Must-See Art Tips - Amsterdam
A weekend trip to Amsterdam is high on most people's wish list. As far as European capitals go, the dynamic and cosy Dutch capital has a unique blend of sin and sophistication. You may have strolled the canals, indulged in Dutch pancakes, or visited a coffee shop, but have you experienced what the Amsterdam art world has to offer? In every district, from the up-and-coming East to the fashionable South, there’s an art gem waiting to be discovered. They don’t call it the Venice of the North for nothing!
- Museumstraat 1
Located in the heart of Amsterdam, on the Museum Square, the beautifully renovated Rijksmuseum is a true must-see for every Art Fixer. Even if you only have a little time, take a moment to walk through the Gallery of Honour to see some of our world-class Dutch painters. “Operation Nightwatch”, the research and conservation of the world’s most famous painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, can be seen here “In Real Life”. A fun fact to prep you for your trip: the title of “The Night Watch” was not decided by the artist himself, and is actually incorrect! The painting is not a night scene at all, but in fact shows a day scene. So why does it appear so nightly? At the end of the 18th century, the painting gathered significant dirt and varnish, seriously darkening the canvas. Other masterpieces in the Gallery of Honour include works by Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. Head upstairs for more modern works.
In the Philips wing, you can find the permanent installation “Shylight” by Art Fix-favourite light artists Studio Drift. Intrigued? Get a taste of Studio Drift work here. Finally, don’t miss the historical geometrical Baroque gardens where you will find a water pavilion called ‘Hide and See(k)” by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Absolutely worth the surprise!
Tip: Always take an audio guide to make the artworks more digestible. If your visit to the Rijksmuseum has left you hungry and you’re looking for an unforgettable meal, book lunch or dinner at the Michelin star restaurant Rijks in the Philips Wing adjacent to the garden. For a taste of this restaurant, check out the Rijks dinner playlist here.
Nam June Paik – The Future is Now
- Until 23 August
- Museumplein 10
If you’re passing Museum Square and you’re in the mood for something more contemporary, head over to the “Stedelijk”. A museum for modern and contemporary art with a cherry on top: the expansion to the museum includes an annex by the Dutch architect Mels Crouwel that resembles an enormous bathtub. We highly recommend the Nam June Paik (1932, Korea-VS, 2006) retrospective. This artist’s experimental, innovative and playful work has been a big influence on art today. A pioneer in using TV and video, Paik seemed to have predicted the future of communication in the internet age, which is beautifully portrayed in the exhibition. The three camera participation from 1969 is an absolute-must (remember: this was made 50 years ago, pre-iPhones and the 4G age)!
Tip : Take a quick detour to see Barbara Kruger’s great installation in the new building.
- Honthorststraat 20 (Museumplein)
You thought we were done with Museum Square, but not so fast! Next-door to the famous Van Gogh Museum, a landmark and the most visited museum of The Netherlands, you’ll find Moco: a boutique Museum filled with street art, the topic of our first episode. Great fun for younger audiences and family day-trips: the rockstars of the street art scene are all on show here! Think Banksy, KAWS, Daniel Arsham and, of course, JR.
Michael Raedecker – Demo
- Until 11 July
- Van Baerlestraat 80
The new space of this international gallery is located just across the street from the Stedelijk at the Van Baerlestraat. Never a dull exhibition, Grimm is now showcasing Michael Raedecker, an established Dutch artist showing his series of small-scale paintings, “artist studies” using embroidery, inkjet and acrylics. Beautiful landscapes and still lifes!
Tip: After this exhibition, Grimm is launching its first solo show by artist Arturo Kameya, titled Grandma’s Cooking Recipes, opening on 17 July.
Helen Beard – The Desire Path
- Until 30 September
- Weteringschans 79 A
This bright, dynamic and definitely voyeuristic and erotic exhibition at the Reflex gallery is worth a stop. Beard shows female desire and explicit sex scenes from a female point of view. We love this feministic lens and the empowering sensation that the art encourages. Avoid this exhibition if you “air on the side of prude”.
Vivian Maier – Works in Color
- Until 13 September
- Keizersgracht 609
Catch Vivian Maier at Foam, Amsterdam’s famous photography museum. Sadly, this American photographer’s work got discovered and recognized only after her death. During her life, most of the work was kept very private, which echoed Vivian Maier’s personal situation, which consisted of working as a nanny and never seeing the light of day. In 2007, just two years before her death, most of her negatives were auctioned off and got into the hands of a historian and collector, who recognised the quality in her photos immediately. Once the work – street photography of the 60s and 70s – were published online, there was no going back to the old, private version of Maier. Maier had a knack for moving inconspicuously through the streets of Chicago in a Mary Poppins-like manner, which is reflective in her work. Her pictures are utterly characteristic and revealing, with a great eye for detail and composition. She seems to have captured the unseen: both comical and everyday street scenes.
