History of Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum, situated in Amsterdam, Netherlands, is an acclaimed museum dedicated to the life and work of the iconic Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. 

Established in 1973, it houses the most extensive collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings, showcasing his artistic evolution. 

Van Gogh’s history is connected to his sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger’s efforts to conserve and promote his art.

Over the years, the museum has become an iconic destination for art lovers, offering an in-depth look into the unstable life and remarkable creations of Vincent van Gogh.

Brief History of Van Gogh Museum

1890 to 1920

Vincent Van Gogh, a hugely influential artist, died tragically young. 

After his suicide in 1890, his artwork passed to his younger brother, Theo. 

However, upon Theo’s sudden passing, Jo Van Gogh-Bonger, his widow, took it upon herself to promote Vincent’s art to the public. 

She organized art shows, wrote about Vincent in art publications, and sold his paintings. 

In the 1920s, she stopped selling his artwork after realizing the importance of preserving the collection.

1920 and later

Their son, Vincent Willem van Gogh, established the Van Gogh Foundation. 

The Netherlands government built the majestic Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1973, near the iconic Rijksmuseum. 

Designed by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, it later received a new entrance and temporary display wing designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. 

Today, the Van Gogh Museum displays over 1,000 of Vincent van Gogh’s art and around 200 paintings still within the family’s collection. 

These works were initially displayed at the nearby Stedelijk Museum before being relocated to their current location in 1973.

Facts about Van Gogh Museum

facts van gogh
Image: Vangoghmuseum.nl

Here are some interesting facts about Van Gogh Museum

1. World’s Largest Van Gogh Collection

The Van Gogh Museum is home to the largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh, with over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 letters.

2. Unique Architecture

The museum’s architecture is a blend of modernist design by Gerrit Rietveld and irregular aspects by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, making it a unique and visually striking structure.

3. A Complex Personality and Struggles with Mental Health

Opinions on Vincent van Gogh vary: some see him as narcissistic and sensitive, while others view him as a dedicated artist. 

In his later years, he faced mental health challenges, influencing his art. 

Despite producing 800 paintings in a decade, his battle with mental illness was a significant part of his life and art.

4. Themed Galleries

The museum’s galleries explore various themes in Van Gogh’s art, including his depictions of farmers, his exploration of color, and his unique view of nature.

5. Iconic Works

Visitors can admire iconic paintings by Van Gogh, such as The Potato Eaters, Bedroom in Arles, Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and Irises.

6. The New Entrance

In 2015, the museum revealed an amazing new entrance building, the largest glass structure in the Netherlands.

The new glass structure is between Gerrit Rietveld’s original museum building and the more recent temporary exhibitions wing, improving access to and between them.

7. Art Theft

The museum experienced two significant art thefts in its history, in 1991 and 2002.

20 paintings were stolen in 1991 from the museum but were quickly recovered 35 minutes later, with three paintings severely damaged.

In 2002, the View of the Sea at Scheveningen and the Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen were stolen.

In 2016, both paintings were found in Naples, Italy, in good condition.

 8. Sculptures and Other Artists

Along with Van Gogh’s works, the museum features sculptures by artists like Auguste Rodin and Jules Dalou and paintings by contemporaries such as Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet.

9. Van Gogh Letters

Alongside Van Gogh’s paintings, the museum houses a vast collection of letters by Vincent van Gogh, providing insights into his life and artistic journey.

  1. Visitor Statistics

In 2017, the Van Gogh Museum welcomed 2.26 million visitors, making it one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands and globally.


1. What is the Van Gogh Museum, and where is it located?

The Van Gogh Museum is a renowned museum on Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

2. When was the Van Gogh Museum established?

The museum was established on 2 June 1973 and houses the most extensive collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, drawings, and letters.

3. How much are Van Gogh Museum tickets?

The Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum tickets depend on inclusion.
The Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam ticket price starts at € 22 (US$ 24) and goes up to € 540 (US$ 598).
You can book your tickets here.

4. What are some facts about Van Gogh?

Here are three facts about Van Gogh:
– In just ten years, Van Gogh produced about 900 paintings and 1,100 pieces on paper, on average one every 36 hours. 

– Before becoming a full-time artist, van Gogh worked various jobs, including being a lay minister, teacher, and art dealer. 

– Due to his mental health, van Gogh earned the nickname “The Redheaded Madman” from his neighbors in Arles.

5. What time does the Van Gogh Museum open?

The Van Gogh Museum opens daily at 9 am throughout the year.

6. When to visit Van Gogh Museum?

To avoid crowds, visiting the Van Gogh Museum during the early morning hours between 9 am and 11 am or later in the afternoon after 3 pm is best.

7. What are some history and facts about Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam?

Here are some Van Gogh Museum facts and history:

Establishment: The Van Gogh Museum was founded in 1973 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

– Founders: It was founded by Vincent Willem van Gogh, the famous painter Vincent van Gogh’s nephew and dedicated to preserving his uncle’s artistic legacy. 

Architects: The museum’s main building was designed by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld. 
Later, it received a new entrance designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.

– World’s Largest Collection: The Van Gogh Museum contains an extensive collection of artworks, including over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 letters.

– Visitor Statistics: In 2017, the Van Gogh Museum welcomed 2.26 million visitors, making it one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands.

8. How long should I spend at the Van Gogh Museum?

A visit to the Van Gogh Museum typically takes 2 hours to view the highlights, but art fans can spend up to 4 hours or more exploring.

9. What can visitors expect on each floor of the Van Gogh Museum?

The ground floor includes a shop, cafe, and a temporary exhibition. Floor Zero features a timeline of Van Gogh’s life and self-portraits. 

Floor one highlights his early years as an artist, while floors two and three dive into his personal life, providing insight into the man behind the art.

10. How to reach Van Gogh Museum by Bus?

Take bus 397 to Concertgebouw or buses 305, 314, 41, 65, or 852 to nearby stops.
All are within an 8-minute walk from the museum. 
Bus 347 offers a direct route from Amsterdam Central.

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