Amsterdam, Netherlands is a great city with some of the most beautiful museums in the world. I had the good fortune to travel there on business and treated myself to a half day in art museums. The public transportation is convenient and inexpensive. I went directly from the front door of my hotel to the door step of the Museum district, where I visited Rijkstadt Museum first, followed by my favorite, the Van Gogh Museum.
English is commonly spoken; there is no issue navigating the website, the city or the museums. I bought my tickets at the door on a weekday morning – no waiting in lines. Both museums are delightful, with expansive art exhibitions, libraries and gift shops. Art attributions are conveniently labeled in Dutch and English. It was easy to take in the eye candy for two hours in each facility.
The Rijksmuseum mixes art with history to bring new meaning for a broad-based, contemporary national and international audience. As a national institute, the Rijksmuseum offers a representative overview of Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages onward, and of major aspects of European and Asian art. The museum was renovated in 2013. Many modern amenities were added, and the new arrangement provides for a comfortable flow of visitors through the large space. Be sure to stop in the gift shop!
The Vermeer and Rembrandt paintings are the jewel in this crown of art and a host of masterworks – from Peter Paul Rubens to Caravaggio. There is also an Asian collection. The Netherland ceramics exhibition opened my eyes to another form of painting. The model boat complete with true materials of the William Rex, Cornelis Moesman, 1698 was most unique.
The Van Gogh Museum was an exceptional treat because I sit on the board of trustees of another single artist museum – the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This visit to one of the most beautiful museums in the world gave me the opportunity to compare and contrast how one artist’s body of lifetime works, stories from his life and from his family, along with hundreds of letters and personal effects can be organized, while channeling the flow of visitors through several stories of one building. The curatorial staff did an excellent job combining art with the story of Van Gogh’s life, those who influenced his art, and the next generation he impacted. His life was tragically short yet exhibited in a captivating manner.
You read earlier on Prime Women, Metropolitan Museum: Van Gogh’s Irises and Roses, about paintings by Van Gogh. Well, get ready to take a deep dive at this museum where you can get a feel for the process he used, such as preparatory sketches, observations from life, and his tools and materials. The curators also expose you to some of the science behind the scenes in his work from linear perspective to fading paint pigments.
Each time I go to an art museum I feel a flush of inspiration. I plan to make this more of a habit, especially when traveling. Join me in seeing the most beautiful museums in the world, exploring art and culture in Amsterdam and at home.