Tour 2: Amsterdam Art and Culture Walk





The Art and Culture Route

  • Start: Dam Square
  • End: Museumplein
  • Time: 1 hour

  • Route Map:
  • Dam Square
  • Amsterdam Museum
  • The Spui
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Museumplein

    Highlights on the Art and Culture Route

1. Dam Square

  • Location: Central Amsterdam.
  • Significance: The city’s central square, surrounded by historical buildings and bustling with activity.
  • Points of Interest: The Royal Palace, Nieuwe Kerk, and the National Monument.
  • Interesting Fact: Dam Square was the site of the original dam built on the Amstel River.

2. Amsterdam Museum

  • Location: Kalverstraat 92.
  • Significance: Exhibits Amsterdam’s rich history and culture.
  • Interesting Fact: Housed in a former orphanage, it covers the city’s evolution from a small medieval town to a bustling metropolis.
  • More Info: The museum’s collection includes artifacts, paintings, and photographs that tell the story of Amsterdam’s growth and development. Notable exhibits include the Civic Guard Gallery and the Amsterdam DNA presentation, which offers an interactive overview of the city's history.

3. The Spui

  • Location: Near the Amsterdam Museum.
  • Significance: A cozy square known for its bookshops and cafes.
  • Interesting Fact: Historically a medieval gateway, it now hosts a weekly book market.
  • More Info: The Spui is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, featuring a mix of historic and modern architecture. Every Friday, a book market is held, offering a wide range of new and second-hand books. The square is also home to the American Book Center and the Athenaeum Bookstore, both of which are beloved by book lovers.

4. Rijksmuseum

  • Location: Museumstraat 1.
  • Significance: The Dutch national museum with a vast collection of art and historical artifacts.
  • Interesting Fact: Opened in 1885, it houses masterpieces like Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and offers a comprehensive overview of Dutch art and history.
  • More Info: The Rijksmuseum’s collection spans over 800 years of Dutch and global history, with works from renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. The museum also features a beautifully landscaped garden, sculptures, and temporary exhibitions.

5. Museumplein

  • Location: Between the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum.
  • Significance: A cultural hub with major museums and the Royal Concertgebouw.
  • Interesting Fact: Developed in the late 19th century, it features expansive lawns and is a popular spot for events and picnics.
  • More Info: Museumplein is the epicenter of Amsterdam's cultural district, hosting some of the world’s most prestigious museums. The open space is often used for festivals, markets, and public gatherings. The Royal Concertgebouw, known for its exceptional acoustics, hosts numerous classical music concerts throughout the year.

    In-Depth Art and Culture Historical Facts

Dam Square

  • History: Dam Square has been the focal point of Amsterdam since the 13th century. Initially a dam built on the Amstel River to control flooding, it quickly became the city's main marketplace. The square has witnessed numerous historical events, from medieval trade fairs to modern political protests.
  • Architectural Evolution: The square is surrounded by notable buildings such as the Royal Palace, originally built as a city hall, and the Nieuwe Kerk, which has hosted royal ceremonies for centuries.

Amsterdam Museum

  • Construction and Design: The Amsterdam Museum is housed in a complex of historic buildings, including the former City Orphanage (Burgerweeshuis). The orphanage operated from 1580 to 1960, providing shelter and education to thousands of children. The museum's current exhibits are housed in a blend of original and modernized spaces.
  • Historical Exhibits: The museum's collection includes the famous "Gaper" figures, which were used as pharmacy signs, and the "Little Orphanage" exhibit, which recreates the daily life of orphans in the 17th century.

The Spui

  • Historical Significance: The Spui was originally part of Amsterdam’s medieval defenses, acting as a gateway to the city. Over time, it transformed into a lively square, becoming a cultural and intellectual hub. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it attracted artists, writers, and thinkers, contributing to Amsterdam’s rich cultural tapestry.
  • Cultural Spot: The square remains a vibrant area with cafes and bookshops, fostering a community atmosphere. The weekly book market and literary events make it a haven for bibliophiles.

Rijksmuseum

  • Construction and Design: Designed by Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum is a masterpiece of Dutch Gothic Revival architecture. The building's grand facade and intricate interiors reflect the artistic heritage it houses.
  • Renovation: The museum underwent a ten-year renovation, completed in 2013, which restored many original features and modernized the facilities. This extensive renovation was led by Spanish architects Cruz y Ortiz.
  • Collection Highlights: The museum's collection includes over 8,000 objects of art and history. Highlights include Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid,” and an extensive collection of Asian art.

Museumplein

  • Development: The Museumplein was developed as part of Amsterdam’s urban expansion in the late 19th century. The area was designed to be a cultural and recreational space, surrounded by the city’s most important museums.
  • Cultural Institutions: The Van Gogh Museum, which opened in 1973, houses the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh's paintings and drawings. The Stedelijk Museum, founded in 1895, focuses on modern and contemporary art, featuring works by artists like Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich.
  • Public Space: The expansive lawns of Museumplein are used for various public events, including concerts, art installations, and sports activities. The square is also home to the iconic “I Amsterdam” sign, a popular photo spot for tourists.


Enjoy Your Art and Culture Walk in Amsterdam!

This detailed guide will help you lead an engaging and informative tour through Amsterdam’s art and culture highlights. For more details and reservations, visit FreeWalkingTourAmsterdam.eu.