• February 21, 2024

The Van Gogh Museum

One of the Top Amsterdam Destinations for Students in the Arts.

There is a little creativity in all of us. Each and every one has a little spark of something artistic… even those who say they don’t will betray themselves by decorating their homes in their preferred aesthetic. Everyone has a little touch of the arts in there… and that’s probably what makes the Van Gogh Museum such an adored destination among the 3 million plus annual Amsterdam visitors.

Here at Lilly Likes we sell specialty tours of the city, so you can enjoy all the best bits even on a strict itinerary. We even write reviews of the destinations that prove most popular, time and time again. This time we are peeping through the doors at the Van Gogh museum, but we regularly review coffeeshops, have toured the Ann Frank House, and have even had a smoke on a canal boat – and all in an effort to bring you the best the city has to offer.

Through the Doors of the Van Gogh Museum

We were a little disappointed to find that it wasn’t a chocolate factory after all, but not so let down when we saw the exhibits. Unsurprisingly, this place is filled to the brim with the works of Van Gogh. There is a whole section on self-portraits, some of his more famous works, and even a few of his sketches. There are several letters that the artist penned to his friends, and an array of artworks that take you through the stages of his development. You can move between his early works and his masterpieces freely, all in one place.

The museum includes his portraits, landscapes, and floral works as separate categories, so you can go straight to the work that you enjoy most. They have further categorised it by drawings from Paris and drawings from the South of France. You can peruse his letters, hear about his most famous quotes, and get to feel like you really glimpsed inside his mind. You can see on paper, displayed with excellent lighting, how he went from figuring things out in his early drawings, to creating intrinsically detailed paintings of the café’s and shops along the river Seine, years later.


What’s On That’s Not Van Gogh?

Since this is Amsterdam, you’re not going to just get one thing out of one place. Amsterdam is eclectic, like Janice Joplin’s Beatle, and so is the Van Gogh Museum. There are more than 8,000 pieces housed there, and obviously they aren’t all by Van Gogh. He’d have aching hands and crippling arthritis if he’d painted all those.

So… what else is there? The pieces on display have mostly come from other Dutch artists although there is a display devoted entirely to Rembrandt’s masterpieces. If you want to see the majority of Rembrandt’s works, or if you want to know how he lived, you can actually tour his house, right here in Amsterdam. We haven’t covered the Rembrandt House yet, but we will get to it one of these days. The masterpiece collection featuring Rembrandt’s work also showcases paintings by Hals and Vermeer.

The French Contemporaries

As well as artwork by the master himself, there is an exhibit dedicated to the French contemporaries that he inspired. They have paintings by the likes of Paul Gauguin. Edouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. All artists that grew to be respected in their own right. The deluge of contemporaries that came after Van Gogh is part of the attraction of this museum. It hooks thousand of art history students every year, from all over Europe. Of note to those students, the museum has most of its collection online now. Although this isn’t the same as seeing them in person, it does help refresh your memory for the odd art history essay.

French Prints

The French connection doesn’t stop there and continues along the theme of 19th century printing methods (and onwards). The result is a hugely varied mix of styles, colours, concepts and execution, all using the delicate hand of the French artist creating prints. Browsing through the collection it is easy to identify the influences of the great masters. Artwork has to be genuinely terrific to make it into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Japanese Prints

By contrast to the watercolours and fine lines of the French prints, the Japanese prints feature defined – yet delicate – patterns using vibrant colours mixed with the longing for old-world tradition. What’s special about these is that they were Van Gogh’s prints, and he is the origin of this particular collection. Although this explains why there is a Japanese print exhibit on display in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, it doesn’t do justice to describing the beauty. All-in-all, this is a final, exquisite touch, that completes the image of the artist himself.

The Shop


Lilly Likes Masterpieces

The conclusion for this place is that we recognise how important the work they do is. Preservation of fine art is something that needs a professional, appreciative touch… and they not only have it, they use it to pull in hundreds of thousands of people every year. Keep up the good work… and keep that Twitter game on point. We’re really enjoying the art.


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