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Better Value: the ‘I amsterdam card’ or the ‘Museumkaart’?

January 21, 2010

No matter what your interests, there’s bound to be at least one museum that will interest you here in Amsterdam. There are in fact over fifty of them; from the more traditional museums (the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, for example) to the more obscure ones, such as the Museum of Bags and Purses, The Cat Cabinet* and the Erotic Museum. Prices are generally between €7 to €12, so if you’re planning to see more than three of them, I would recommend that you pick up either an I amsterdam card or a Museumkaart. Both offer free entry into most of the museums in Amsterdam as well as other perks. So which one is best?


The I amsterdam card (www.iamsterdamcard.com)

The I amsterdam card offers you free entry at many of Amsterdam’s museums as well as free public transport, a free canal ride, free gifts and discounts at several restaurants and attractions in town. There are three cards to choose from: the 24 hour (€38), 48 hour (€48) and 72 hour (€58) card. They are activated from the moment you first use it (whether that be on a bus or in a museum).

+ The I amsterdam card is available to purchase online, at Amsterdam tourist offices, at GVB ticket and info points, from Canal Bus kiosks, and at several hotels and select hostels.


Museumkaart (list of included Amsterdam museums)

The Museumkaart costs €39.95 and is valid for one year. It offers you free entry into 29 museums here in Amsterdam as well as several others around the country. Unlike the I amsterdam card, the Museumkaart doesn’t offer any side perks, such as free public transport or discounted attractions/restaurant visits. It does, however, allow you to visit the museums at your own pace.

+ You can buy the Museumkaart in Leidseplein at the Uitburo. The address is Leidseplein 26 and the trams that stop at Leidseplein are 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10. They are open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 6pm (Thursdays until 9pm) and on Sundays and public holidays opening hours are noon to 6pm. The Museumkaart can also be ordered online, however, both the website and the form are in Dutch only (speak Dutch?).


VERDICT:

  • If you’re in Amsterdam for the first time and there are only one or two museums you’d like to visit – let’s say… you have other priorities in town – well, then neither card is really going to be worth it for you (unless you think you might come back to Amsterdam within the year with a formerly-repressed-yet-recently-uncovered burning passion for museums). Get yourself a map, a public transport card (either a strippenkaart or an OV-chipkaart) and off you go.
  • If you’re setting aside 1-3 days for a healthy dose of museum- and attraction-going, then get yourself the I amsterdam card. That way you won’t have to worry about getting yourself a public transport card or museum tickets; you can focus on seeing as much as you can in the time that you have. Keep in mind, each additional 24 hour period is only €10 extra, so as long as you’re using it, the 72 hour card will cost you €19.33 per day vs the €38 a day that the 24 hour will cost you.
  • Personally, I’m here for over a week, so I hands-down prefer the Museumkaart; there’s no crazed hopping on and off trams, rushing through museums and eating discounted meals at the touristy restaurants advertised in an attempt to get your money’s worth. You have an entire year to visit museums whenever you feel like it and for as long as you like. Sure it doesn’t include public transport, but Amsterdam is best enjoyed on foot anyway (plus, if you’re not up for walking, public transport doesn’t cost much). The restaurant discounts I wouldn’t use anyway and then there’s the fact that the 24 HOURS of I amsterdam privileges cost as much as a YEAR of Museumkaart ones… ya-huh! Nuff’ said.



N


*Don’t worry; The Cat Cabinet isn’t filled with stuffed kitties or anything – it’s simply a museum specialising in art works that celebrate our feline friends.

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