Museums in Amsterdam

On a trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands, in July ’05, we took canal boats to some of the city’s many famous museums. Some of these watercraft, in fact, are dubbed “museum boats,” linking the city’s cultural centers.

The Mecca for many is the Rijksmuseum. This voluminous gallery features one of the world’s most renowned collections of Dutch and European paintings and particularly celebrates Rembrandt. As we entered, the Dutch master’s epic “The Night Watch” loomed before us. The collection goes on for several floors and includes masterpieces by van Gogh and Vermeer.

My advice — make sure you give yourself at least half a day here. Another warning — after leaving the Rijksmuseum, don’t be tempted to walk the block to visit the equally famous Van Gogh Museum. It’s better to be rested when you visit so you can take in the 200 paintings and 500 drawings.

Another museum we attended was the Stedelijk Museum with its formidable collection of Dutch and international art from 1850 onward.

On a smaller scale but a “must see,” for us, was the Rembrandt House Museum, located in the Jewish quarter, where the artist lived and worked. On display are his furnished living quarters and his workroom. On hangers along the wall are the armor and period clothing in which he dressed many of his subjects. His brush and palette still sit in front of his easel.

Most interesting, though, was his original printing press on display. He used it to reproduce his etchings. Using replicates of plates from 1646, a guide printed an etching, demonstrating how Rembrandt’s work was done over 350 years ago. We were lucky enough to purchase the printed example; others from original plates can be purchased in the museum’s gift shop.


Fullerton, CA