Thursday, June 20, 2013

Discovering Amsterdam's Artwork

Europe is a haven for art lovers. From London to Paris, Prague to Stockholm, the continent is home to some of the most inspiring destinations for artists in the world.

The Dutch capital, Amsterdam, is no exception. The streets of the city are dotted with some of the finest art galleries in Europe, as this map below aptly demonstrates. Feel free to explore by zooming in and clicking the interactive pointers.

View Amsterdam Art in a larger map

Arriving and Staying in Amsterdam

Home to one of the busiest airports in Europe, Amsterdam is one of the most accessible cities in the world. Schiphol Airport is only 6 miles away, and hundreds of flights to Amsterdam  land there every single day.

Schiphol is also a great destination for art lovers on their way home, as one of Amsterdam’s biggest museums Rijksmuseum has a small spin off exhibition in the airport.  Located after passport control, the attraction is free of charge and a great opportunity to get your final art fix before you leave.

Schiphol airport is only a 20 minute train ride from the city centre, so you can get stuck right into the action shortly after you land. If you are really keen on immersing yourself in Amsterdam’s many galleries, try booking a room near Museumplien, which is home to the city’s most iconic museums such as Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum. Alternatively, look for accommodation slightly further north in the city centre to be closer to some of the more off-beat, contemporary galleries.

Exploring Amsterdam’s Galleries

If you haven’t been in Amsterdam before, you should probably start in Museumplien. The hint is in the name, literally meaning “museum square”, because it has some of the biggest museums in the city. If you were to choose one museum in this area, visit Stedelijk. Recently reopened after quite a substantial renovation, it is one of the most important exhibition spaces for modern art in The Netherlands today, and where you will find some of the most popular contemporary pieces in Amsterdam.

After you have endured the crowds at Museumplien, head north towards the city centre and experience some of the smaller, but equally inspiring, galleries. On the Hazenstraat is the Witzenhausen Gallery, which hosts a wide selection of contemporary pieces that deal with a variety of issues such as relationships, love and society. With a sister exhibition space in New York, it is an international institution that hosts a lot of interesting pieces from artists all over the world.

A five minutes’ walk away is the Galerie Fons Welters on the Bloenstraat, which showcases work from more up and coming artists in Amsterdam. The front part of the gallery hosts a space called “Playstation”, which gives younger artists the opportunity to showcase their work. It’s a worthwhile stop for anyone who likes to keep their eyes open for new talent.

Whatever your taste in art, Amsterdam will have a gallery for you. Feel free to explore the map, but it really only scratches the top of the surface. There are many more exhibition spaces in the city, the best of which you are more likely to find by simply exploring the streets and seeing what you stumble upon. You never know what you might discover!