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A Guide to the Museums of Amsterdam
Amsterdam has much to offer the lovers of history, science and art with its myriad museums catering to each field. Here's a quick snapshot of some of the museums you can expect to see in Amsterdam.

High on the list is Rijksmuseum, which hosts a collection focusing on art, craft, and history, including pieces that feature the Dutch Golden Age and a large collection of Asian art. Located on the Museumplein, a new building was established where visitors find even the design of the building to be artistic and reflective of Dutch history thanks to the efforts of artisans who submitted ideas in response to several contests for this purpose. Works by Jacob van Ruysdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt and Rembrandt's pupils can be viewed at this museum. Rembrandt's The Night Watch is exhibited among other masterpieces in the Philips wing.

The Van Gogh Museum focuses on the works by the famous painter himself. Reputed as the bearer of the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, this museum hosts pieces that follow Van Gogh through the various stages of his life, from childhood to death, as well as the various emotional phases that he experienced. Some of the best known pieces include The Potato Eaters, Bedroom in Arles, and one of the Sunflowers paintings.

For something a little more cutting edge, check out the Stedelijk Museum—targeted at modern art aficionados. Artists such as Mike Kelley, Neo Rauch, David Goldblatt and Atelier Van Lieshout are represented amidst the myriad collections and exhibitions. Science lovers can check out the NEMO science museum for hands-on displays, computer simulations, and numerous experiments.

One museum that is not to be missed is the secret wartime home of Anne Frank. Rescued from demolition in the late 1950s and later donated to the Anne Frank Foundation, the museum has drawn thousands of visitors from around the globe, giving them a view of life in the Secret Annex. None of the original furniture and few personal effects remain since these were seized by the Dutch officers when the family was arrested. Only a few personal belongings were rescued by friends of the family prior to the clearing of the annex and later given to Otto Frank, the only surviving member of the Frank family. Some of these rescued items as well as photographs from the period are on display at the museum. In addition to the collection featuring various aspects of Anne Frank's life, including the original diary that made her famous, the museum hosts a collection that highlights persecution and discrimination.

Also dedicated to history lovers is the Amsterdam Historical Museum. Offering a full in-depth encounter of the history of Amsterdam, the museum—which is housed in what was once the city orphanage—displays paintings, prints, marquettes, historical objects, porcelain and silver items, and archaeological discoveries.

Those who plan on visiting more than five museums in a year in Amsterdam would be best advised to purchase a Museum Card from a small museum. The Museum Card is relatively cheap and offers free access to 400 museums across the Netherlands, of which 29 are in Amsterdam. The Card is especially useful for avoiding long queues at the entrance of the most popular museums.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Amsterdam accommodation and vacation accommodation worldwide.
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