Van Gogh Paintings Stolen from Amsterdam Museum Return after 14 Years

Recently, Amsterdam museum unveiled two paintings by Van Gogh that were stolen fourteen years ago in a mafia heist. The paintings, 1882’s View of the Sea at Scheveningen and 1884’s Congregation Leave the Reformed Church in Nuenen, are from a period that was important for the development of Vincent Van Gogh as a painter.

“They are back, I never thought I’d be able to say these words,” said Van Gogh museum director Axel Rueger, before unveiling the paintings that were recovered by the Italian police. The paintings are valued at 50 million Euros. These works of art were discovered behind a false wall in a villa owned by Raffaele Imperiale, who is believed to be running a cocaine trafficking ring.

The sea view painting is very important to the museum, as it is the only work from the period, in which the painter was in The Hague. The other painting shows the church in the southern province of Brabant. Van Gogh’s father was the minister of Brabant and after the death of his father, Van Gogh added black clad figures to the painting as a tribute to his father.

“The children are safely returned now and they really are safe,” said Rueger, after pulling back a screen to show the paintings that are now encased in a glass frame. “They will remain here for many generations to come.”

The arrest of eleven members of the trafficking ring led the Italian police to the paintings, and officials believe that Imperiale is presently living in Dubai. The paintings were stolen in 2002 and the heist took only four minutes. The burglars escaped by sliding down a rope.

It is reported that the sea view painting has suffered minor damage when the thieves ripped the painting from the frame. The painting has lost a piece of backing paper from the bottom corner as well. Rueger said that it is a “miracle” that the paintings did not suffer any further damages in the last fourteen years.

“Several major items were uncovered in last September’s raid, including a private plane. One investigator noticed an unusual-looking wall, behind which the paintings were found wrapped in cloth,” a Reuters report said. Return of the paintings is yet another reason for the art lovers to visit Amsterdam and go for a private Van Gogh Museum tour.

Must See Attractions in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a unique and interesting city. To experience the city, you just need to stroll along the different canal streets or sit in one of the many cafes in Amsterdam. However, there are some places in the city, which you must not miss in your tour to Amsterdam. The list of such must-watch places shared below will help you to know more.

Amsterdam Canal Ring

The old centre of the Amsterdam city is formed from canal rings, which will offer tourists the feeling of freedom, space, and peace. You can walk through the streets or take a trip in any of the tourist cruises to enjoy the attractions.

Another interesting way to explore Amsterdam is to take a bicycle ride. Whatever the way you decide to explore the city be, make sure that you enjoy the city to the fullest.

Amsterdam Brown Café

After exploring the city, you may enjoy a simple meal, a beer, or a coffee in any of the Amsterdam old cafés, which are locally known as Brown Café. You may feel that the cafes are too old and crowded, but later you will understand that the atmosphere that they offer is unique. Amsterdam locals are famously friendly and the prices are affordable.

Oude Kerk

This is a big protestant church with little houses to its sides. Oude Kerk can be considered a calm haven located at the centre of the Red Light District. Sailors used the buildings of the church as a navigational aid, especially because of the Gothic-renaissance styled octagonal bell tower. An evening walk to the areas around the church can be interesting for many of us.

Anne Frank House

This is located at the center of the city and is the hiding place from where Anne Frank scribbled her world-famous diary during the World War II. The empty rooms in the hidden annex to the building will make an everlasting impression when you understand that two families lived in this space for more than two years hiding from the Nazis. As part of the permanent exhibition of Ann Frank House, the original version of the diary is also displayed.

Magere Brug

Magere Brug is a double leaf Dutch drawbridge across the Amstel River. You can see the bridge opening to let boats through if you are ready to wait for twenty minutes, as the bridge master opens it every twenty minutes. The bridge was built in 1670 and has not been renovated much since.

Rijksmuseum Tour

Rijksmuseum is celebrating the 200th anniversary now. It is one of the largest and most popular among the various Dutch museums. Like all the other national museums in Netherlands, this building has also weathered the fortunes of fate to emerge into a new millennium of glory.

The museum was originally named the National Art Gallery and was housed in the Den Haag. Currently, Rijksmuseum is located at the Museum Square in South Amsterdam and features exhibits and artifacts that are dedicated to art and art lovers. The new museum houses about two hundred paintings.

Rijksmuseum was founded in 1800 and the original location of the museum was in The Hague. It was relocated to Amsterdam and was housed in the Royal Palace before it was moved to the Trippenhuis. The current building of the museum was designed by architect Pierre Cuypers and was inaugurated in 1885. Cuypers also created the Central Station of Amsterdam, which is why the Central Station and Rijksmuseum share the Neo-Gothic style of construction.

