At 7pm on the first Saturday of November, 57 of the best museums in Amsterdam open their doors to one of the biggest festivities of the year. A ticket for Museumnacht not only gets you into each of the city’s museums, but access to over 250 talks and activities too, like printmaking, cyanotype photography and even the chance to make your own home remedies. The streets transform into a massive carnival of art, science and history, with music and food stalls everywhere until 2am. That’s not to say the night’s over though. After the doors close, the party simply continues in the city’s many vibrant clubs.
Museums and Talks
All of the major museums in Amsterdam participate in Museum Night, including the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House Museum, Rijksmuseum, which documents the art and history of the city, and Anne Frank House. Visitors get a totally different experience to a daytime visit, with many participating museums putting on special events to add to the sense of occasion. Some tours take place in the dark, led by a guide who lights the way through the exhibits, while talks in 2016 range from philosophical discussions to the commercial side of communist China.
Whether you’re scientifically minded or fancy yourself an undiscovered artist, you’ll undoubtedly find an activity perfectly suited to you among the 250-plus taking place on Museum Night. Try your hand at printmaking or take part in a study on the science of ghostly phenomena. Experiment with sound in the Old Church with David Helbich, or with home remedies at the do-it-yourself health clinic. With all sorts of events taking place throughout Museumnacht, your only problem will be choosing which one to attend.
Food and Drink
There’s never a shortage of food and drink at Museum Night, with food vans lining the streets and pop-up cafes and bars around every corner. Here you’ll find food from all over the globe, from German Flammkuchen (pancake) to Japanese beer and snacks. There’s even some art-inspired food to try, such as Vincent Van Gogh sandwiches. Cosy rooftop bars serve up hundreds of different kinds of cocktails, and there are always sweet favourites and hot coffee to get you through the night.
Music and Parties
Orchestras, deep house, improvisation – you name it, it’s going on at Museum Night. With ad hoc performers popping up around the streets and showcases of the best international talent taking place around the city’s best venues, the festivities are a haven for music lovers. Even when all the museums in Amsterdam finally close their doors at 2am, the celebrations continue in the surrounding bars and nightclubs, so after enjoying a nightcap (or two), sit back to watch the first rays of morning rising over the city.
If you’ve been inspired by this post, check out our adventure page for even more ideas.