The Netherlands is rich in cultural heritage, and it’s reflected in the numerous museums that can be found here. With over 456 of them, from art and history to science and technology, it’s fair to say that you are spoiled for choice. As a museum enthusiast, visiting them is my favourite activity; a chance to escape the mundane if you will. After all, museums are like time machines that transport you to different eras or space, offering a delightful and fun immersive experience — so what’s not to love?

But amongst the plethora of museums in the Netherlands, there are some that stand out as truly unique and unforgettable, one-of-a-kind experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Here are 15 you should definitely add to your travel itinerary the next time you’re in the country.

1. Voorlinden Museum, Wassenaar

The Voorlinden Museum is a modern and contemporary art museum located on a beautiful estate in Wassenaar. The collection found here include works from renowned artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, and Richard Serra.

My favourite part here is the permanent installation of James Turrell’s Skyspace, where you can contemplate the changing sky through the aperture in a tranquil space. If you want to take a break from the city and immerse yourself in modern arts amidst the beautiful Dutch landscape, the Voorlinden Museum is an absolute must-visit!

Address: Buurtweg 90, 2244 AG, Wassenaar
Contact: +31 70 512 1660

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2. Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, or The Depot, is the newest addition to the museum in the city of Rotterdam, with its striking 360-degree mirrored facade. It’s the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility of over 151,000 objects collected in the span of 173 years.

The glass interior creates a futuristic feel, making it an experience unlike any other. Be sure to check out the breathtaking 360-degree view of Rotterdam from the museum’s rooftop cafe too!

Address: Museumpark 24, 3015 CX, Rotterdam
Contact: +31 10 441 9400

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3. Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo

The Kröller-Müller Museum is a uniquely modern and contemporary art museum. It includes works by famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. The sculpture garden, which features over 160 works, makes this museum extra special and truly something to be witnessed.

Since the museum is located at a national park, getting here can be tricky if you’re not planning to drive. But don’t worry; it’s not that complicated either. If you plan to travel from Amsterdam using public transport, a one-way journey will take around two hours. First, take a train from Amsterdam Centraal to Ede-Wageningen Station, then catch a bus to Otterio (bus 108), from there take another bus (bus 106) to the stop the Hoge Veluwe, which will stop right at The Kröller-Müller Museum.

Address: Houtkampweg 6, 6731 AW, Otterlo
Contact: +31 318 591 241

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4. Escher in Het Paleis, The Hague

Located within a former royal palace in The Hague, Escher in Het Paleis is a fascinating museum that is a must-visit regardless of whether you’re an art fiend or not. Here, you can immerse yourself in the captivating works of the famous Dutch Artist MC Escher, who brilliantly merges mathematics and the illusion of perspective in his art, thus sparking our curiosity and challenging the perception of reality. You can also gain a deeper understanding of this his art process and explore the methods used.

Address: Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH, Den Haag
Contact: +31 70 427 7730

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5. National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam

The National Maritime Museum has got to be one of my all-time favourites in Amsterdam. Filled with fun and interactive exhibitions about the rich maritime history of the Netherlands and Dutch naval traditions, it’s one for the books. The best part of this place is the 18th century ship replica outside, which you can explore and enjoy a virtual reality experience.

Address: Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK, Amsterdam
Contact: +31 20 523 2222

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6. EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam

If you are a movie buff like me, the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam is a fantastic museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing the art of cinema. As you cross the free ferry to Amsterdam North, the museum’s striking modern architecture will capture your attention immediately!

Inside, you’ll find state-of-the-art screening rooms and free interactive exhibitions to explore the history of filmmaking. After making your way around, you can enjoy tea or coffee at the museum’s cafe with a stunning view of Amsterdam!

Address: IJ promenade 1, 1031 KT, Amsterdam
Contact: +31 20 589 1400

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7. The Museums of Canals, Amsterdam

Thanks to its many canals, Amsterdam is known as the ‘Venice of the North’. What better way to learn about the origins of the Dutch canal system than at the Museum of Canals, located at a beautiful 17th century UNESCO World Heritage canal house?

The museum offers an interactive exhibition that explores the history and roles of the canals shaping the city, which makes the learning experience that much more fun. The exhibitions will give you a deeper understanding of how the Dutch mastered hydraulic engineering and helped Amsterdam become a major trade and cultural hub.

