With the largest collection of work by Vincent Van Gogh, it is no surprise that the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular museums in the world. The museum boasts over 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters, and has recently been refurbished to feature a $22 million entrance, making it a true delight to explore. While it is easy to spend hours taking in all that the museum has to offer, these are the highlights that you definitely should not miss if you only have a small amount of time to spare.
The ground floor of the museum has several of Van Gogh’s self-portraits that are definitely worth taking a look at. Amongst these paintings is the piece titled ‘Self Portrait as a Painter’, which was completed in 1988. This was a piece that Van Gogh himself was exceptionally proud of, and was the last piece of work that the artist completed in Paris, before heading off to the south of France in search of new inspiration.
Van Gogh’s Life
The second floor of the museum is where you should immediately go if you are looking for a more personal insight into the life of Van Gogh. Here you will find voice recordings, beautifully written letters illustrated with little sketches, and a collection of sketchbooks, all of which you can flick through for yourself. You will also be able to see Van Gogh’s very own writing desk, as well as a painting of Van Gogh working on Sunflowers, which was painted by his good friend Paul Gauguin.
In addition to all the fantastic pieces that are housed within the museum, the architecture of the building itself is extremely impressive. The new entrance hall with its sweeping staircase was designed an important Dutch architect Hans van Heeswijk, who has worked on a variety of the country’s museums, while the main building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld, another famous Dutch architect.
The Gift Shop
Almost every museum visit will usually end with an obligatory stroll around the gift shop, but the Van Gogh Museum’s gift shop really is a great experience. With over 500 different Van Gogh-themed items, there is no doubt that you will be able to find the perfect souvenir to take home with you. The top floor of the gift shop is a bookshop with a fantastically diverse range of around 1500 different publications, including coloring books that feature the works of famous artists. The shop also has a special children’s corner, as well as a reading table that overlooks Museumplein, making it quite easy to spend a fair bit of time in there!
The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam, but this does mean that you might end up queueing for a while to buy tickets. The best way to get around this is to book your tickets online, as this will mean that you can skip any queues on the day and head straight into the museum.