7 MUST-CHECK-OUT places with Museumkaart in hand

If you are a museum lover, the Netherlands has a great deal for you – the Museumkaart.

Posted by Jane Hang Hoang - Student Ambassador - The Hague UAS at Nov 29, 2018 12:00 PM

I remember when I first arrived here in the Netherlands, there were so many things came as a shock to me. One of those things is the Museumkaart (Museum Pass), which allows me to get unlimited access to about 400 museums in the Netherlands. Moreover, I derive pleasure out of castles and I can check those out with the Museumkaart as well. I was 18 when I bought my Museumkaart so the price was only for €32.45. Now I no longer have my Museumkaart and it was such a pity that I did not make use of it that much. Yet, of all the places I have checked out with my Museumkaart, there are 6 places I definitely recommend you to pay a visit.

1. De Haar Castle, Utrecht

De Haar Castle in Utrecht is said to be the biggest and the most luxurious castle in the Netherlands. The beauty of the surroundings adds sentimental value to the castle. Surrounded by serpentine lakes and rolling meadows, De Haar Castle can be associated with a spider in a web. Planted avenues and artful pathways wind their way across the park and garden. The labyrinth, the romantic bridges and the picnic area offer an exotic destination.

Kasteel de Haar

2. Museum Prinsenhof, DelftPrinsenhof

I would highly recommend you to check out the Prinsehof Museum in Delft. It is a must if you are interested in the history of the Netherlands and want to get more insights into the Netherlands royal family. Especially, this is the place where William van Oranje lived and was assassinated. William van Oranje is an ancestor of King Willem-Alexander. Many Dutch people consider him to be the Father of the Nation because he was the leader of the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule in the 16th century.

3. Prison Gate Museum, The Hague (Museum de Gevangenpoort)

The highlight of the museum is the bullet holes from the assassination of the king, which cannot be seen in a normal museum. The bullet holes can be seen on the wall and the clever use of shadows from projectors even brings history to life.

Binnenhof – a highlight of the city of justice and peace, is a castle built in the early 13th century by the count of Holland Floris IV. This was the permanent residence of the counts of Holland. Later, the Prison Gate was added as one of the three entries to the terrain. It became a gaol to accommodate prisoners while waiting for trial and sentence. The museum exhibits the instruments which were used for punishment and torture in the Netherlands.

Gevangenpoort -1

With the Museum Pass, you can also follow a guided tour to see the interrogation room, torture chamber. As an international visitor, I was given an audio guide while following the Dutch tour guide. The downside was that I felt a little bit excluded since the narrative in English is not as much as what the guide was telling in Dutch.

Gevangenpoort 2

The guide told a fascinating story of the most famous prisoner Cornelis de Witt who was on the charge of plotting the murder of the stadholder while we were visiting his private cell in the attic. He was lynched together with his brother Johan on the square in front of the building of Gevangenpoort.

4. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum is the Netherlands’ national museum which covers everything from artworks, antiques to history and culture of the Dutch. This place blew my mind away even though I’m not really a person for art. From my experience, I think you should spend a whole day in this museum to be able to browse through all the masterpieces. Many iconic paintings from famous artists namely Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh are packed into this gorgeous place. In particular, you can prepare yourself to be overwhelmed by the Gallery of Honour, where most of the stunning art pieces from Rembrandt are exhibited, including his most famous painting – The Night Watch. For some of the big paintings like that, the museum also provides leaflets in which they give the explanation for different parts of the paintings. 


5. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh museumThe museum is classic but brilliant, honouring one of the most famous artists of all time – Van Gogh. Make your way around the museum and you will walk in the timeline of Vincent’s stunning paintings and his life as an artist. Everyone can know him by name and his famous artworks but the museum offers considerable insight about this man and what he was trying to portray with his art. And if you don’t know anything about him, you can later go home with a sense of Van Gogh’s inspirations and his extraordinary techniques lay in his art. 

6. Mauritshuis, The Hague

The Mauritshuis is a small gallery museum which is home to a large collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings. The museum would certainly not disappoint you with great work of arts from Dutch Old Masters. The highlight of the museum is definitely the “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, which is also known as “Dutch Mona Lisa”. Equally important, the “Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp” of Rembrandt is also displayed here. If you feel overwhelmed by crowded places like Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum, you will find it really manageable here while you enjoy the art.


7. National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden (Museum Volkenkunde)

The ethnological museum has several rooms with art and objects from various cultures. It is quite an experience to learn about different cultures, religions and beliefs. Moreover, you can find isolated corners which tell about unexplored and quirky topics. For me, I was quite fascinated by the Day of the Dead in Mexico. I learnt that on this day, food and drinks are offered on festive altars. People believe that the souls of the deceased return to earth temporarily in order to visit their families. The streets during the festival are filled with papier-mâché skeletons and colourful costumes.

Museum Volkenkunde

Posted by Jane Hang Hoang - Student Ambassador - The Hague UAS at Nov 29, 2018 12:00 PM