A visit to the Netherlands is an item on many bucket lists, mainly because people love to visit Amsterdam. Some people even think Amsterdam is the only thing the Netherlands has to offer. It is the capital, but it’s not representing the whole country and all it has to offer. The same is true for museums. Anne Frank Huis, Rijks- and Van Gogh museum are on countless ‘to visit’ lists. Lately Museum Voorlinden, Wondr and Moco were added to those lists, and all instagrammers can’t miss visiting those places. But the Netherlands has much more to offer in regards to museums and art! So let me introduce you to the 10 museums in the Netherlands you should not miss.
*Sidenote, this article was written while all museums in the Netherlands were closed during the Covid pandemic. Please check the current rules and regulations before visiting any museum.
Kröller-Müller – Veluwe
You can find many museums at beautiful locations in the Netherlands, however, none of them are as beautiful as Kröller-Müller. The museum is situated in the middle of Nationaal Park Hoge Veluwe, in addition to the museum exploring this Nationaal Park is a must! At the museum you will see what is left of the private collection of Anton en Helene Kröller-Müller. Do you want to see the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world, with 90 paintings and 180 drawings? Do you want to enjoy masterpieces by Monet, Mondriaan and Picasso? Then this is the place to go!
Teylers Museum – Haarlem
One of the 10 museums in the Netherlands you have to visit if you are into arts and science is this one. Then Teylers is the place for you to visit. It has a great collection of visual art and science objects, furthermore it has the ‘piece de resistance’, the monumental Oval Room. This is the only authentic 18th century museum interior to be found in the world. The collection of the museum includes work by Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Raphael next to historical books, coins, machines that generate electricity and million year old fossils.
You can combine a visit to Teylers Museum with a city walk of Haarlem. Haarlem is one of my favourite cities in the Netherlands. It has a lot of history, beautiful architecture and a great food & drink scene, in case you want to try typical Dutch foods.
Nijntje Museum – Utrecht
Nijntje, the cute rabbit, has her origin at the coastal town of Egmond aan Zee. In 1955 during a holiday Dick Bruna told his son a bedtime story every night about a white rabbit that spend time in the garden of the vacation home. This rabbit was the inspiration for Nijntje, or Miffy, the name that is used internationally.
The Nijntje Museum is the most fun place to take your little ones to discover. Although even as an adult I am a huge Nijntje lover, and therefor I love to spend time in the world of Nijntje and her friends. There is a series of miniature worlds here. You can have everyday experiences as going to the doctor, visiting the zoo or exploring a museum for the first time.
Zuiderzee Museum – Enkhuizen
Step back in time at the Zuiderzee Museum. Explore the stories of the people who lived on the shores of the Zuiderzee, a piece of the country that doesn’t exist anymore due to the build of the Afsluitdijk, which is now the Ijsselmeer. Experience life as it was before 1932 in the outdoor museum. Stroll along the cobble streets and view more than 140 historic buildings from the Zuiderzee region. This part of the museum is a village of its own. As a child I visited this museum often as part of school field trips. I have very fond memories of this place. It wasn’t ‘boring’ the way I experienced museums around the age of 11. In the summer it’s filled with actors reenacting life of those who lived here a long time ago.
There is also an indoor museum. See various collections that are presented with a more modern approach. After visiting the museum, stroll through town of Enkhuizen. It has a rich history and is worth visiting.
Eise Eisinga Planetarium – Franeker
Of the 10 museums in the Netherlands you cant miss this one is for all star lovers. Discover the solar system during a visit to the oldest still working planetarium in the world. Frisian wool comber Eise Eisinga built this model of the solar system between 1774 and 1781 in his living room . Learn all about astronomy and finally visit Eisinga’s former wool combing establishment.
Storyworld – Groningen
‘Storyworld, the Dutch museum for comics, animation and games.’ Too be honest this is one of the museums on my list that I haven’t visit yet. When browsing through the list of museums we have in the Netherlands I found this one and it really appealed to me. The secrets of great storytellers will be revealed, showing methods used in Dutch and international games, animation and comics. The fact that visitors have the opportunity to get hands-on speaks to me even more. It’s gives you the understanding what it takes to make a graphic story.
Storyworld can be found on the sixth floor of Forum Groningen. Cinema, museum, library, food & drinks, exhibitions, tourist shop and events all under one roof!
Naturalis – Leiden
Stand eye to eye with a dinosaur! At Naturalis you won’t find those you see in Jurassic Park, but real meters high dinosaur skeletons. World famous in the Netherlands is Trix, the gigantic T-rex that you will find in the most unique dinosaur collection. Not just the bones of these ancient giants are found here, the museum has millions of nature objects showcased in eight impressive galleries. As a child I loved visiting this place. I haven’t been there recently and while looking at the website I realized it’s time to go back again when museums in the country open again.
Paleis op het Loo – Apeldoorn
Not all of the 10 museums in the Netherlands are classic museums. Visit a real castle! Since 1984 (former Royal) Paleis het Loo has been a museum where furnished rooms and chambers show how the Oranjes have lived and worked here for 300 years. Not just the castle is worth visiting. Queen Wilhelmina gave the order to build the stables and coach houses that are located at the Stables Square. The baroque gardens are very unique in the Netherlands and beautiful to visit in every season of the year. Do you love to walk and always seek to find exclusive trails? The palace park has eight walking trails of various lengths, three of which are suitable for wheelchair users. So much to see, explore and discover that a day is almost too little time to see it all.
The palace is currently being renovated on a large scale and will reopen in 2021.
Groninger Museum – Groningen
The real Groninger Museum experience starts when you arrive at the museum. Like Guggenheim in Bilbao, this Dutch museum has a very exceptional and colourful architecture. Groninger Museum is also the place to find modern art in the North of the country. You will find all forms of art you are looking for; painting, applied arts, fashion, design, installation art, photography and archaeology.
It’s definitely worth it to stick around a little longer in Groningen than just for a quick visit to the museum. The city has a lot more to offer when it’s about art, culture and food.
BroekerVeiling – Broek op Langedijk
The final museum on the list of the 10 museums in the Netherlands you have to see is almost a home match, one that is close to where I live and that is definitely worth the visit because of it’s history and importance for the region in the past. BroekerVeiling is the oldest sail-through vegetable auction in the world. Immerse yourself in the history and experience of the auction over a century ago. As the granddaughter of a agrarian this local history is close to my heart and it’s a fun experience for young and old.
I highly recommend to rent a boat to explore de ‘Duizend Eilandenrijk’, since this is a hidden gem in this part of the country.
It’s easy to get to the northern part of the Netherlands. Getting around is generally a breeze here. You can go by train, by bike, or car! Renting a car is incredibly easy in the Netherlands, with services like Discover Cars that let you search for the best price.