The Van Gogh Museum houses the world’s largest collection of works by the Dutch artist who greatly influenced 20th century art, producing around 900 paintings, more than a thousand drawings and several sketches that he unfortunately did not complete. A brilliant yet misunderstood painter with mental disorders, he died at the age of 37 from a gunshot wound.
The Van Gogh Museum is state-owned, and was opened on 3 June 1973 to house the works of the painter’s younger brother, the art dealer Theo: to this day it houses around 200 paintings, 550 drawings and watercolours and numerous letters by Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporary painter friends, including Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin.
The museum traces the artist’s life and its various facets through his childhood, his various emotional states and his thoughts, up to his death, through a guided tour within a unique structure formed by two interconnected buildings.
The museum tour runs along the two buildings and accompanies visitors through Van Gogh‘s different artistic phases, from the dark canvases typical of Dutch art to the brightly coloured landscapes of the Impressionist style.
The permanent collection of the Van Gogh Museum is organised chronologically into five periods and is exhibited on three levels. In addition to paintings and drawings, there are personal items such as brushes, tempera paintings, desks and letters written to his friend Paul Gauguin and his brother Theo.
Van Gogh’s artistic evolution is remarkable and is well reproduced in the museum: it was strongly influenced by his stays in Holland, Paris, Arles, Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise, and the journey begins with dark and sombre tones: most of the paintings depict humble workers, fruits donated by the earth, rural moments. The exhibition then continues through to the mature works that represent the end of his life.
The exhibition is enriched by works by other painters who were friends of Van Gogh, we find paintings by Manet, Monet, Gauguin, Rodin, Bernard, Breton and Signac, while on the second floor there is a reading room with art books by Van Gogh and other artists and an area with computers for information about the museum.
Some of the most famous works housed in the Van Gogh Museum include:
The Van Gogh museum is developed in a structure consisting of two interconnected buildings:
The building of the Van Gogh Museum reflects Rietveld’s modernist vision, which is accentuated by the play of light, geometric shapes and open spaces.
The volume of the building consists of 3 boxes of different heights stacked in a staggered manner and is organised around a central courtyard. In this space, lit from above, the staircase becomes the central element.
In September 2015, the old entrance to the Van Gogh Museum was replaced with a new technological structure; it can be accessed directly from Museumplein via a transparent glass staircase, a lighted staircase or a glassed-in lift to admire the view.
The Van Gogh Museum is Amsterdam’s most famous attraction and to visit it you need to buy an entrance ticket or take part in a guided tour. There are different types of tickets, choose the one that suits you best. The entrance queues can be very long, so we recommend that you visit the museum at off-peak times, i.e. early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and buy your tickets online. There are discounts and reductions for children.
If you intend to visit the museum on your own, you only need to buy the entrance ticket. Please note that it is no longer possible to buy tickets on the spot in Amsterdam. Ticket offices have been removed from all museums, so you will need to buy tickets online in advance.
If you would like to learn more about the character and works of Van Gogh, we recommend that you be accompanied by an experienced guide during your visit to the museum.
If you plan to visit other attractions in Amsterdam in addition to the Van Gogh Museum, consider the I Amsterdam city card or a combination ticket: you will save money compared to buying individual tickets for each attraction.
The Van Gogh Museum is open daily with the following opening hours:
The museum has a gift shop, a cafeteria and a reading room. Please allow one and a half hours to visit the museum.
The Van Gogh Museum is located in the Museum Quarter near the Rijksmuseum. The nearest stops, Museumplein and Van Baerlestraat, can be reached by tram numbers 2, 3, 5 and 12 and bus numbers 170, 171 and 172.
If you want to walk to the museum the Van Gogh Museum consider about 25 minutes from Dam Square; it is a good option if you want to enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam during your walk.
The Van Gogh Museum is located in the Museum Quarter, also known as Museumplein, which is about 2 kilometres south-west of Dam Square, Amsterdam's main square.