Tip: If you’re feeling like a little walk, head north towards Mendo, a heavenly spot for book aficionados with its flagship store located in the Hotel De L’Europe. Continue the journey to Marie, the hotel brasserie and the terrace, which have both recently been revamped to suit the taste of the modern Amsterdammer.
Vivianne Sassen – Venus & Mercury
- Until 30 August
- Keizersgracht 401
Known for her innovative fashion campaigns with brands like Louis Vuitton, Adidas, and Stella McCartney, Vivianne Sassen is now exhibiting her photographic work in the heart of Amsterdam at Huis Marseille. Numerous fascinating stories lie behind the exhibition “Venus & Mercury” in Huis Marseille. Venus refers to lust and love; Mercury to quicksilver, something that changes rapidly. Many were inspired by the lives of Marie-Antoinette, royal mistresses, poisoners and fortunes tellers, as well as by the erotic and medical histories that surrounded the French royal court in the 17th and 18th century. Sassen leaves no stone unturned in the artistic narration of this era. Each gallery tells a separate story, together forming a sequence of remarkable histories, with accompanying poetic texts by Marjolijn van Heemstra, some of which are recited by Tilda Swinton in a hypnotic video installation made at the actual palace of Versailles.
Tip: Feeling inspired by the adventures of Marie-Antoinette? Take a 10-minute stroll towards the Spuistraat, where you’ll find Italian staple Cecconi’s located in the entrance of Soho House. Grab a seat at the bar and re-energize for your new art stop with a Picante de la Casa or an Eastern Standard.
Group Show – Changez! Art Brussels in Amsterdam
- Until 1 August
- Prinsengracht 282
Tucked away in the canals in the trendy Jordaan area, this gallery hosts an extremely impressive selection of artists, including Hans op de Beeck, Levi van Veluw, Muntean Rosenblum and Anthony Goicolea.
Tip: Ask the (very attentive!) gallery staff to tell you more about these works as they are very happy to share and full of enthusiasm. This will enrich your visitor experience.
ANNET GELINK GALLERY
Robby Müller – Like Sunlight Coming Through the Clouds
- Until 22 August
- Laurierstraat 187-189
Take a break from the skies you see on Instagram Stories and check out Robby Müller at Annet Gelink. “Like Sunlight Coming Through the Clouds” displays Müller’s keen eye for capturing beauty and light in the most unlikely of places. Renowned as a pioneering cinematographer for his collaborations with Wim Wenders, Steve McQueen and Lars von Trier, Müller also built up an extensive archive of Polaroid images. He has a preference for shooting at twilight – the “blue hour” at which natural and artificial light meet.
GALERIE FONS WELTERS
Folkert de Jong – The Shooting at Watou
- Until 29 August
- Bloemstraat 140
For any history buffs, don’t skip this incredible installation recalling the 80 years’ war between Netherlands and Spain. Also a great Instagram opportunity for those looking to keep their followers happy!
- Until 11 July
In just two years, Berend Strik has produced almost four hundred drawings. These works act as almost a daily report, without being a literal record of what the artist experienced on a specific date. “I wake up, brush my teeth, have a coffee and make a drawing. It is a quest into my creativity,” Berend told the Art Fix team.
Tip: Move fast, because Evelyn Taocheng Wang’s art will replace Berend Strik’s work starting July 17th.
Adrián Villar Rojas – Poems for Earthlings
- Until 19 August
- Oudekerksplein 23
If you’re looking for a real experience, then head over to the Oude Kerk in the center of the city. And staying true to a church’s otherworldly nature, this exhibition will blow your mind. The church is filled with sandbags as if to protect the monument against the violence of a World War. Candles burning everywhere. “Poems for Earthlings” is an extensive site-specific installation by the Argentine artist Adrián Villar Rojas (Rosario, 1980). The work is inspired by the way in which heritage is protected in times of war. It includes an eight-hour soundscape with sounds from the history of the world: from whales, to dying languages, to the soft hum of computers rebooting.
Tip: If you’re feeling like a little walk after Rojas’ intense experience, take a 5 minute stroll towards the Singel canal where you’ll find X Bank, Amsterdam’s coolest concept store. Here you can satisfy your shopping cravings but also check out a selection of carefully curated artworks.
