Our European Vacation: Amsterdam Museums

Like Paris, Amsterdam is crammed with museums. Of course, we went to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum, but we also toured Het Scheepvaartmuseum (the National Maritime Museum), the Amsterdam Historical Museum, and the Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance museum), and saw some other landmarks from the outside.

I didn’t take any photos at the Van Gogh museum. As at pretty much at any art museum, flash is not allowed and it is too dark to get anything good without a tripod. I took a few at the Rijksmuseum, but its website has a really good section devoted to exploring its holdings.

Reviewing my notes from our stay in Amsterdam (I jotted a few things down each evening for later reference), the Van Gogh museum did not have a version of “Starry Night.”

At the Rijksmuseum, in addition to many works by Rembrandt, I saw Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid.” I had not been surprised at the size of the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre, because I had already heard that it was smaller than you might think. However, I *was* surprised that “The Milkmaid” was as small as it is — 41 cm wide by 45.5 cm tall (approx. 16-1/4″ x 18″). Having seen it reproduced in posters that are bigger than that, and seeing the detail included in the piece, I was a bit taken aback to see its true size.

As at the other art museums we went to, it was a thrill to see many of the paintings that my art history course back in 2013 had covered. Among them,”The Night Watch” and this portrait by Frans Hals.


I especially was taken by how he painted the man’s lace collar.


I also liked this painting, “Young Woman with a Fan” by Simon Maris (1873-1935). I found it interesting that her face and hands were rendered with finer brushwork  than the rest of the painting, which has a more sketchy, Impressionistic look to it.


The Maritime Museum, in addition to a exhibits of maps, ship’s figureheads and metalwork had a fairly extensive collection of paintings of ships.

I liked the sea monster hiding in the corner of this one.

The styles and subject matter ranged from old and traditional to new and modern.





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