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Rotterdam Museums

From: Rotterdam Travel Guide

HNLMS BUFFEL - Rotterdam Maritime Museum

ABOVE: Mannequins from the Maritime Museum prepare for duty on HNLMS Buffel, a 19th Century Dutch naval ship.

Art museums

Two Rotterdam institutions are among the 10 top-ranked art museums in the Netherlands:

Museum Boijmans Van BeuningenThe Museum Boijmans Van Beunigen is the leading all-around art museum in Rotterdam, with exhibits of paintings, sculpture, and design from the Middle Ages through the present day. The museum occupies a 1950s building in the Museumpark, on the western edge of the city center.

'Woman' by Anton HerringThe Kunsthal, which was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhas, presents a wide range of temporary exhibits. (At the time of this writing, current or scheduled exhibitions ranged from "New Horizons: The Hague School and the Modern Dutch Landscape" to "Modern Life: Edward Hopper and his Time."

Chabot MuseumThe Chabot Museum, located across the street from NAI and next door to Sonneveld House (see our Rotterdam architecture and art page), is a 1930s villa furnished with paintings and sculptures by the Dutch expressionist artist Henk Chabot.

The Nederlands Fotomuseum, or Netherlands Photo Museum, is in a former warehouse near the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal just beyond the island side of Erasmus Bridge. (Much of the museum's collection can be previewed online.)

Maritime and Harbor Museums

Maritiem Museum RotterdamThe Maritime Museum is one of the world's leading museums of its kind, with an interactive "MainPort Live" exhibit, ship models, and special exhibitions that may run for a year or two. (During our visit, we enjoyed the display of luxury ship and yacht interiors.) A high point is the Museum Ship Buffel, an ironclad turret-ram naval ship from 1868 where you can see how sailors lived, worked, and kept the coal-fired boilers working in the early days of steamships.

Havenmuseum RotterdamNext door, the Havenmuseum or Harbor Museum is a "working museum" with indoor and outdoor exhibits about the Port of Rotterdam in the past and present. You can see old ships and tugboats, harbor cranes, an antique lighthouse, and other displays--all free of charge.

Kraneschipbrug RotterdamTip: After your visit to the Maritime Museum and Harbor Museum, head back into the city center via the Kraneschipbrug, a floating pedestrian bridge that connects with docks for vintage boats and the Leuvehaven water-taxi landing.

Other museums in Rotterdam

Dutch Tax and Customs MuseumThe Belasting & Douane Museum, a.k.a. the Tax and Customs Museum, is one of the more unusual museums in Rotterdam. And unlike the taxation office or a customs official, it won't demand payment: Admission is free.

The Natural History Museum Rotterdam has fossils, skeleton, stuffed animals, dead butterflies, and other exhibits that are typical of its genre. The museum is located in Museumpark, in a building that dates back to 1851.

SchielandhuisFinally, the Schielandshuis (inset photo) and De Dubbelde Palmbloom house the Historical Museum of Rotterdam. The main building, the Schielandshuis, dates back to 1665 and was built as the headquarters of the Schieland dike authority. Its exhibits feature paintings, engraving, sketches, and artifacts (including chunks of ruins from the 1940 bombings) along with a collection of antique and modern objects from everyday life.

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Rotterdam travel guide:
Architecture, art
Sightseeing, attractions
Tours, excursions
Hotels, hostels
Restaurants, cafés
Music, festivals
Cruise terminal
Tourist information

1st inset photo: Museum Boijmans Van Beunigen.
2nd inset photo: Kunsthal Rotterdam.
8th inset photo: Robert van Beets.