Last but not least, an Art Fix challenge to end your journey: we dare you to find the small sculpture titled “Boomzagertje” (Dutch for tree sawyer). Placed by an anonymous artist in 1989 and located on a tree in Leidsebosje’ (near Leidseplein), see if you can find it and DM it to @artfix.
MORE PLACES TO EAT/DRINK
For a wholesome start to the day, head over to The Cottage in Amsterdam East. A relaxed atmosphere and legendary coffee, this hearty brunch will give you the energy for a full day of art. Don’t forget to save room for dessert.
Situated in Amsterdam East, this local coffee spot is a must-see for any coffee lovers. And why not indulge in one of their legendary cinnamon buns to start your day off right?
The Grand Beach
The heat is on and the terrace game of the Amsterdam hospitality industry is going strong! This is why Hotel The Grand opened The Grand Beach – to bring a little bit of the Côte Azur to Amsterdam. Perfect for a hot balmy day when you can’t escape the city.
Located in the heart of De Pijp, this wine bar is the perfect place to unwind after an afternoon of gallery hopping. It specializes in wines made solely from grapes — meaning there are no additives — so you minimize the potential of a hangover. This may make day two of visiting Amsterdam art even better!
This hotspot for shared dining and drinks is our favorite hangout in Amsterdam East. Enjoy your beer and a Latin American bite on the large and heated terrace.
A wonderful dinner spot for locals and dwellers alike! This brasserie is family-owned and you can feel it in the air — grab a French wine or an espresso martini, and you’re set for the night! Make sure to book in advance.
Ron Gastrobar Oriental Amsterdam
Asian food with a great ambience? Look no further than Ron Gastrobar Oriental. With dishes from €15 and an relaxed atmosphere, Ron Gastrobar Oriental is the best place for Asian dishes in Amsterdam. Best for satisfying your Asian cravings after a day out on the town.
You can’t really go miss with Italian food, but La Fiorita does everything just SO right. Maroon leather banquettes and mouth-watering pastas, this is the Italian to hit up for an authentic Italian atmosphere that is rare to find outside of Italy.
If you’re looking for a romantic quirky restaurant to indulge in some local produce, this place is for you. Situated in the Jordaan, near many of the above galleries, it’s a perfect spot for dinner à deux. Do note the 3-course chef’s menu.
Restaurant Coulisse is located in what used to be the lobby of a theater. Chef Tim van der Molen previously cooked at Noma (yes, the best restaurant in the world) and maître d’ Simon Witmaar was taught by Michelin chef Sergio Herman. Extremely impressive for what they humbly call “easy fine dining”! Perfect for a delicious dinner after a whole day of art.
AND IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO STAY…
Located in the former Mayor’s home, this canal-side gem offers a sophisticated spot to drop your bags for your art trip. A cool vintage vibe meets 2020 comfort. And it’s not just the rooms: the lobby is filled with comfy armchairs and laser-fast wifi, perfect for planning your day of art in the capital.
Bed en Buffet
Looking for more of a bed and breakfast vibe? Look no further than the cosy Bed en Buffet, opened by the owners of the lovely brasserie Buffet van Odette. An airy and one-of-a-kind location that is perfect for an art traveller looking for a curated and unique Amsterdam stay.
One of the most beautifully designed hotels in Amsterdam, the Conservatorium is on the site formerly occupied by the city’s Sweelinck Music Conservatorium. Located at the Museum Square the museums are literally at your doorstep. From Wednesday 22nd July, the Conservatorium will reopen.
Hilton Hotel – Room 702
Are you a Beatles fan? Remember the 1969 legendary “bed-in” of Yoko Ono and John Lennon in Amsterdam? Let us enlighten you: during their honeymoon, Yoko Ono and John Lennon arrived at the Dutch Hotel in a white Rolls Royce, emptied all furniture from their hotel room (save for the bed!), and invited in the world’s press for 12 hours a day to record their “bed” protest against the Vietnam War. The peace protest lasted one whole week and made a huge impact. The JOHN AND YOKO SUITE may be just the place for your romantic weekend in Amsterdam!
Amsterdam is an open en relaxed city, but don’t forget to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres. In Amsterdam the only place you are required to wear a non-medical face mask is in public transport. Museums are all open, but there will be fewer people in the spaces at one time. All visitors are required to reserve a timeslot, which can be booked online.
To get around we suggest you walk or rent a bike. Enjoy!