Located in the Amsterdam South neighborhood, the Van Gogh Museum is the most-visited museum in the Netherlands and one of the leading art museums in the world, showcasing the largest single collection of Vincent Van Gogh’s works.
Though Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Willem Van Gogh was ostracized during his lifetime for his mental illness and did not see commercial success, he has posthumously come to be considered one of the most influential painters in Western art history. Throughout his lifetime, Van Gogh created more than 2,100 works of art, including 860 oil paintings that depict landscape, still life, and portrait scenes and are characterized by the use of bold colors and expressive brushwork. Following his suicide at the age of 37 in 1890, Van Gogh’s work gained widespread acclaim throughout the 20th century, laying the foundation for much of the character and style of modern art and earning him a reputation as one of the quintessential tortured geniuses of the Western art world.
Following his death, Van Gogh’s works were transferred to the possession of his brother, Theo, and were soon passed to his sister-in-law Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger. Though Gogh-Bonger sold many of the artist’s works, she maintained a private collection, which was inherited in 1925 by her son and eventually loaned to the Stedelijk Museum. These pieces were transferred in 1962 to the care of the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation, and the following year, Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld was commissioned to design a permanent museum facility for the works. Following Rietveld’s death in 1964, the museum project was put on hold and not completed until 1973. The museum was renovated in 1998 by Dutch architect Martien van Goor, with assistance from Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, who added a custom exhibition wing to the facility. Further renovations were completed in 2012, during which time museum collections were showcased at the Hermitage Amsterdam. The museum has been the site of several high-profile art thefts, including the 1991 heist of the painting The Potato Eaters, considered to be the largest organized art theft in the country since World War II.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the Van Gogh Museum and is located in Amsterdam’s Amsterdam South neighborhood within Museum Square, near the Stedelijk Museum, the Concertgebouw, and the Rijksmuseum. The museum holds the largest collection of Van Gogh’s works housed anywhere in the world, along with a sizeable collection of works by the artist’s Dutch and European contemporaries. It is operated as a national Dutch museum under the supervision of the Museumvereniging Museum Association and is open daily, with the exception of major national holidays. As of 2017, the museum has received an average of 2.3 million annual visitors, making it the country’s most-visited national museum and the 23rd most-influential art museum in the world.
The museum is housed within two buildings, centered on the main Rietveld Building, which houses the museum’s permanent collection within four stories of exhibit areas and facilities. A gift shop and cafe are featured on the museum’s ground floor, along with a visitor introduction area. The building’s second floor showcases painting restorations and temporary exhibits, while the first and third floors house collections of Van Gogh’s work alongside the work of his Dutch and European contemporaries. Major temporary exhibitions are showcased at the three-story Kurokawa Wing, which is accessible from the main building via an underground tunnel.
The museum showcases the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world, featuring more than 200 painting and 400 drawings by the artist. Collection works are organized by the artist’s creative periods, with special collections showcasing his self-portraits, early works, and a collection of more than 700 letters. Notable works showcased in the collection include The Potato Eaters, The Yellow House, Avenue of Poplars in Autumn, Almond Blossoms, Sunflowers, and View of Paris From Vincent’s Room in the Rue Lepic. The collection also houses Sunset at Montmajour, which was unveiled in 2013 and was formerly believed to have been connected to another artist, making it the first new Van Gogh work discovered since 1928.
In addition to the main Van Gogh collection, a number of collections showcase works by Van Gogh’s peers within the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, including works by artists such as Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. A variety of rotating exhibits are also showcased, focusing on artists and subjects within 19th-century art history. Past rotating exhibits have included the Van Gogh and Japan exhibit, which examined the influence of Japanese printmaking on the artist’s work.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to standard visitor admission, group tours are available for small groups and organizations with 15 or more participants, including curriculum-incorporated field trips for primary and secondary school groups. Requests for group tours must be submitted at least two weeks in advance and can include supplemental classroom and online materials upon request. Audiocommunication headsets are also available for self-guided tour groups by request. Special events and programming offered throughout the year include children and family workshops, English-language lectures, exhibit-related symposiums, and Vincent on Friday events.
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands, Phone: +31-2-05-70-52-00