The Dutch capital is home to many outstanding, world-famous museums, encompassing everything from classical to modern art, culture and photography to history, architecture, canals, cannabis, and its thriving sex industry.
Some of the biggest names include the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Eye Film Museum, NEMO Science Museum, and so many others. A vacation in this exciting city is not complete without visiting at least some of these iconic cultural institutions.
As you may already know, however, Amsterdam is definitely not a cheap destination to visit and explore. Just as with other expensive cities on the continent, such as Zurich, London, Dublin, Oslo, and Copenhagen – museum ticket fees are high and will significantly eat into your limited travel budget.
Consequently, many tourists look for alternatives in the form of no-cost activities to do during their trip – and this includes free museums.
The following list includes 6 museums, galleries, and art exhibitions in Amsterdam that are completely free of charge for all types of visitors, all year long.
1. Amsterdam City Archives (Stadsarchief) – Treasure Room
The two-level Treasure Room (Schatkamer) showcases a broad selection of historical photographs, drawings, maps, letters, documents, and other artifacts that tell the story of Amsterdam and demonstrate how it evolved from a small city in a medieval world to today’s large, modern, lively, cosmopolitan city.
2. Rijksmuseum Schiphol
Do you have free time to kill at Schiphol? Would you like to experience a bit of authentic Dutch culture without ever leaving the airport? Explore a small sampling of the famous museum on Holland Boulevard (located between Lounges 2 and 3), either before or after your flight.
3. Civic Guards Gallery (Schuttersgalerij)
Managed by the Amsterdam Museum, this small passageway between the Kalverstraat and the Begijnhof is filled with both historical and modern portraits of the Dutch elite who shaped the history of the city – free for everyone to enjoy.
4. Melkweg Expo
An exhibition space for innovative, contemporary photography as well as a platform for young artists. Situated in the heart of the Netherlands’ capital, its goal is to nurture and promote emerging talent for dissemination to a wide audience.
5. Max Euwe Centrum (Chess Museum)
A small museum that depicts the history of chess and the life of the only Dutch chess champion, Max Euwe (1901-1981), the 1935-37 World Chess Champion. This permanent exhibition takes visitors through the history of the Game of Kings and illustrates Max Euwe’s career.
6. Amsterdam Cheese Museum
Located just down the street from the famous Anne Frank House, this modest museum is dedicated exclusively to Dutch cheese. It offers visitors educational information about the history and production of cheese in Holland, as well as free cheese tastings, and the opportunity to dress up as a traditional Dutch farmer for a photo.
Final Words: Are They Worth Your Time?
Amsterdam’s free museums are typically small and dedicated to niche subjects;
therefore, do not expect the size and depth of the city’s big museums. If you’re already in the area, however, and looking for something interesting to do without spending any money, they can offer an interesting way to experience the Netherlands’ capital from a unique perspective.