By Audrey Sykes in Amsterdam—
The Netherlands has over 400 museums – a hefty load of culture to pack into one tiny country. Locals know that museum passes are the way to go in Amsterdam, but the city offers two competing passes. Which is the best buy for you? It depends upon your length of stay and your budget.
Here’s our overview of the two main museum pass options for Amsterdam:
The Museumcard (in Dutch, Museumkaart) is valid for admission at almost every museum in the country, and covers entrance fees for more than 30 venues in Amsterdam. From the Anne Frank House to the Filmmuseum and Jewish Historic Museum, the Museumcard has your back for all the big guys and more.
Is it expensive? It’s probably one of the best deals in the country. Adults pay €40, kids 18 and under pay €20, and the card is valid for one year. Cardholders can flash their cards and head straight into the museums, whether it’s passing through the Rijksmuseum for a five-minute check up on Rembrandt’s Nightwatch or stopping for a drink at the Van Gogh Museum’s cafe.
Ideally, this card is for the museum junkies who need a daily cultural, historical or art fix during their time in Amsterdam. And it’s perfect for those on a one-week stay or longer. (Obviously, the card is a no-brainer for residents.)
Some tourists on a short stay buy the card and then resell it when they leave. Note that this is against the rules, and that you have to write your name and birth date on the card (no photo is taken). Card checkers, however, are laid-back with this policy. However, we don’t recommend trying this.
The Museumcard’s Web site is in Dutch. Foreign tourists can purchase the card inside major Museums throughout the city.
“I amsterdam” City Card
What was once known as the “Amsterdam pass” has evolved into the catchy “I amsterdam” hook that’s spread like wildfire throughout the city’s bustling tourist shops. It’s a more “all-in-one” package for visitors than the Museumcard, and is a great grab for those staying three days or less.
The card will not only give you access to museums and free public transportation on trams and buses, it will also offer a free canal cruise and discounts at several gift shops, restaurants, bike rentals and other attractions.
Sounds like a deal? It is, mostly. The Anne Frank House is not included in the list of free museums, but the card covers Van Gogh, Rijks, and many of the smaller-size exhibitions.
The 25% discount on restaurants and rentals list many options, however most businesses on the roster have a reputation for already offering inflated “tourist prices.” And 25% off an attraction might sound tempting, however “attraction” is synonymous with “waste of time” when it comes to places that are chains throughout Europe (the Dungeon and Ice Bar, for example).
Still, a free cup of coffee at bistro La Place, a free croquette roll at authentic Dutch food bar Van Dobben, 50% off parking and unlimited free public transport are all big pluses.
The prices are reasonable: €40 for one day, €50 for two days, €60 for three days.
So what will it be: diving into a sea of rich culture with the Museumcard or sampling the surface of Amsterdam’s fun zone with the City Card? The choice is yours, but remember to weigh time and cost when making your decision.
Have you purchased either pass? Tell us about your experience in the comments section.