Overview of South Holland Museums
There are over 100 art, history and science museums on offer in The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden...
Museums in South Holland range in size from small, single room showcases to large national institutions. What is on offer is equally as varied... from paintings, sculptures and books to ancient artifacts, torture chambers and scientific discoveries.
Below you will find information about some of the region's key museums located in The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft, Leiden and Gouda, as well as tips on how to save on admission costs and the major museum-related events which take place annually here in South Holland...
The most economical way to visit the museums in Holland is to buy a museum card (Museumkaart). You pay one annual fee and have unlimited free admission to over 400 museums throughout the Netherlands. For students under age 18, the card is offered at a reduced price. For children up to age 12, there is the special MuseumKids card and a separate MuseumKids website filled with current activities.
There are other discount cards available which offer free or reduced entry to museums. For example...
- Hofvijverpas offers entry to 4 museums which are all located around the Hofvijver pond in The Hague city center: Haags Historisch Museum, Prison Gate Museum, Museum Bredius and Prince Willem V Gallery. The card is good for 2 days from the point it is first activated.
- Rotterdam Welcome Card offers 25% off of admission to 50 museums and attractions in Rotterdam and includes an unlimited RET (Rotterdam public transport) travel pass for one, two or three consecutive days with the price varying accordingly.
- Leiden City Pass offers up to 50% discount off admission price to museums and attractions in Leiden, as well as many stores in the city.
- Delfpas is available to lower-income residents of Delft and offers discounts to a full range of cultural activities in the city, including museums.
- CJP card is associated with the European Youth Card (EYCA) and is available to anyone up to the age of 30 (you don't have to be a student). The card is valid for one year from the date of purchase and offers the holder discounts for cultural activities throughout the Netherlands, including museums, where the discount can be up to 50% off the regular entry fee.
Several cities in South Holland participate in the annual event Museum Nights (Museumnacht), during which many museums and art galleries are open for a special night session. One Museum Night pass gains entry into all participating locations.
More information about Museum Night events can be found on these websites:
Principal Museums in South Holland
There are over 30 museums in The Hague, including:
- Panorama Mesdag Museum featuring a circular painting (panorama) of Scheveningen by Hendrik Willem Mesdag, completed in 1881.
- Prison Gate (Gevangenpoort) housed in a portion of the original prison gate and showcases torture chambers and tools used on prisoners during medieval times.
- Historical Museum of the Hague (Haags Historisch Museum) housed in a former archery house dating from 1636, it is devoted to the history of The Hague.
- Gemeente Museum Den Haag housed in a large art-deco building from the 1930’s, the museum is world-renown for its collection of Mondriaan paintings.
- Mauritshuis, located in a 17th century manor house adjacent to the Houses of Parliament (Binnenhof), the museum's collection includes masterpieces by Flemish and Dutch artists from the 'Golden' age (15-18 centuries), including Holbein, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen and Rubens. It is home to Vermeer’s ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’.
- Louwman Museum houses the world's oldest private collection of cars, 250 antique and classic automobiles dating back to the late 1800's.
- Museum Beelden aan Zee is located in the dunes above the beach in Scheveningen. It showcases pieces of art from both Dutch and international sculptors. On the boulevard in front of the museum are the well-known 'Fairytale Sculptures by the Sea'
Museumpark, located in Rotterdam’s city centre, is the location of several of the city’s most popular museums which include:
- Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum: history of art from the Middle Ages to present through the works of Dutch and European artists.
- Kunsthal Rotterdam offers some 25 exhibitions a year which includes an eclectic mix of old art, new art, design and photography.
- Maritime Museum established in 1874, it is the oldest maritime museum in the Netherlands and one of the top in world.
- Het Nieuwe Instituut is a museum of architecture, design and digital culture.
- Museum Rotterdam showcases both historical and contemporary elements of the city.
- Natural History Museum of Rotterdam (Het Natuurhistorisch) has over 400,000 pieces in its collection, making it one of the largest natural history museums in the Netherlands.
- Wereldmuseum The World Museum reflects Rotterdam's maritime past, which enabled the city (and Holland) to reach out to the rest of world, especially the Far East during the Dutch Golden Age.
- Naturalis: the Dutch national museum of natural history, with the 5th largest collection of artifacts in the world. It is located on the Leiden University campus.
- Rijksmuseum van Ouden: the Dutch national museum of antiquities, home to one of the world’s largest Egyptian collections.
- Hortus Botanicus: one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, established for the purpose of education and research by the Botany Department of Leiden University in the late 1600’s.
- Museum Volkekunde: the Dutch national museum of ethnology was founded in 1837.
- Museum de Prinsenhof concentrating on the history of the Eighty Years' War and the role played in it by the House of Orange.
- Vermeer Centrum Delft: housed in a historic 17th-century building, the center includes some of the original studios used by painter Johannes Vermeer, who was Dean of the St. Lucas Guild.
- Royal Delft is the last remaining porcelain factory from the 17th-century. On display are many of the iconic blue and white porcelain items produced by the factory over the past 350+ years.
- An overview of the top ten museums in South Holland
- Also have a look in the Directory: South Holland Museums & Monuments
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