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Travel Notes: Europe: Netherlands: Museums in Holland

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Two of the most famous Dutch artists, Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh, both have their own museums in Amsterdam.

The Rijksmuseum is also another must visit; for those who like their oil on canvas, not rolled with tobacco.

Museums in Holland

The Royal Picture Gallery is in The Hague, and the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam.

Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Museum: (Kalverstraat 92)
Museum of history and art telling the story of Amsterdam using a variety of presentation techniques that include exhibitions of objects from the museum collection, as well as audio-visual displays and interactive media. Hundreds of photos and around 225 fragments of historic film, documentaries and movies from Dutch archives.

Anne Frank House: (Prinsengracht 267)
The former hiding place, where Anne Frank wrote her diary, is now a well-known museum. The museum tells the history of the eight people in hiding and those who helped them during the war. Anne Frank's diary is among the original objects on display.

Bijbels Museum: (Herengracht 366-368)
Archaeological discoveries, artefacts from ancient Egypt, centuries-old models of the temple of Solomon and Herod, religious objects from the Judeo-Christian tradition and even aromas bring Bible stories to life for visitors to the Biblical Museum; housed in two historic buildings on the Herengracht canal.

Cobra Museum: (Sandbergplein 1)
CoBrA was of exceptional importance for the development of modern art in the Netherlands. Works by the artists who belonged to the related movements Vrij Beelden (1946) and Creatie (1950-1955) are shown on a regular basis. Separate from its collection presentations, the Cobra Museum also organises prominent exhibitions of international avant-garde art.

De Nieuwe Kerk: (Dam Square)
In 1980, Queen Beatrix was officially inaugurated in De Nieuwe Kerk. With hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, the church is one of the most attended exhibition locations in the Netherlands.

Eye Film Museum: (Vondelpark 3)
Holland's museum for cinematography. The museum's collection of films covers the whole of the history of cinema from the very first silent films, dating from the late 19th century, up to the latest contemporary digital productions.

Hermitage Museum: (Nieuwe Herengracht 14)
A branch of the Russian State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. If you can't make it to Russia, you can see what's on exhibit in Amsterdam.

Hortus Botanicus: (Plantage Middenlaan 2a)
Originally, the Hortus was a medicinal herb garden, founded in 1638 by the Amsterdam City Council. Thanks to the ships of the Dutch East India Company, the Hortus expanded quickly in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The VOC ships brought not only herbs and spices, but also exotic ornamental plants. There are more than 6,000 plants of some 4,000 species growing in the garden and greenhouses.

Houseboat Museum: (Prinsengracht, opposite 296)
Personally experience how life is on board a houseboat in an Amsterdam canal. The unique location, in the Prinsengracht canal on the edge of the Jordaan, provides a fitting background for the museum vessel. The vessel, on which the houseboat museum is reconverted, was built in 1914 and has bore the name 'Hendrika Maria' ever since.

Jewish Historical Museum: (Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1)
Collects objects and works of art associated with the religion, culture and history of the Jews in the Netherlands and its former colonies. The museum has over 11,000 works of art, ceremonial items and historical objects, although only five percent of these are on permanent display.

Katten Kabinet: (Herengracht 497)
The Cat Cabinet is the only museum in the world to feature a collection of objects d'art wholly centred around the theme of the cat. The collection is intended as a comprehensive portrayal of the cat in art and culture throughout the centuries.

National Maritime Museum: (Kattenburgerplein 1)
The Scheepvaartmuseum is housed in the National Naval Depot, a former arsenal of the Dutch Navy that is over 300 years old. The unique collection tells the story of the maritime past of the Netherlands, with the jetty outside the Museum providing a permanent berth for a replica of the Dutch East Indiaman 'Amsterdam'. Actors playing the sailors provide a life-like impression of life on board the Amsterdam.

Multatuli Museum: (Korsjespoortsteeg 20,)
The tribute to the Dutch author Multatuli (1820-1887), writer of the famous novel Max Havelaar (1860), is located in the birthplace of the author. On the basis of objects from his personal possessions the visitor is given an impression of life in the second half of the 19th century. Amongst other things the museum possesses Multatuli's writing desk, his library, the chaise longue in which he died, and books and pictures from the rich museum collection.

Museum Van Loon: (Keizersgracht 672)
The double-sized canal house dates from 1672. The first resident was the painter Ferdinand Bol, one of Rembrandt's most famous pupils. In the nineteenth century, the Van Loon family came to live in the house. The family's history is closely intertwined with that of Amsterdam. Several Van Loons held important positions as city-mayors. Others, such as Willem van Loon, fulfilled decisive functions in the Dutch East-India Company. The characteristic dining room and magnificent salon can be hired for meetings and lectures.

Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder: (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40)
One of the most cherished museums in Amsterdam. The special atmosphere in this canal house, with its 17th century period rooms and church in the attic, surprises any visitor.

Rembrandthuis: (Jodenbreestraat 4)
The house where Rembrandt van Rijn lived and worked, from 1639 to 1658, is now a museum. Rembrandt didn't pay off his mortgage and was declared bankrupt in 1656. The inventory of Rembrandt’s property that was drawn up, when he went bankrupt, has survived and lists the furniture, paintings, prints, drawings, statues, weapons and rare objects that are found in each room. This inventory was used as the basis for a reconstruction of the interior of Rembrandt's house.