The Collections in Rijksmuseum

The museum has more than 8,000 objects on display and these artifacts dates back to as far as 1200. The collection includes masterpieces by Golden Age painter of Holland like Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Frans Hals. Famous paintings like Portrait of a Young Couple (Frans Hals), the Night Watch (Rembrandt), and The Milkmaid (Johannes Vermeer) are the main attractions of Rijksmuseum.

There is also an Asian pavilion that features a small collection of Asian artworks. The stern of the HMS Royal Charles is also displayed here. This ship was captured in the Raid on the Medway. The museum also displays antique furnishings, ceramics, sculptures, fashion, photographs, weapons and drawings. Tourists can also see the Hartog plate during their visit to Rijksmuseum.

The First Painting

The first purchase by the new museum building was the Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn and the painting was purchased for NLG 9500 at an auction. After eight years, the museum moved to the upper rooms of the Royal Palace in Dam Square.

The name of the museum was changed to Rijksmuseum or State Museum in 1815. The external building of the museum with gardens and archway is in itself worthy of a visit during your Amsterdam tours.

Tour Amsterdam

5 Tips to Save Money While Visiting Amsterdam

It is true that visiting Amsterdam can be a little bit expensive, particularly when you are on a tight budget. Having a lunch at a luxurious hotel, buying gifts and other items from the shops, and visiting all the famous tourist spots in the city will certainly disturb the budget of first time visitors.

So, it is important to know where you can save money, as it will help you to see everything this amazing city has to offer. However, if you are ready to do a little bit of planning, then you will be able to stay on the budget. Here are a few useful tips, which will help you to save money while visiting Amsterdam.

Avoid Taxis

Amsterdam is quite small and you can visit all places in the city by just scrolling through the elegant streets. However, public transport covers all parts of this city. A car ride to the Museum Square costs you €20, but if you are taking the train, then you will only have to pay €2.80. So, try to avoid taxis, as it will help you to save a lot of money.

Unlimited Ticket for the Trams

Rather than buying, the tram tickets one by one for €2.80 each, buy an unlimited ticket for the trams. This will give you unlimited access for a few days. However, if you are planning to use the tram for more than three times in a single day then it wiser to buy a 24-hour ticket.

Audio Guides at Museums

The descriptions of artist biographies and artworks are found in both English and Dutch at most museums of Amsterdam. In addition to that, the free info pamphlets are also usually found in both English and Dutch languages. So, you might not need an audio guide while visiting the museums.

Hydrate at Grocery Stores

The cost of a normal bottle of water is about €2.80 at a kiosk or snack stand. However, you can buy the same bottle of water for less than a Euro at the grocery stores. These little savings will considerable add up over the course of a week.

Opt For Beer and Wine

If you are planning to enjoy a few drinks from a famous bar in Amsterdam, then we highly recommend you to opt for either wine or beer. This is because mixed drinks and cocktails usually cost around €6, which will certainly affect your budget. So, try to settle for wine or beer while visiting an Amsterdam bar.

Amsterdam Tours

Visiting the Major Attractions in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, has been the most sought over destinations in the world for decades now. The distinctive nature of the place with its mix of history and modernity attracts visitors from all over the world.

It differs from all other places with its liberal atmosphere and geographical diversity of canals and century-old buildings coexisting with the metropolis. Visiting Amsterdam is certainly an awe-inspiring experience, as the many famous attractions and sights will delight the visitors beyond measure.

Almost all these attractions are much busier and crowded with visitors at most times. When following an itinerary, it could get quite difficult in visiting all the locations within the scheduled time. However, following some of the tips mentioned below will definitely help you in avoiding the crowds at the locations and experience the many sights and highlights of the city to the fullest.

Proper Planning and Pre-booking

Almost all the major attractions and museums in the place have the option for pre-booking the entry tickets. This has tremendous advantage for the visitor in visiting the attractions at any time they please. It is an excellent measure to avoiding the crowds and lines at the ticket counters, which helps in saving valuable time.

Make sure to properly plan beforehand when visiting the sights and places. Check for places that offer the option of using digital tickets, since most of places accepts them. Getting the I Amsterdam City Card is even better, as it would be highly beneficial to make the most out of your visit to the city.

