The large collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings is a major attraction of the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Hoge Veluwe Park in the Netherlands near the cities Apeldoorn and Arnhem – an easy day trip from Amsterdam.
The Kröller-Müller Museum is one of the most popular museums in the Netherlands. It famously owns the second largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings and drawings in the world but is also visited for its huge sculpture garden and a vast collection of mostly 19th and 20th-century art. The Kröller-Müller Museum is inside the Hoge Veluwe National Park near Arnhem and Apeldoorn but is also a popular day-trip destination from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and cities in the Ruhr. Tiqets sells online advance tickets for the museum and park.
Kröller-Müller Museum in The Netherlands
The Kröller-Müller Museum in the heart of the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland in the Netherlands has the second largest collection of Vincent van Gogh works in the world and one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe. With around 400,000 annual visitors, it is one of the most popular museums in the Netherlands but never as crowded as the Van Gogh Museum or Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
The Kröller-Müller Museum originally opened in 1938 to display the art collection of Helene Kröller-Müller and her husband Anton Kröller. They bought nearly 11,500 artworks between 1907 and 1922 to assemble one of the largest art collections of the 20th century.
The museum and collection continued to grow through the years. While the emphasis of the paintings is largely on European works from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the sculptures are mostly modern and contemporary.
The Collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum
The most famous part of the Kröller-Müller Museum is the Van Gogh Gallery where many of the museum’s collection of around 90 paintings and 180 drawings by Vincent van Gogh are on display. Only the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has a larger collection of this famous Dutch artist’s works.
The displays change frequently but some of the famous Vincent van Gogh paintings owned by the Kröller-Müller Museum include De aardappeleters (The Potato Eaters), Caféterras bij avond (Café Terrace at Night), De brug te Arles (Pont de Langlois), Uitgebloeide zonnenbloemen (Withered Sunflowers) – the first painting bought by Mrs Kröller, and inevitably a Zelfportret (Self Portrait).
The museum also has a large collection of paintings by other artists including top works by for example Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Georges Braque, Picasso, and Piet Mondrian. A limited number of works by Dutch Golden Age painters are displayed but the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is of course a better venue for these works. A few sculptures are on display inside the museum.
The Kröller-Müller Museum also has several temporary exhibitions per year. These may be thematic or artist-specific and include both loan works and items from the museum’s own vast collection.
The Sculpture Garden of the Kröller-Müller Museum
The beautiful sculpture garden of the Kröller-Müller Museum is one of the largest in Europe both in terms of overall size and the number of works on display. This outdoor gallery of 25 hectares of forested landscapes is home to around 160 sculptures by amongst others Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, Joep van Lieshout, and Claes Olderburg.
The icon of the sculptures garden is the Sculpture flottante, Otterlo, 1960-1, by Marta Pan. It floats like a white swan on a small circular pond – specially designed by Pan after the gardener nixed the idea of a large lake as unsuitable for the arid Hoge Veluwe area.
The largest sculpted work in the Kröller-Müller Museum’s garden is Jean Dubuffet’s Jardin d’email (1974). An internal staircase allows visitors to walk on top of the work. It is hugely popular not only for children.
The garden has two 1960’s pavilions by famous designers: the Gerrit Rietveld Pavilion – minimalist, straight lines – and in the far back one by Aldo van Eyck. Both pavilions are filled with works by further artists.
Pick up free maps with a list of all works and suggested highlights walking routes.
The sculpture garden is open year-round but in winter some works, including the huge Jardin d’émail, are covered.
Kröller-Müller Museum Visitors Information
Admission Tickets to the Kröller-Müller Museum
The Kröller-Müller Museum is inside De Hoge Veluwe National Park. As a result, visitors to the museum have to pay both admission to the park plus admission to the museum. Buying tickets online, e.g. at Tiqets, is a good idea as it allows visitors to enter the park directly with a simple scan at the gate.
