Top Amsterdam Attractions to See in 2013

The reopening of the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum, and special anniversaries for Frans Hals, Amsterdam canals, Artis Zoo, Felix Meritis, the Concertgebouw and special Dutch-Russian events are cultural highlights on offer in Amsterdam in 2013.

Rijksmuseum Seen in the Evening from Museumplein in Amsterdam
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – Photo: Johan Lewis Marshall / De Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam is an attractive destination and interesting city to visit at any time but the Dutch tourist office – Visit Holland – has identify eight reasons why Amsterdam is even more special in 2013. The cultural highlight of 2013 in Amsterdam will undoubtedly be the reopening of the Rijksmuseum. The nearby Van Gogh Museum will also reopen after a smaller refit. The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem is celebrating its first century while the famous grachten (canals) of Amsterdam are four centuries old. The Concertgebouw (Concert Hall) is 125, the Artis zoo 175, and the Felix Meritis 225 years old this year. 2013 will also see special Dutch-Russian event celebrating the links started in with the visit of Czar Peter the Great.

Reopening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

De Nacthwacht / The Night Watch Painting by Rembrandt
De Nachtwacht – Photo NBTC

The cultural highlight of 2013 in Amsterdam will no doubt be the reopening of the Rijksmuseum after almost a decade of reconstruction work. The Rijksmuseum is one of the major art galleries of the world and the best place to see Dutch old masters. The most famous painting in the museum is Rembrandt’s Night Watch but a further 8,000 to 10,000 works are on display.

The Rijksmuseum is due to reopen mid-April 2013. Annual visitor numbers are expected to increase to two million, which will be helped by long opening hours and the convenience of the Rijksmuseum being open 365 days per year – including Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Reopening of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The nearby Van Gogh Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam. After a seven months’ closure, the museum will reopen on May 1, 2013.

2013 is a special year for the museum: the Van Gogh Museum will turn 40 and it will also be the 160th birthday of Vincent van Gogh. To celebrate, a special temporary exhibition will be held on Van Gogh at Work (“Van Gogh aan het werk”).

A Century of the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem

The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, which is only 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam, is celebrating its centenary in 2013. Two jubilee exhibitions in 2013 will make visiting the museum (and Haarlem) even more special: “Frans Hals – eye to eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian” and “Frans Hals – the mystery behind the master painter”.

125 Years of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw

Holland has a very strong music playing tradition, which helps to make the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest one of the highest regarded in the world. In 2013, its home, the Concertgebouw – literally the concert building – turns 125. To celebrate, the orchestra will visit 40 cities on six continents but will of course also play at home in one of the concert venues with the best acoustics in the world.

225 Years of the Felix Meritis in Amsterdam

The Felix Meritis were founded in 1788 in Amsterdam to promote art and culture. It took a break of hundred years but for the past 25 years, the society has again been active.

In 2013, apart from special lectures, exhibitions, and events, the original observatory will be open to the public for the first time in two centuries. Special art works in the Amsterdam of Above / Amsterdam of Below project will only be visible from this observatory.

175 Years of the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam

The Artis Dierentuin is the oldest and most famous zoological garden in Holland. The zoo is in the heart of Amsterdam and thus also the oldest park in the city.

The Artis will have special events and exhibitions. However, the most visible will be the planting of 17,500 flower bulbs. It won’t be Keukenhof but it should still be a very colorful spring.

400 Year of Amsterdam Canals

Amsterdam’s famous canal circle is celebrating four centuries. Expect even more festivals and events on and next to the canals than usual. Two of the largest annual festivals are Queen’s Day (Koninginen Dag) on April 30 and Gay Pride in early August. One-hour canal cruises are very popular in Amsterdam any time of the day or year.

Dutch-Russia Year in Zaanse Schans

Holland and Russia have enjoyed strong trade ties since the Golden Age. Czar Peter the Great famously stayed in The Netherlands at the end of the seventeenth century and was so impressed with the Amsterdam canal system that he decided on building St Petersburg.

2013 will be a special Dutch-Russia year with special events and exhibitions. The Amsterdam Hermitage – the only European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum – will have special events and exhibitions.
Zaanse Schans, which was the first industrial region in the world, still have working windmills. Czar Peter stayed here to learn shipbuilding. His former lodgings – known as Czar Peter’s House (Czaar Peterhuisje) – can be seen in the open-air museum area. Special Russian exhibitions and cultural events will be held in the Zaanse Schans open-air museum and nearby Zaandam.

Zaanse Schans is an easy half-day trip from Amsterdam and the best place to see historic working windmills near Amsterdam.