Amsterdam is bursting with arts and entertainment, and The Netherlands itself boasts over 400 museums to marvel at. Although viewing the work of Van Gogh and Rembrandt can often be pricey, there are still ways to satisfy a museum craving free of charge. Here are five hotspots that offer a complimentary dose of Amsterdam culture.
1. Botanical Gardens at Vrije University
Large and impressive glass houses and about 2.5 acres of botanical bliss await those willing to venture outside the city center for photo ops. Built in 1967 as a biology addition for the local university, the garden is home to about 10,000 plant species, from cacti to a variety of trees and orchids.You don’t need to know the difference between biennials and perennials to enjoy this plant paradise.
Address: Van der Boechorststraat 8
Get There: Tram 5 to de Boelelaan Vu, metro 50 and 51 to Amsterdam Zuid
Hours: September through May: M–F 8am–4.30pm May through September: M–F 8am–4.30pm, Sa 9am–5pm.
2. Melkweg Photogallery
The Melkweg’s west entrance from Marnixstraat leads visitors to a café and free photography room which boasts a new exhibition each month. The work on display ranges from portraits to photojournalism to scenic abstracts, and it’s rarely disappointing. The mounted photo selection is ample enough to keep you busy for a good half hour.
Address: Lijnbaansgracht 234a/Marnixstraat 409
Get There: Tram 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10 to Leidseplein
Hours: Daily from noon–8pm.
3. Hollandsche Schouwburg (The Dutch Theater)
During the height of World War II, this theater was a hub for Nazis deporting between 60,000 to 80,000 Jews to concentration camps. Today the building is a war memorial, with a number of touching monuments scattered throughout the building. The museum also offers up informative history of the building and the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam during WWII.
Address: Plantage Middenlaan 24
Get There: Tram 6, 9 and 14 to Plantage Kerklaan
Hours: Daily from 11am–4pm
4. Multatuli Museum
Multatuli was the pen name for Edward Douwes-Dekker (1820-1887), a former general during colonial Dutch times who was the first to speak out about the injustice and racism happening in the Dutch colony of Indonesia. His book, Max Havelaar(1860), was a revealing testimony to the realities of colonialism. The book sent a shockwave through The Netherlands and inspired the freethinker and anarchist movements. Multatuli’s house has been converted to a museum where visitors can view the space where the writer worked and learn more about how people of his time lived.
Address: Korsjespoortsteeg 20
Get There: Tram 1, 2, 5, 13 and 17 to Nieuwezijds Kolk (walking distance from Central Station)
Hours: Tu 10am–5pm, weekends 12pm–5pm
5. Reflex New Art Gallery
This modest art gallery has been hosting a unique collection of work from young, international talent since 2003. Reflex features exhibitions showcasing the work of four to six artists. With a vibrant array of paintings, photography, and everything in between, Reflex will suit anyone interested in new and different modern art.
Address: Weteringschans 83
Get There: Tram 7 and 10 to Spiegelgracht, 16, 24 and 15 to Weteringcircuit.
Hours: M, Tu, Th and Sa 10am–6pm.