MuseumsThings To Do

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum is the most important art museum in the Netherlands with thousands of old paintings in its collection including those of renowned Dutch masters Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Vermeer. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here

The stunning neo-Gothic building located on Museumplein was built in 1885 by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, who also designed Amsterdam’s Central Station.

Following a decade-long renovation, the Rijksmuseum in its current form was re-opened in 2013. This not only restored the building’s exterior but also brought the interior much closer to the original design – with large galleries giving a cathedral-like venue to showcase the very best Dutch art history.

rijksmuseum amsterdam
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam – north side

In pure numbers, the Rijksmuseum has 80 rooms displaying no less than 8,000 works of art and historical objects. The museum is split over 4 levels:

  • Level 0 (ground floor) houses special collections and period 1100-1600
  • Level 1 features the 18th and 19th century.
  • Level 2 you will find the important 17th century works.
  • Level 3 has objects from the 20th century.

The highlight of the museum is undoubtedly Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (Nachtwacht), the iconic large portrait of the civic guard. This is under public renovation in a project called Operation Night Watch.

operation nightwatch - rijksmuseum amsterdam
Operation Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

It is located on level 2 at the end of the Gallery of Honour (Eregalerij) – a long gallery with side alcoves filled with paintings of Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen.

rijksmuseum gallery of honour
Gallery of Honour
rijksmuseum gallery
Gallery of Honour alcove gallery

The popular Milk Maid painting from Vermeer is found in one in the Galley of Honour.

the milk maid (vermeer) rijksmuseum amsterdam
The Milk Maid (Vermeer) in the Eregalerij

The Gallery of Honour can be entered from the imposing Great Hall (Voorhal) which has large stained glass windows and intricate vaulted ceilings.

Of Amsterdam interest is the Golden Bend of the Herengracht (De Gouden Bocht in de Herengracht) painted in 1671-72 by Gerrit Berckheyde which shows the merchant houses on the Herengracht canal. Located in room 2.27.

Golden Bend of the Herengracht
Golden Bend of the Herengracht (Berckheyde)

Frans Hals Exhibition

The current exhibition is Frans Hals, major retrospective of the renowned 17th century painter featuring some 50 of his finest works. Runs 16 Feb to 9 Jun 2024. Book Frans Hals exhibition tickets here

rijksmuseum frans hals exhibition
Rijksmuseum – Frans Hals exhibition
frans hals young man with skull
Frans Hals – Young Man With Skull 1626-28

Apart from the Dutch masters, the museum also includes Italian renaissance paintings, Dutch Delftware china, ship models, weapons, furniture, silverware and a van Gogh self-portrait.

rijksmuseum pleurants gallery
Pleurants gallery (room 0.4)
rijksmuseum william rex ship model
William Rex ship model (room 2.15)

The Rijksmuseum pieces are superbly presented in minimalist style with blue-grey walls and special chandelier lighting from above. Explanations are presented in Dutch and English.

A variety of guided tours are available from the museum and third-parties. The ‘Best of the Rijksmuseum’ tour lasts 60 minutes and is available daily in English – it costs €7.50 per person (plus entrance).

You can also take this as a private group tour which costs €125 per group (plus entrance) for up to a maximum of 15 people. This should be booked at least 14 days in advance.

A more detailed 150 minute semi-private tour is available here from outfit Babylon Tours.

Visitors can also download the Rijksmuseum app which can guide you through the museum and has some multimedia themed tours available in Dutch, Dutch Sign Language, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin Chinese.

Alternatively pick up the ‘floor plan & highlights’ leaflet at the reception desk.

rijksmuseum foyer
Foyer at Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The museum has a large glass-roofed atrium created from former internal courtyards which houses the foyer area, museum café and shop. Free WiFi is available throughout. There is a passage way running under the museum for pedestrians and cyclists.

The Cuypers Library is the largest historical library in the Netherlands and visitors can see the 19th century reading room on level 1.

cuypers library rijksmuseum amsterdam
Cuypers Library at Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The Asian Pavilion is a glass building in the grounds surrounded by water and houses a collection of Asian art.

rijksmuseum asian pavilion
Rijksmuseum Asian Pavilion

The Philips Wing section of the museum has more gallery space and includes the recently renovated RIJKS restaurant, a Michelin-star establishment with a focus on slow food and locally sourced organic ingredients.

The Rijksmuseum gardens contains fountains, seating and has a sculpture exhibition in the summer months  – entry is free for the public.

rijksmuseum garens amsterdam
Rijksmuseum gardens

The Rijksmuseum is a must-see in Amsterdam and one of the great museums of Europe.

Museumplein also hosts the Van Gogh Museum, MOCO Museum and Stedelijk.

Rijksmuseum Essential Info

Opening Hours

Daily 0900-1700, open all 365 days per year.

Rijksmuseum Tickets & Admission

Standard admission costs from €22.50 for adults, FREE entry to children 0-18, I Amsterdam City Card, Go City Pass and Museumkaart holders. All visitors must book an entry timeslot in advance.

Book Rijksmuseum tickets here

Alternatively get the I Amsterdam City Card or the Go City Pass which both include your admission to the museum.

How to Get to Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum is a 10 minute walk from Leidseplein.

By public transport the ‘Museumplein’ stop can be reached by trams 2 and 12 from Amsterdam Central or tram 5 from Amsterdam Zuid. Tram 19 from Amsterdam Sloterdijk goes to the ‘Rijksmuseum-Spiegelgracht’ stop.

tram 2 amsterdam - museumplein stop
Amsterdam Tram 2 – Museumplein stop (with Rijksmuseum in the background)

Or take Metro line 52 to Vijzelgracht station which is about 5-7 mins walk away. From Schiphol airport, bus 397 also stops at Museumplein.

Address / Contact

Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 662 1440,

Last updated 8 April 2024. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.

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