Museum Timings

It is important to know about the opening and closing time of the museums in Amsterdam while visiting them. This will vary dependent on the day of the week, as well as for different museums. For instance, the Van Gogh Museum has an extended closing time on Friday aside from its normal 09:00 am to 05:00 pm timing, whereas the Stedelijk Museum’s normal opening hours are 10:00 am to 06:00 pm.

The photography museum Foam remains open until 09:00 pm on both Thursdays and Fridays. The famous Rijksmuseum is the busiest on weekends and the months of April, May, and August. The museum authorities recommend that the best time for visit is the opening time, at 09:00 am, or the closing time, after 03:00 pm.

Cycling Tours

Guided bike tours are another great way to fully experience the city of Amsterdam. Cycling is the preferred mode of transportation and utilizing guided bike tours would ensure that all the best attractions in the city are covered with the assistance of an expert guide.

Private Van Gogh Museum Tour

Exploring the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh is housed at the Van Gogh Museum and the museum is one of the greatest attractions in Amsterdam. The museum is conveniently located in Museum Square and is a must-visit place for any tourists to Amsterdam.

The Van Gogh Museum

The museum is divided into two buildings and in spite of the high volume of visitors to the place, you can have a pleasant and great experience owing to the ideal layout of the museum. The museum was designed with guests in mind and can accommodate large crowds easily.

The main building houses the permanent collection, with some temporary and rotating exhibits as well. The main building has four floors and one of the floors has the café and gift shop. One floor houses the works of Vincent Van Gogh in chronological order. Then you can see the floor that is dedicated to painting restorations and some temporary exhibits. Finally, there is the floor that is dedicated for works of Van Gogh’s contemporaries, which focus on Van Gogh’s influence on art.

The other building houses only the temporary exhibits and the building can be accessed through an underground tunnel that starts from the main building. There is also a library associated with the museum, but is placed in a different location. However, there are study areas provided on each floor of the museum where tourists can go in depth in their study of art and artists.

The Van Gogh museum believes in encouraging the next generation of artists, and it offers extensive programs that are aimed at children. These programs include drawing competition for children from the age of 4 to 12, diorama making, treasure hunts, and guided workshops. In addition, kids are even allowed to have a birthday party with activities, but only under the guidance of the museum staff.

As the Van Gogh museum is one of the most popular museums of the world, and with more than a million and half visitors each year, the queue can be very long. So it is important to confirm with your private Van Gogh museum tour operator that the tickets are purchased in advance to ensure that your vacation is not wasted waiting in long queues for tickets.

Five Best Things to do While Visiting Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, known for its distinctive culture, heritage, and the intricate canal system that crisscross across the place. Due to this, Amsterdam remains one of the most preferred destinations of tourists across the globe.

Amsterdam has a highly liberal culture and law that makes it an ideal place for traveling and enjoying the ethnicity and heritage of the city. Below are some of the unique places to see in Amsterdam and a few things to do while you are there.

The Galleries

Amsterdam is a city noted for its contemporary art culture, which is promoted through small independent galleries. The Van Gogh Museum is one such place, but it is much expensive and crowded. Yet the independent art gallery makes a great place to know about the active art scene thriving in the city.

Radar is another such gallery with exhibitions that focuses on urban inspired themes. There are many other prominent ones as well, like the Galerie Fons Welters with its magnificent art installations and KochxBos, converted living room style gallery focusing on surreal artworks.

EYE Film Museum

EYE film museum have a free permanent exhibition that requires no tickets at all. It is a highly immersive experience in a panoramic shaped room, where the visitors are surrounded by many clips and scenes from popular movies. There are also future style viewing pods for personalized movie watching. The design of the building is a stunning piece of architecture with jagged angles and white exteriors.

The Markets

Markets are the ideal locations to know and experience the rich and diverse culture prevailing in the city. Amsterdam has many markets with its own unique character like, Albert Cuyp marker in De Pijo, Noordermarkt farmer’s market, the Waterlooplein flea market, etc. The floating flower market, Bloemenmarkt is another great attraction and a must see place in Amsterdam.

Begijnhof

Beijnhof is an alternative place most suitable for picnicking and resting. It offers many small historical buildings and courtyards that make it an ideal place to know about the history of the region. It has a beautiful garden, which is suitable for relaxing and watching the unique architecture around.

Amsterdam City Archives

The Stadsarchief, Amsterdam City Archives hosts a permanent exhibition, which is a perfect place to learn about the rich history of the city. It contains a rich collection of many artifacts like letters, telegrams, and rare photographs of celebrated intellectuals and artists like Karl Marx, John Lennon, etc.