Address: Herengracht 386, 1016 CJ, Amsterdam
Contact: +31 20 421 1656

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8. Louwman Museum, The Hague

Are you a car enthusiast? The Louwman Museum in The Hague has an impressive collection of over 250 antique, classic motorcars, and other vehicles, such as the Ferrari F40. In addition to the vehicle collections, the museum also features interactive exhibitions that includes a driving simulator and workshop where you can watch restorations in progress.

The sleek modern architecture of the museum is a work of art in itself, making a grand first impression. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or looking for something fun to do in The Hague, the Louwman Museum is highly recommended!

Address: Leidsestraatweg 57, 2594 BB, Den Haag
Contact: +31 70 304 7373

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9. Arnhem Open Air Museum (Nederlands Openluchtmuseum), Arnhem

Unlike other museums in the Netherlands, the Arnhem Open Air Museum is a unique attraction in Arnhem, just an hour’s train ride from Amsterdam. This outdoor museum provides a fun and interactive educational experience about Dutch history, with traditional Dutch farmhouses and historic buildings creating a charming backdrop.

The picturesque scenery and village area bring the traditional Dutch way of living to life. This museum is perfect for all ages, with a wide range of activities from cheese- to thread-making and more!

Address: Hoeferlaan 4, 6816 SG, Arnhem
Contact: +31 26 357 6111

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10. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is one of the most impressive museums in the world and is a must-visit when you’re in the city! It houses an incredible collection of over one million objects from the Dutch Middle Ages to the present day. The magnificent Gallery of Honour will take your breath away with its stunning architecture and world-renowned paintings, such as Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’.

Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX, Amsterdam
Contact: +31 20 674 7000

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11. Mauritshuis, The Hague

Home to the famous ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting by Johannes Vermeer, the Mauritshuis is THE museum to visit for the best art from the Dutch Golden Age. The museum was formerly a palace, and the sophisticated architecture and the amazing collections from renowned Dutch artists, such as Vermeer and Rembrandt, will give you a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of local aristocracy during the Golden Age.

Address: Plein 29, 2511 CS, Den Haag
Contact: +31 70 302 3456

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12. The Mondrian House, Amersfoort

As the name suggests, The Mondrian House museum in Amersfoort is where the most renowned Dutch artist, Piet Mondrian, lived and worked from 1872 until 1892. It’s a unique, intimate experience as you get a closer look into Mondrian’s early life through his working space, original artwork, and personal objects.

Piet Mondrian pioneered the De Stijl movement and is known for his artwork ‘Composition II in Red, Blue and Yellow’. If you’re interested in modern art and design, or want to learn more about Piet Mondrian, this museum is definitely worth your time.

Address: Kortegract 11, 3811 KG, Amersfoort
Contact: +31 33 460 0170

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13. muZIEum, Nijmegen

One of the most unique and educational experiences I’ve ever had was visiting the muZIEum in Nijmegen. It offers an eye-opening tour in complete darkness with a guide, simulating what it’s like to be visually impaired. The tour was a humbling experience that made me appreciate the challenges faced by those with visual impairments.

Address: Ziekerstraat 6B, 6511 LH, Nijmegen
Contact: +31 24 200 1050

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14. Teylers Museum, Harleem

The Teylers Museum is the oldest museum in the Netherlands, having opened its doors to the public back in 1784! Not only is it home to an exceptional collection of fossils, but its architecture and interior are works of art in themselves. It is the world’s only museum with an authentic 18th century interior. Worth making the trip if you’re a fiend for natural history and science!

Address: Spaarne 16, 2011 CH, Haarlem
Contact: +31 23 516 0960

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15. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

The most famous museum of all in the country is undoubtedly the Van Gogh Museum. It’s a space dedicated to the life and work of the legendary Dutch artist, Vincent van Gogh, with extensive collections featuring over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters by the artist.

You really get to have an intimate look at the artist’s life, and learn about his personal struggles and creative process. You can’t check off your trip to the Netherlands without paying a visit here, which will leave you feeling inspired and moved!

Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ, Amsterdam
Contact: +31 20 570 5200

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Insider tips

  1. To ensure a smooth visit to these museums, purchasing tickets in advance through each museum’s website is best. Some museums will require you to reserve a time slot in advance, so check out each museum’s website before you drop by. Additionally, most places offer student discounts if you can prove you have a valid student card.
  2. If you want to purchase the I Amsterdam City Card, it’s worth checking if the museum you plan to visit is included in the free museum access. Not all museums in Amsterdam are affiliated with the I Amsterdam City Card, so you may need to purchase separate admission for some museums, such as the Van Gogh Museum.