5 of the Best Museums in Amsterdam that are not Art Galleries!
Updated: Feb 15, 2020
In someways Amsterdam is one big museum. Its stunning canal rings are Unesco World Heritage and can be walked or cycled.
Before you get started, buy the Museum Card. Even if you are only in Amsterdam for a long weekend, this can be great value at 65 Euros but it can be used for a full year and all over the Netherlands. It can be purchased at a gallery and used 5 times before you need to register it and get a card posted to you. This is free to addresses in the Netherlands but there is a small postage fee to overseas. My daughter's card arrived without issue but mine didn't. I rang them and they send another but be warned because it takes a while. I rang again! After using the card many times it was suddenly blocked. I got the museum to ring the Museum Card Customer Service and they said it was because another card had been sent. I asked them to unblock it and they did this within 15 minutes.
A big bonus of the Museum Card is that you get a free audio tour included.
Museum of Our Lord in the Attic
This museum is set in 3 canal houses in an idyllic location in central Amsterdam. This is one of the few opportunities to take a look in a historic canal house but this is a canal house with a difference because it has a Catholic Church contained in it. In the 17th Century Amsterdam became a Protestant city and the Catholic Churches were taken over. As a liberal city, Catholics and other religions were not persecuted but they
were not allowed to practise their religion openly so they set up churches in houses. Not many have survived so this a real jewel.
I particularly liked the opportunity to see the foundations of this below sea level house which are set behind perspex near the end.
Make sure you go to the first floor cafe/restaurant over looking the busy canal.
This 17th Century building was formerly the Amsterdam Admiralty Arsenal but it has been beautifully modernised by addition of a modern glass roof over the courtyard. The recreation of a The Amsterdam, a Dutch East Indies Company trading ship, is a great playground for children, and children and adults alike will love the multimedia presentation around old Amsterdam.
The historic Royal Barge is stunning and in the main building the maritime related artefacts include models, globes and ship prows.
When I was there, there was a fantastic exhibition on global warming featuring photos and video comparing The Netherland's response to that of other parts of the world who do not enjoy its advanced technology.
Yet, again, the cafe/restaurant is a must. I can highly recommend the apple cake!
The Tropical Museum
Thanks to Amsterdam's colonial and maritime past, you don't need to go far to enjoy its eclectic mix of artefacts from around the world. Japan and Indonesia are prominent in the museum which also focuses on modern day issues of Multi-cultural Amsterdam.
This museum, housed in an old convent and then orphanage, has excellent visual and multimedia displays of the history and development of Amsterdam right up to the present day. It does exactly what it says on the tin and can be combined with the beautiful 14th Century Begijnhof Courtyard which if free to visit.
This is a great museum to combine with the Anne Frank House as it gives you wider background history to the Jewish Community in Amsterdam. It is set in not just one but four former synagogues!