Van Gogh Museum vs Rijksmuseum: Which to Visit?

Choosing between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam can be challenging. 

The Rijksmuseum offers a vast collection of Dutch history and art, while the Van Gogh Museum provides an intimate look at the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh.

Comparing the Collections

The Rijksmuseum showcases masterpieces like Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid,” covering over eight centuries of art. 

It also features diverse collections, from Delftware pottery to the magnificent Cuypers Library.

In contrast, the Van Gogh Museum, solely dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh, presents about 200 of his paintings, including “The Potato Eaters” and “Sunflowers,” along with 500 drawings and 700 letters, offering deep insights into his life.

Van Gogh Museum TicketRijksmuseum Ticket
Timed entry ticketMuseum entry
All temporary and permanent exhibitionsPermanent exhibition, Cloakroom
Handheld audio guide in 11 languages (if option selected)Free WiFi
Booking feeBooking fee
Buy This TicketBuy This Ticket

Location and Design

Location and Design
Image: Archdaily.com, rijksmuseum.nl

Both museums are located on Museumplein, close to central Amsterdam’s attractions. 

The Rijksmuseum, housed in a late-nineteenth-century building, is known for its historical grandeur and garden sculptures. 

The Van Gogh Museum, with its modern architecture by Gerrit Rietveld and Kisho Kurokawa, offers a contemporary atmosphere.

Historical Significance

Historical Significance
Image: rijksmuseum.nl, Vangoghmuseum.nl

The Rijksmuseum, with its national and royal collections, has been a cultural staple since 1885. 

The Van Gogh Museum, founded to showcase Vincent’s works posthumously, offers a more personal historical perspective, highlighting his legacy.

Time Considerations

Given its extensive collection, a thorough visit to the Rijksmuseum requires at least four to five hours.

A visit to the Van Gogh Museum typically takes around two hours, ideal for those with limited time.

Visiting Hours and Best Times

The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The Van Gogh Museum’s hours vary seasonally, with extended hours on Fridays. For a quieter experience, visit early morning or late afternoon on weekdays.

Van Gogh MuseumRijksmuseum
Varies seasonally. Typically:
Mar/Apr to Sep/Oct: 9 am – 5 pm or 6 pm;
Fridays until 9 pm.
Rest of the year: 10 am – 5 pm;
weekends until 6 pm.
Closed on Mondays in mid-winter.
Open daily: 9 am – 5 pm, all year round.

Ticket Pricing

Admission to the Rijksmuseum is €20 for adults, while the Van Gogh Museum charges €19. Both museums offer free entry for children under 18 and require online ticket purchases.

Tour Options

Tour Option
Image: rijksmuseum.nl, Vangoghmuseum.nl

The Rijksmuseum offers a customizable app for personalized tours, while the Van Gogh Museum provides multimedia guides for an immersive experience.

Final Thoughts

Final Toughts
Image: Nytimes.com, Telegraph.co.uk

If Dutch art history fascinates you, the Rijksmuseum is your go-to. The Van Gogh Museum is a must-visit for Van Gogh enthusiasts who want to explore his masterpieces in one place.


Which museum is best for a short visit?

The Van Gogh Museum is ideal for shorter visits, typically taking around two hours.

Are there any free entry options for these museums?

Both museums offer free entry for children under 18. The Rijksmuseum’s gardens are also free to visit.

Can I visit both museums in one day?

Yes, it’s possible to visit both in a single day, though it would be a very full day.

Do I need to buy tickets in advance?

Yes, both museums require online ticket purchases with a reserved entry time.

Which museum is better for fans of Dutch art history?

The Rijksmuseum is more suited for those interested in a broad overview of Dutch art history.

Featured Image: Wikipedia.org, Archdaily.com

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