Visiting the museums in the Netherlands during coronavirus

If you are anything like me, then one of the things you must have missed during the lockdown is visiting museums ! Although many galleries and museums have gone digital, offering virtual tours of their collections and exhibits, it just doesn’t feel the same.

For sure, ‘visiting’ a museum from the comfort of our homes can come handy in challenging times like the pandemic, but the excitement of waiting in the line to enter, being around fellow art aficionados and admiring a painting up close are priceless moments.

Naturally, the moment museums opened their doors again to visitors, I booked my tickets stat!

If you would like to visit a museum soon, but are still hesitant about it, let me share with you my experiences from visiting the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and the Escher in Het Paleis in The Hague. And who knows… Maybe by the end of this article you might be convinced to book your tickets too!

What to do before going to a museum in the Netherlands during coronavirus

For both museums (as with every other museum in the Netherlands) I needed to book my ticket online, in advance, selecting a specific time slot to visit. For the Van Gogh – as it was my first time ever visiting it – I thought it would be better to go on a Monday.

Why Monday? First, it would be less crowded (the sight of Amsterdam on a Monday morning, sans tourists, during the coronavirus, is one-of-a-lifetime experience!), and secondly, I would be able to spend as many minutes as I wanted in front of the ‘Sunflowers’ painting, undisturbed (spoiler alert: this is exactly what happened!). On the contrary, I planned my visit to the Escher on a Saturday at 1600 (which was a wrong decision… More about it later on!).

Museum visits during corona times in the Netherlands

For the Van Gogh museum, the time mentioned on my ticket was 11:45 AM. However, I was able to enter earlier (at 11:20 AM) as it wasn’t as busy. At the Escher, I was able to start my visit more or less on time, delayed by a couple of minutes.

Per the Dutch government’s measures, both museums were equipped with hand sanitisers at the very entrance, and especially at the Van Gogh, even before entering it. Stickers indicating the 1.5 metres distance were on the floor as well as signs specifying how many people can be present per room. Particularly at the Escher, in some of its smaller rooms, there were signs suggesting that a maximum of 2 people were allowed inside.

At the Van Gogh Museum. Image: Dimitra Karatza/Supplied.

Not only the Van Gogh but also the Escher had employees surveying the floors, making sure the instructed distance and measures were followed – a detail that made me feel safe in both museums.

However, I noticed a minor difference in organisation when it comes to the two museums. The Van Gogh time-slot system worked perfectly, allowing inside a specific number of visitors. This way, you felt comfortable wandering around the museum whilst being able to take your time and enjoy the paintings.

At the Van Gogh Museum. Image: Dimitra Karatza/Supplied.

Similarly, the Escher also provided specific time-slots to choose from. However, there was a point when at the same time, more than 6 people were together in a room (either parties of four or two). Now, this is understandable – the Escher is a rather smaller museum than the Van Gogh, so it was expected that it would get crowded. However, I would have enjoyed my visit there way more if the time-slot arrangement was better planned.

At the Escher Museum. Image: Dimitra Karatza/Supplied.

Tip for your visit at the Escher museum: I made the ‘mistake’ of going there at 1600, since I was under (the wrong impression) that it is a small museum. Undoubtedly, it isn’t as big as the Rijksmuseum, but an hour is definitely not enough for it (it closes at 1700). So, when booking your ticket, pick a time earlier than the one you were originally thinking of!

So, should you go to a museum in the Netherlands during the corona times?

Both museums had a rather festive atmosphere, welcoming visitors back after the long pause! Friendly employees were close by (but not too close) throughout your visit for any questions you may have, ensuring the distancing measures were actually followed.

Am I going to keep visiting museums during the coronavirus? The short answer is yes. The long answer… Well… next time I will definitely make sure I have my mask with me. You never know if you are going to be too close to another museum visitor.

Have you been to a museum since they reopened? Let us know how your experience was in the comments below.

Feature Image: kirkandmimi/Pixabay

Dimitra Karatza
Dimitra left sunny Greece for the rainy Netherlands (the irony!), in pursuit of her Master degree in Media & Creative Industries in Rotterdam. A newbie in Den Haag, she’s cycling her way around the cosiest cafes and corners of the city.


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