8 Extraordinary Pieces to See at the Van Gogh Museum

Our last stop in Amsterdam before catching the train back to London was the Van Gogh Museum. You’d think by our fifth day in Amsterdam, we would have learned that when you are visiting one of the top tourist destinations in the city, you need to get there early and/or purchase your tickets online. Instead, we took our time packing up, checking out of the hotel, and grabbing breakfast. By the time we got to the museum, it was after 11am. The line was long, but we were hopeful that it would move fast and we’d have a decent amount of time to spend inside before we had to make our way to the train station.

A half hour passed and it felt like we’d barely moved. The Van Gogh Museum is just as popular as the Rijksmuseum, but it’s not even close to as large. To let more visitors in, museum staff have to wait for others to leave. I kept checking the clock, afraid that by the time we made it to the front, we’d have to turn around and leave. Even the line for people who purchased their tickets beforehand was moving slowly. It took almost two hours, but we finally made it in!

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum is made up of four floors and an extra wing that was temporarily closed when we visited. Each floor has a unique focus, including the current exhibition running through the 12th of January, Van Gogh At Work, found on both the ground floor and the third floor. There is a massive amount of art to see here – over 200 pieces by Van Gogh alone! But you’ll also find many pieces from Van Gogh’s peers as well. You really need at least two hours to see it all, including the special film on Van Gogh that runs in the extension off of the museum shop.

As I was thinking about the best way to describe our visit to the museum, I realized there was no better way than to simply share some of my favorite pieces on display. If you’re visiting the Van Gogh Museum, you absolutely don’t want to miss these! (I have applied minimal editing to the photos below. Seeing such great works of art on a computer screen hardly does them justice, but it’s better than nothing, right?)

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

The Harvest, 1888

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

The Bedroom, 1888

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

Pollard Willow, 1882

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

Worn Out, 1882

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

Boulevard de Clichy, 1887

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

Old Vineyard with Peasant Woman, 1890

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

Head of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette, 1886

8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

Tree Roots, 1890

Tree Roots is generally acknowledged as being Van Gogh’s very last work. He did not complete it before he died. The top is almost finished, but the lower half was left incomplete.

There are so many more pieces I could share, but to keep the amount of pictures in this post from getting out of hand, I’ll stop with these. I was very happy to discover that cameras are allowed in the museum, although photos of some works are not allowed even with the flash turned off. (Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers still life was one of those, unfortunately.)

So much to see, so much to admire, so much to learn. There is certainly a lot more to Vincent van Gogh than “the guy who cut his ear off”! Contrary to popular belief, Van Gogh was not born with artistic talent. He had to attend art school, study, and learn from others to cultivate his talent. By experimenting with different painting techniques, he developed his own distinctive swirling brushstroke seen in many of his most famous works. Color was of utmost importance in his paintings because it was his form of personal expression. Van Gogh’s paintings are among the most expensive ever sold, rivaling those of Pablo Picasso. A few have sold for upwards of $100 million! He certainly had his share of troubles, but instead of letting them hold him back, he used them as fuel to create hundreds of truly magnificent works of art.

The Van Gogh Museum is open every day. The entrance fee for adults is €15, but children are free.

Sidenote: If you’re looking for Starry Night, arguably Van Gogh’s most famous painting, you won’t find it here. It is displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Van Gogh Museum: Website
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam

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8 Extraordinary Pieces To See At The Van Gogh Museum In Amsterdam

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  • Janette Johanson
    September 24, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Very cool ( by the way, why does your commenting block look different?

    You know– I think I would appreciate and love to see the museum but I’ve never been a big fan of his art! SHOCK, right!? Its like someone saying they don’t care for chocolate! I am amazed at the fact that he was not a born artist which gives me hope :) hah. I am quite the fan of seeing the art inside of the Sistine Chapel, now that is incredible– have you been to Italy yet? When are you going? I like paintings with Boats…and I’m terrified of the water– but LOVE the peaceful appeal.

  • Miwa
    September 23, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    What a beautiful post! I’ve got to admit, I don’t know much about Van Gogh, but I do love Starry Night and Wheatfield with Cypresses. Interesting to know that he worked so hard to build his artistic skills. And lovely photos, as always :)

  • Heather
    September 23, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos! Van Gogh is my all time favorite artist.

  • Ashlee - I'll Love You Forever
    September 22, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Beautiful artwork! Even though you had to wait for a long period of time I am glad that you were able to get in! Love reading your posts, amazing. xo

  • Tammy Chrzan
    September 22, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    OH and I just wanted to tell you, I have never seen the skeleton piece!

    See… you educated me :)

  • Tammy Chrzan
    September 22, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    I read this post when I was in class and I didn’t have the time to comment until now. Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists, I was just looking at a “Signals” catalog and they have Van Gogh bracelets with his paintings on them, I was thinking about getting a couple because they support Public Television here in the States and they are just awesome! I would have waited a long time for this exhibition as well. I was wondering…. Have you seen the episode of Doctor Who where he goes back in time and discovers what was really bothering Van Gogh? And then he takes Van Gogh back to the future for a brief moment to show him what his art did for the World… it’s a great episode and even if you’re not a fan, it’s worth watching just to see Van Gogh at peace!!!

    I loved this post so much it has inspired me to pick up my art again… I mentioned this post on my blog, it’s amazing!

  • Diana Hoyos
    September 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Hi Sara, such an interesting article and great pics, I love Van Gogh, he is one of my favorite artists.

    Keep well :)

  • Nicole
    September 21, 2013 at 3:26 AM

    WOW…just WOW. That place is beautiful!

  • Quyen Nguyen
    September 21, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    Great pictures! I’m surprised they let you take pictures of the art. I have to admit something mildly embarrassing, I didn’t visit the Van Gogh Museum while I was in Amsterdam. It wasn’t because I didn’t have time, but because I was a student and I didn’t have money. I chose good food over art. I think about that all the time and laugh about it. Thankfully, during my year abroad in Spain, there were many moving exhibits of Van Gogh, and I was able to see my fair share. :)

  • Katrin
    September 21, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    I love the van Gogh museum! I am sorry you had to wait so long though! When I was there it wasn’t that busy. I don’t think we had to wait at all. I think we spent 4 hours there, everything was so fascinating! Thanks for sharing the great pictures!

  • Keith Wynn
    September 20, 2013 at 11:29 PM

    I love ‘The Harvest’. What a beautiful work. I would absolutely love to visit here someday.