A combination ticket to both the Hoge Veluwe Park and Kröller-Müller Museum is €19 for adults (anyone older than 12) and €9.50 for children 6 to 12. Free for smaller children.
Admission to the museum is free for Dutch Museum Pass (Museumkaart) holders but regular admission to the park must be paid.
Admission tickets to only the Hoge Veluwe Park is €9.50 for adults and €4.75 for children.
Admission to the park for a car is €6.75 and allows for unlimited parking at any of the parking lots inside the park, including directly at the museum. Parking outside the park is €3.40. Free white bicycles are available at the gates, the Kröller-Müller Museum, and the visitor center for free use throughout the park by any visitors.
Buying tickets in advance through Tiqets is very sensible. The queue outside the park often moves surprisingly slowly as visitors evaluate all options at leisure. An online ticket is simply scanned at the entrance with no delays.
Opening Hours of the Kröller-Müller Museum
The Kröller-Müller Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00. The museum is open on Mondays only if an official holiday but is always closed on January 1.
The sculpture garden is open from 10:00 to 16:30 – some works are covered during winter.
Top Tip: The best time to visit the Kröller-Müller Museum is Friday when it is usually the quietest. Weekends and school holidays are usually fairly busy but it never gets as crowded as the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
Also, try to visit when more than one temporary exhibition is on show to see more art for the same price. Similarly, try to avoid the few days when temporary exhibitions are changed, as some halls may have to be closed temporarily.
Museumrestaurant Monsieur Jacques
The Museumrestaurant Monsieur Jacques – named after the sculpture by Oswald Wenckebach – is in the center of the Kröller-Müller Museum with a further self-service outdoors café open in summer. The restaurant serves mostly small meals, cakes and drinks.
Further restaurants are spread throughout the Hoge Veluwe park with a large number at the nearby visitors center / Museuonder.
However, visitors feeling hungry when about to leave the park will do better at the restaurants near the Hoge Veluwe national park. The area is famous for its pancake restaurants with many scattered throughout the region. Simply look for the many Pannekoeken signs.
Picnicking is allowed in parts of the sculpture garden, a small section of the museum and all of the national park.
Transportation to the Kröller-Müller Museum
The Kröller-Müller Museum, Houtkampweg 6, 6731 AW Otterlo, tel 0318 591 241, is in the heart of the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland in the center east of the Netherlands. The closest entrance gate is near Otterlo but the park’s south entrance Schaarsbergen near Arnhem is often quieter.
The Netherlands is physically small making the Kröller-Müller Museum an easy drive from most parts of the country, as well as from Belgium and parts of Germany. Driving time from Amsterdam may be as quick as an hour (80 km) while it is only 90 minutes from Rotterdam (120 km) or Düsseldorf (150 km), and two hours from Brussels. Parking is available directly at the museum.
Guided day-trip tours – usually by minibus and including further sights – are often available from Amsterdam, e.g. through GetYourGuide.
Public transportation is of course also available but a bit more complicated and usually involves a change to a bus in Otterlo, the small town just outside the Hoge Veluwe National Park.
The final bus ride to the museum is on Bus 106 that connects Otterlo with Hoenderloo via the Kröller-Müller Museum. Passengers without a park ticket must either buy one on bus 106, or leave the bus at the entrance to the park. Bus 106 runs at least hourly with Otterlo usually offering the better connections to further transportation. This journey takes only around 10 minutes.
Otterlo is reached on bus 108 from Apeldoorn and Ede-Wageningen train stations, or on bus 105 from Arnhem station. These stations have good railway connections to other parts of the Netherlands and Germany. (If missing the connecting bus 106, walk around a kilometer to the park gate and use a free white bicycle.)
Traveling time from Amsterdam is around 1:40. The simplest routing is usually the intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal to Ede-Wageningen, then bus 108 to Otterlo, and finally bus 106 to the Hoge Veluwe Park and the Kröller-Müller Museum. Expect to pay just less than €20 one-way from Amsterdam (plus park entrance!)