh Museum History Under a Minute
Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most influential artists in the history of Western art even though his brilliance was short-lived. Following his suicide in 1890, Van Gogh’s artwork went to his younger brother Theo. But after his sudden demise, Theo’s widow, Jo Van Gogh-Bonger took it upon herself to raise public awareness of Vincent’s paintings in various ways.
Her son, Vincent Willem van Gogh set up the Van Gogh Foundation, and the state of Netherlands built the stately Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1973 next to the Rijksmuseum. The museum has on display the largest collection of paintings by the artist, more than 200, along with hundreds of letters, drawings, and personal belongings. The rough beauty of post-impressionist art is preserved in its art galleries. The museum saw a footfall of 2.26 million in 2017, so book your tickets well in advance to avoid long queues!
Plan Your Van Gogh Museum Visit
A visit to Amsterdam is incomplete without exploring the Van Gogh Museum. Vincent's priceless paintings are housed in this state-of-the-art museum, which comprises two buildings, connected by the glass entrance hall. The museum’s permanent collection is on display in the main building, the Rietveld building, designed by the architect Gerrit Rietveld in 1963-64. The Kurokawa wing is asymmetrical in design and hosts temporary exhibitions. The Rietveld building has a café, a souvenir shop and an introductory exhibition.
The first floor houses Van Gogh’s work arranged chronologically, so one can take a journey with Van Gogh’s growth as an artist. The second floor houses Vincent’s letters, belongings, and other exhibitions. The third floor displays the world of post-impressionist art in its bold glory, displaying works of Van Gogh’s contemporaries.
Best Time to Visit the Van Gogh Museum
A museum that clocks over 2 million visitors every year is bound to be crowded. Arriving at opening time or after 3 p.m. on a sunny weekday is the best time to avoid long waiting times. It should be noted that waiting lines in Amsterdam tend to double during rains.
1. Book your tickets online
To avoid the ticket queue, book your tickets online in advance. The booking opens four months in advance and you need to arrive within 30 minutes of your time slot. An entrance ticket for the museum grants you access to all the temporary exhibitions as well.
2. Plan 1.5-2.5 hours for your visit
The average visitor takes 1 hour 15 minutes to properly explore the permanent collection. The museum has a café and a souvenir shop on the ground floor and a bookshop on the third floor, offering a wide selection of products inspired by the life and work of Van Gogh.
3. Use the interactive audio guide
The museum also offers an interactive audio guide, which is tailored for all types of audiences. The multimedia tour is available in eleven languages for €5. The multimedia guide for deep insight into the museum’s permanent collection can be booked online for convenience.
Van Gogh Museum- Top 10 Paintings
Considered by the artist as one of his most successful works, Van Gogh painted The Harvest in 1888. The painting attempts to capture the bright, radiating heat of Arles in summer, with peasants working in the rural landscape.
Painted in 1885, Van Gogh wanted the Potato Eaters to be his best work to date. He depicts the harsh reality of country life, where the peasants till the earth and earn their food.
In 1888, Van Gogh prepared his two-story rented building in Arles and invited fellow artists to live and create together. This rendering of his bedroom in soft colors is meant to suggest sleep or rest of the mind.
Van Gogh painted it as a joke during his time at the art academy in Antwerp. Completed in 1886, the painting depicts his skill in painting human anatomy.
Possibly Van Gogh’s last painting, Tree Roots is an explosion of bright, seemingly abstract colors. On careful observation, one can make out the slope with tree trunks and roots. The work remains unfinished, due to his untimely demise.
Iconic menacing skies with crows circling over the yellow-orange field, this masterpiece by Van Gogh was finished in 1890. The painter wanted to convey sadness and loneliness, in contrast with a healthy and fortifying countryside.
Completed in 1890, this joyful painting of almond branches and blossoms under a clear blue sky was supposed to be a gift to his brother Theo, to mark the birth of his son Vincent Willem.
Van Gogh’s signature Sunflowers were created by using variations of a single color. Completed in 1889; for Vincent, the sunflowers represented ‘gratitude’ and he hung the first two in the room of his friend, the painter Paul Gauguin.
Van Gogh renders himself as an exhausted painter holding a color palette and brushes in hand. This was completed in 1888, probably his last piece in Paris, a city of which he eventually grew weary of.
An eccentric choice as subjects of a painting, Van Gogh supposedly bought used work shoes and then walked around in them through the mud to make them interesting. Vincent painted several still life of shoes during his time in Paris in 1888.
Van Gogh Museum Opening Hours
The Van Gogh Museum welcomes visitors throughout the year. The timings generally stand between 9 am to 5 pm. On all Fridays throughout the year and from 3 July to 30 August, the timings are from 9 am to 9 pm. To check availability, you can check the Van Gogh Museum’s website’s Opening Hour section.
