Count yourself lucky during Museum Weekend in Amsterdam

Count yourself lucky during Museum Weekend in Amsterdam

Nothing could be a more obvious pastime while in Amsterdam than visiting museums. The city is essentially one big museum – with most of the old centre having been built by art aware merchants in the 17th century. Amsterdam offers more than fine arts museums, including numerous places to learn about history, science, fashion, architecture, popular vices and more.

Really, Amsterdam offers every visitor on a short break a handful of museums; not just one or two. If you’re not convinced, simply make your way to the Museum Quarter (Museumkwartier) not far from the Rijksmuseum and take your pick. 

If you happen to be visiting the city of Amsterdam during the weekend of April 5th and 6th, you will be especially pleased to find out that this is Museum Weekend. By means of promotion, museums all over the Netherlands open their doors to the public for free or a minimum fee. Establishments that usually charge prices over 10 euros will now invite you in for as little as one euro per ticket, or even for free. 

It is an ideal time to go museum hopping during this weekend because not only are admission charges fiercely reduced, but participating museums also plan at least one special activity to celebrate Museum Day. Most of these are especially fun for children. And, as it is almost spring, it is likely that the activities in question will be inspired by something light and airy. 

The Rembrandt House, for instance, will give workshops for young people in the very atelier that Rembrandt himself used to teach his pupils. What can be more enticing than that?

And for modern art lovers, the CoBrA museum in Amstelveen might be of special interest as it has 44 top works on show from the Solomon Guggenheim Museum during this weekend, highlighting mostly abstract art of ‘50s greats including Willem de Kooning (who originated from the Netherlands), Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis, Mark Rothko, Georges Mathieu and Louise Bourgeois. 

In case you are a photography fanatic, why not head to the FOAM museum? During the Museum Weekend, visitors are invited to take a selfie and engineer that photo into a real world setting. The subsequent product is again photographed for you to take home. The museum offers visitors 50 per cent off entrance fees. 

And Bijzondere Collecties, a museum which houses special collections, promises to open up its archives, which is something many other museums will do too, giving visitors the chance to see what’s normally off limits. So in case you know a certain museum houses a piece of art that is not on display, during the Museum Weekend you might get to see it after all…

This year, approximately 15 Amsterdam museums will participate, out of 400 museums nationwide. Museum Weekend is a popular event among the locals, so be prepared to elbow your way to the good stuff. 

These institutions include:
Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum)
Eye Museum
Bijzondere Collecties (Special Collections)
Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis
Allard Pierson
Foam Museum (photography)
Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum, WWII)
Museum Het Schip 
CoBrA Museum (modern art, quite far out of the town centre)
De Appel (modern art)
Science Centre Nemo (for children)
Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House)

There are a few more, but I am running out of space. Head to the Museum Weekend website to find out more details. The site is only in Dutch, but if you click on the 'Zoeken' box, you are able to search under museum or location, which is helpful.