The birthplace of some of the world’s most legendary artists, Holland remains a hotbed of culture – with many of its best museums found in the bustling capital of Amsterdam.
With its heady mix of hedonism and culture, Amsterdam has long been one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting everyone from stag parties to loved-up couples If you’re visiting the city this Autumn and would like to visit some of its acclaimed cultural institutions during your stay, we’ve picked out some of the best museum exhibitions running throughout the upcoming months.
Love Stories: Art, passion & Tragedy
Featuring more than a hundred portraits about love, passion and tragedy, this exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery in London is now on display in Amsterdam. Together they paint a moving picture of how love and desire have influenced portraiture throughout the ages – from the late 16th century to the present. At its core are a series of real-life love stories about love in all its forms; from romantic love to an artist’s obsession. The Amsterdam exhibition has also been enriched with a selection of Dutch portraits.
Hermitage Amsterdam / Through 8 January 2023
Fré Cohen: form and ideals of the Amsterdam School
Dutch artist and graphic designer Fré Cohen rose to prominence at a time when her industry was still dominated by men. In particular, she was of great importance to the Amsterdam School – a style of architecture that arose in the Netherlands in the early 20th century – designing graphic printwork for the city of Amsterdam and for various socialist movements. Her Jewish origins were also in keeping with the story of the Amsterdam School, which had an important basis in the Jewish proletariat, including the diamond working movement. Indeed, her tragic story, resulting in her death in the Second World War, is largely the story of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam School. This exhibition offers a fascinating retrospective on Cohen, focussing on her social ideals, her feminist views and her Jewish inspiration.
Het Schip / Through 30 October 2022
Things That Matter
This exhibition explores the important things, and the importance of things, though objects carrying a huge personal significance, interwoven with the key social issues of today, like migration and heritage. The items on display serve as inspiration for visitors to share their personal stories, while notable individuals have also contributed to the exhibition – among them the Dutch presenter and actor with Surinamese roots Jörgen Raymann, who reflects on the mix of different religions in his family; and activist Kathy Jetril-Kijner, who shares her worries about rising sea levels and how this impacts her community and culture.
Tropenmuseum / Permanent
Anne Imhof – YOUTH
German visual artist Anne Imhof is recognised as the artistic voice of a new generation. Her work is disorienting, and an unfailing memorable phenomenon by shapeshifting all genre boundaries. This Autumn, in her first solo show in the Netherlands, Imhof has been invited to take over the Stedelijk museum’s lower-level gallery. Combining art, architecture, light, and a sound composed especially for the occasion, she’s transformed the space into a labyrinthine-like installation that engages the senses of all who see it.
Stedelijk Museum / 1 October 2022 – 29 January 2023
The Rijksmuseum is teeming with more than a thousand colourful butterflies, hairy spiders and glistening toads, depicted in paintings, sculptures, books and preserved specimens that reflect the ever-changing perceptions of crawly creatures in the arts and sciences. This exhibition takes a look at these shifting perceptions, with highlights including the first drawing that took an insect as its main subject, made in 1505, and Peter Paul Rubens’ Head of Medusa (1617-18). Visitors can also discover how this emerging appreciation for crawly creatures gave rise to a new painting genre known as sottobosco, meaning ‘forest flora and fauna’, through a series of paintings.
Rijksmuseum / Through 15 January 2023
The Gasworks: Van Eeden & Van Gogh
The places where Vincent van Gogh lived and worked have captured the imagination of many artists including Marcel van Eeden. Inspired by Van Gogh’s Gasworks (1882), an unconventional and somewhat ominous drawing of the now-demolished gasworks factory from the series of twelve cityscapes that Van Gogh made of The Hague, this exhibition features six large charcoal drawings on canvas and a photo reportage, consisting of 27 black-and-white photos. In addition, it also includes archival material from March 1882 compiled by himself – ranging from newspaper articles to documents about the factory.
Van Gogh Museum / Through 11 December 2023
When you build a house, there’s a lot to think about. The construction needs to be sturdy, you need enough space to build and you have to be able to live there comfortably. Designed for the whole family, this immersive and interactive exhibition is all about building and the homes we live in. Visitors can discover what kind of technology is hidden in the walls of your home, and get a glimpse into the future, where we can print concrete, make building materials from waste and let robots do the heavy lifting.
NEMO Science Museum / Through 30 October 2022
Fiona Tan – Mountains and Molehills
Acclaimed visual artist Fiona Tan is known for her video and film installations in which she explores memory, history, globalisation and the role of images. This exhibition is a journey through a selection of works from her oeuvre, in which the passing of time and the role of the landscape as a mental space are recurring themes. The exhibition focuses on three video installations – Gray Glass (2020), Inventory (2012), and her latest work Footsteps (2022) – all of which explore the connections between landscape, environment and humankind, as well as the relationships between image, maker and viewer.
Eye Film Museum / Through 8 January 2023
Stay Stoned: Madness, Cannabis & Tattoos
In the 1960s and 70s, cannabis firmly established itself as an integral part of the counterculture lifestyle – ideals revolving around peace, love, and happiness dovetailed perfectly with the mind-altering effects of cannabis consumption. It is no coincidence that in these years cannabis-themed tattoos also became a subcultural phenomenon. Through a unique collection of crowdsourced photographs and stories, this exhibition invites visitors to take a colourful and creative look at the intersection between tattoos and cannabis.
Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum / Through 26 February 2023
In the Middle Ages, the water in Amsterdam was so clean that people ate fish and brewed beer from it. As the city began to grow in the 16th century, the water became dirtier and it wasn’t until the introduction of Orange Locks and the Zeeburg pumping station at the end of the 19th century that the canals were kept properly clean and today it is even teeming with underwater life. This exhibition focuses on the evolution of water in Amsterdam’s canals. How did the quality of the water improve? How is it being managed? And what will happen to Amsterdam if, or when, the sea levels rise?
Museum of the Canals / Through 29 January 2023
Iris Hassid: A Place of Our Own
In 2014, Israeli photographer Iris Hassid began documenting the lives of four young women, who are both Palestinian and Israeli citizens, living and studying in Tel Aviv. Over the years she has photographed them while discovering more about their ambitions, friendships, families and political-social engagement. This exhibition showcases the fruit of her work, through photos and quotes that shine a light on the lives that these young women have lived since swapping their Arab towns and villages for the bright lights of Tel Aviv.
The Jewish Museum / Through 29 January 2023
Dutch Death Design
Dutch design is a household name worldwide. But how do Dutch designers respond to the subject of death and dying? When a death takes place, there’s often little time to plan and people revert to what they already know: urns, coffins, rituals. Featuring a total of 40 works, this exhibition showcases the innovation and creativity of young designers across all kinds of practices surrounding death, funerals and mourning – demonstrating how things can be done differently and providing a glimpse into the future of dealing with death in the Netherlands.
Museum Tot Zover / Through 30 April 2023