Rijksmuseum: (Jan Luijkenstraat 1)
While the restoration of the main building is underway (from December 2003 to 2008), the Rijksmuseum will display the creme de la creme of its permanent collection in the newly furnished Philips Wing. Rijksmuseum, The Masterpieces offers the unique opportunity to view all the highlights of the Golden Age in one place. You can also view The Masterpieces online.

Royal Palace: (The Dam)
The Royal Palace is one of three palaces (Huis ten Bosch and Noordeinde being the others) which the State has placed at the Queen's disposal by Act of Parliament.

Stedelijk Museum: (Museumplein 10)
With the opening of the renovated and expanded Stedelijk Museum, one-half of the ground floor of the historic 1895 building will now be dedicated to an installation of visual arts from the 1870s to the 1960s, presented in a dozen galleries.

Tropenmuseum: (Linnaeusstraat 2)
One of the most fascinating anthropological museums in the Netherlands is housed in a beautiful and historic building. It accommodates eight permanent exhibitions and an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions, including both modern and traditional visual arts and photographic works.

Van Gogh Museum: (Paulus Potterstraat 7)
A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is a unique experience. The museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. It provides the opportunity to keep track of the artist's developments, or compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century in the collection. The museum also holds an extensive offer of exhibitions on various subjects from 19th century art history.

Verzetsmuseum: (Plantage Kerklaan 61)
Using authentic objects as well as all kinds of modern techniques, the Dutch Resistance Museum evokes a powerful atmospheric picture of the time, and ‘recounts’ events mainly on the basis of personal examples. A guided tour of the area outlines the history of Amsterdam during the Second World War and includes the Hollandsche Schouwburg, the statue of the Dokwerker, the Auschwitz monument and the former Register Office, which was assaulted by the resistance in 1943.


Kroller-Muller Museum: (Houtkampweg 6)
Helene Kroller-Muller, the daughter of a German industrialist, built up a large collection of fine art. By 1935, her collection had grown large enough to fill a gallery and she decided to transfer ownership to the Netherlands State; who had a museum constructed for the collection, in Hogue Veluwe National Park. The museum was opened in 1938 and later enhanced by a sculpture garden in 1961, then a new wing in 1977.

The Kröller-Müller Museum boasts the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world: almost 90 paintings and over 180 drawings.

Museums in Rotterdam

Belasting & Douane Museum: (Parklaan 14-16)
The Dutch Tax & Customs Museum lets you look back on the broad panorama of twenty centuries of Dutch tax history.

Boijmans van Beuningen Museum: (Museumpark 18-20)
One of the main features of the new Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is its digital depot directly behind the main entrance. Interaction between visitors, digital information and tangible works of art takes centre stage.

Havenmuseum: (Leuvehaven)
As harbour activities gradually moved to areas like the Botlek, Europoort and the Maasvlakte a visit to the museum gives you a taste of the typical sphere of the harbour in the old days. In the Leuvehaven many ships, derricks and a steam elevator are moored. The historical commercial vessels are often still in the original, ready-to-operate state and open to visitors.

Kunsthal: (Museumpark)
The museum building, quite a work of art itself, was designed by local architect Rem Koolhaas and stages some 25 exhibitions a year (from Da Vinci to 19th century cat portraits), in more than 3,300 square metres of exhibition space.

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam: (Westzeedijk 345)
The Natural History Museum is housed in the antique mansion, Villa Dijkzigt - built in 1852. In 1995 a modern glass, pavilion extension was added to the museum.

Wereldmuseum: (Willemskade 25)
Formerly the Museum of Ethnology, the World Arts Museum focuses on 'encounters and cross-cultural inspiration'. The museum relates its knowledge of cultures outside of Europe to developments in Europe and the experience and perceptions of its visitors. It also concentrates on the areas of origin of migrant communities in the Netherlands and gives extra attention to Islam.

Witte de With: (Witte de Withstraat 50)
Established in 1990 as a centre for contemporary art with the mission to introduce contemporary art and theory in the context of the City of Rotterdam as well as the Netherlands as a whole.

Museums in The Hague

Haags Historisch Museum: (Korte Vijverberg 7)
The Historical Museum of The Hague is housed in the former archery house of St. Sebastian’s guild and dates from 1636. It is built on the spot of a gatehouse that was used by the civic guard. Parts of its cross-vaulted basement have been incorporated in the new archery house and can still be seen today.

Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery: (Korte Vijverberg 8)
In the centre of The Hague, directly adjacent to the government buildings on the Hofvijver, the mansion of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau Siegen, governor-general of Dutch Brazil, arose in about 1640. The core of the collection consists of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age, including paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Frans Hals.

Museon: (Stadhouderslaan 37)
With 100 years history behind it, the former 'Museum for Education' now seeks to transfer knowledge about man and his relation with nature and culture by providing easily accessible information about topical themes and developments in science and society.

Museum de Gevangenpoort: (Buitenhof 33)
The Prison Gate museum is situated in the historical heart of The Hague, next to the Hofvijver and across the street from the Binnenhof (the governmental buildings). In the six centuries during which the Gevangenpoort was the main state prison of the Court of Holland many more or less famous prisoners stayed within its walls for a shorter or longer period. For the Dutch, Cornelis de Witt is the most famous.

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