Directions to Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is located at the Museumplein in Amsterdam.
Easily accessible by car, the nearest car park is Q- Park, located underneath Museumplein. There is a paid parking option on the streets near the museum too.
Multiple Trams and metro lines connect Amsterdam to the Museum’s nearest stops: Van Baerlestraat (tram 2, 5 or 12) or Museumplein (tram: 3, 5 or 12).
The nearest Bus Stop is Museumplein (bus 347 or 357).
Around the Van Gogh Museum
Rijksmuseum is a Dutch National Museum, the largest art museum in the Netherlands. With a collection of more than 8,000 artifacts spanning 800 years; it preserves the history of Amsterdam from the Middle Ages to the present.
A museum dedicated to Modern and Contemporary art and design, the Stedelijk Museum is located next to the Van Gogh Museum. It houses the works of numerous renowned artists of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries like Matisse, Mondrian, and Chagall.
The Modern Contemporary Museum or the Moco Museum is situated in Amsterdam’s Museumplein. It is a private institution and has the distinction of hosting the works of the avant-garde like Banksy..
Once an iconic selfie-spot in the Museumplein, the IAmsterdam sign was removed in a controversial decision last year. But fret not, for the sign is still present at the Schiphol Airport and other places in the city.
A must-visit in every tourist’s list, Vondelpark has something for everyone. Situated near Museumplein, the urban park has an open-air theatre, playground, and cycle paths.
The tragic story of Anne Frank is known across the world. The secret annex in Amsterdam that she lived in during Nazi occupation has become a shrine to her, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The Hermitage Amsterdam is a branch museum of the eminent State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The picturesque building in the Southern Canal Ring of Amsterdam hosts exhibitions from the grand collection of its parent museum.
Tips for Your Van Gogh Museum Visit
- Book your tickets online in advance, and skip the waiting line in front of the museum. The museum authorities guarantee entry to valid ticket holders.
- Take out sufficient time for your visit and avoid going on a rainy day.
- The queue in front of the museum looks long, but it moves quickly, so be patient.
- The museum prohibits photography and the rule is strictly enforced. As a remembrance of your time spent with Van Gogh, you can pick up a souvenir or postcard from the gift shop.
- Some of Van Gogh’s most recognized works like the Starry Night are not kept in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. So do your research before you go looking for some specific work of the artist.
- Don’t carry large luggage since the museum does not offer any storage facility
- It is advised to take the multimedia guide, knowing the sheer size of the collection.
- Wear comfortable shoes and carry an umbrella, for Amsterdam’s weather is finicky.
Do I need to buy separate tickets for temporary museums?
The Van Gogh Museum provides you access to all the exhibits with a valid entrance ticket, at no extra cost.
Is booking an online ticket worth it?
The Van Gogh museum guarantees you entry only with an online ticket.
Can I change my online ticket(s)?
Up to 48 hours before the date and time of your entry ticket, the museum allows you to change it to an alternative time based on availability. But cancellation is not allowed, and tickets are not refunded.
Do I need to print my ticket?
No, you can show the ticket on a mobile device for checking in.
Is there a discount for students, senior citizens, teachers or journalists?
No, the Van Gogh Museum does not offer discounts for students, senior citizens or teachers. Free entry for the press is only possible following registration and approval from the Press Office.
Can I store my luggage at the Van Gogh Museum?
No, the Van Gogh Museum does not provide a locker-room facility. It is advised to leave your luggage at the hotel or at one of the luggage service points in the Museum square.
Is there a free entry for children?
The Van Gogh museum allows children below the age of 18 free entries. You can book a ticket with start time at no extra cost.
Is Van Gogh Museum worth it?
Amsterdam is known for its scenic beauty, ‘cafes’, canals and museums. The Van Gogh museum is a proud institution of the city, standing as a tribute to the artists who changed the world of western art forever. Seeing the entire collection of the Van Gogh museum is indeed a daunting task, but you get to go a unique journey into the mind of Van Gogh and his development as an artist. For both locals and tourists, the Van Gogh museum is an insightful and inspirational experience.
Is the Van Gogh Museum open on Sunday?
The Van Gogh Museum is open all round the year.
Does Van Gogh Museum sell out?
Having the distinction of being one of the most visited museums in the world, the Van Gogh Museum is very often sold out. You can guarantee your entry by booking the tickets in advance.
Is Van Gogh museum free with an IAmsterdam card?
The IAmsterdam card includes free entry to various places museums, canal cruise, and public transport, including the Van Gogh Museum.
How much time should I spend at the Van Gogh Museum?
Depending on how much time you spend on each exhibit, the visit can take anything between 1 hour to 2 hours. On average, visitors spend 1 hour and 15 minutes to properly explore the permanent exhibit.
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