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A Complete Trip to the Dutch Capital with Amsterdam Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam Canal and Rijksmuseum are the highlights of Amsterdam and two things you shouldn’t miss when touring the city.

An Amsterdam canal cruise and Rijksmuseum tour combine two iconic attractions to create the quintessential Dutch experience. 

Start with a peaceful one-hour boat ride along the UNESCO-protected waterways to view the city’s famous bridges, mansions and gabled houses from the canals. 

Then, visit the renowned Rijksmuseum to admire world-famous masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer and other artistic geniuses up close. 

Purchased as a combo, this canal cruise and Rijksmuseum visit offers savings and an effortless way to dive into two highlights of Dutch art, history and culture in one day.

This article is your one-stop guide to visiting Rijksmuseum and enjoying an Amsterdam Canal Cruise together. 

Why choose a Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum combo tour

Why choose a Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum combo tour
Image: Bruno Coelho, dennisvdw(Getty Images)

Amsterdam Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum combo tickets allow access to two of Amsterdam’s crown jewels, offering great value. 

You can get up to 10% discount on individual entry tickets when purchased together. 

It maximizes your time with skip-the-line entrance and discounts on individual ticket prices to each attraction. 

Additionally, the combo experience provides delightful contrasts. 

The peaceful canal cruise shows Amsterdam’s beauty from the water, and the museum showcases extraordinary creative achievements. 

They provide a well-rounded introduction to the Netherlands’ art, history and culture.

Planning your day: a perfect Itinerary for a cruise and museum visit

When planning your Amsterdam canal and Rijksmuseum visit, starting with the boat tour allows you to get your bearings of the city before diving into history.

A sample itinerary could be:

  • 10 am – Arrive at Canal Cruise departure docks
  • 10.30 to 11.30 am – Relax during a one-hour loop cruise through the canals
  • 12 pm- Take a break, grab coffee or snack nearby
  • 12.30 pm – Walk or take the tram to the Rijksmuseum
  • 1 to 3 pm – Explore vast museum galleries and collections
  • 3 pm – Head home or explore the neighborhood

The combo ticket allows complete flexibility to customize your experience as preferred.

If you prefer to take an evening cruise, you can tour the museum first and then relax during the cruise. 

Amsterdam Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum combo ticket

Amsterdam Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum combo ticket
Photo by Angelo Abear on Unsplash, Helena Jankovičová Kováčová/Pexels

Combo tickets can be purchased online in advance.

Booking ahead is recommended since the Amsterdam Canal Cruises and Rijksmuseum entry tickets sell out soon, especially during peak seasons.

This combo lets you enjoy a 75-minute Canal Cruise with audio commentary available in 19 languages. 

If you are traveling with kids, you can keep them interested throughout the cruise with the Kids Cruise audiobook. 

For a complete experience, you can also enjoy snacks and drinks onboard. 

After a relaxing cruise through the Canals of Amsterdam, head to Rijksmuseum and enjoy an uninterrupted skip-the-line access. 

This combo includes:

  • 75-minute Amsterdam Canal Cruise
  • Rijksmuseum entry 
  • Commentary and audio guide for the cruise
  • Snacks (optional)

Amsterdam Canal Cruise + Rijksmuseum ticket price

The Amsterdam Canal Cruise and Rijksmuseum ticket costs €36 for visitors over 18 years. 

Children below 18 years can get the ticket for €15. 

If you opt for a snack box during the cruise, the ticket will cost an extra €10. 

AgeTicket Price
Adult ticket (18+ years)€36
Child ticket (below 18 years)€15
Adult ticket (with snack box)€46
Child ticket (with snack box)€24

A Glance at the Amsterdam Canal Cruise

A Glance at the Amsterdam Canal Cruise
Image: Theendup

An Amsterdam canal cruise is a must-do activity to see the city from its famous waterways. 

These boat tours glide along the UNESCO-protected canals that have defined Amsterdam for centuries. 

The cruises provide a unique on-the-water perspective of the photogenic bridges, tree-lined quays, narrow gabled buildings, and stately merchant houses.

What to Expect during the canal cruise in Amsterdam

Scenic Views: Gorgeous panoramas unfold as you gently sail by the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and other iconic canals. 

Seeing Amsterdam by boat shows off its charm in a way walking tours cannot match.

Informative Commentary: Most canal cruise companies provide pre-recorded or live commentary in multiple languages, sharing history about landmarks and fun facts about living on the canals.

On-Board Refreshments: Many boats sell drinks and snacks on board, so you can relax with a Dutch beer or glass of wine as you take in the sights. 

Some also offer cheeseboards or pizza cruises for more extensive dining.

Variety: Daytime cruises showcase Amsterdam’s architectural details, parks and houseboats. 

Evening tours reveal a more romantic atmosphere with city lights reflecting on the dark water. Specialty cruises cater to different interests, too.

Timings of the Amsterdam Canal Cruise from Rijksmuseum

The Canal Cruise runs for 75 minutes. 

In this combo, you get an open ticket for the canal cruise, so you do not have to select the time slot. 

You can hop on the next cruise available at Stadhouderskade 501, opposite the Hard Rock Cafe or Stadhouderskade 550, opposite the Heineken Experience.

The Canal Cruise is available every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

The Last Cruise from Heineken Experience departs at 5.15 pm and 6 pm from the dock near Hard Rock Cafe. 

Amsterdam Canal Cruises will not be available on April 27, August 5, December 25 and 31 and January 1. 

Note: The Rijksmuseum ticket is timed. Hence, you can enter the museum only when you choose. 

How to reach the dock for a canal cruise

You can take the Amsterdam Canal Cruise from Stadhouderskade 501, opposite the Hard Rock Cafe or Stadhouderskade 550, opposite the Heineken Experience.

Here is a handy guide on arriving smoothly at either dock by public transportation.

Canal Cruise Dock #1: Stadhouderskade 501

The first main cruise dock stands at Stadhouderskade 501, directly across from the iconic Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign.

This central area along the Singelgracht Canal puts you in Amsterdam’s vibrant Leidseplein district.

To arrive by tram, take tram numbers 1, 2, 5, 11, or 12 and get off at Leidseplein.

From the Leidseplein stop, walk straight for 2 minutes over the bridge and towards the Hard Rock Cafe building to find the dock.

Canal Cruise Dock #2: Stadhouderskade 550

The second canal cruise boarding area is located slightly southwest at  Stadhouderskade 550. 

This dock faces the famous Heineken Experience building close to the Rijksmuseum.

You can take tram lines 2,5, or 12 from Rijksmuseum and hop off at  Vijzelgracht.

You can also take the metro number 52 to reach  Vijzelgracht.

The dock is a 2-minute walk straight ahead along the canal.

General Tips:

  • Give yourself an extra 15-30 minutes of buffer time when navigating public transportation.
  • Purchase tram/metro tickets or passes in advance to avoid queues.
  • Walking from the Leidseplein area to the Rijksmuseum dock takes about 15 minutes if you miss your stop.
  • Confirm precisely which dock your cruise departs from when booking.
  • Both docks have signs and crew members to assist.
  • Sightseeing boats have indoor and outdoor seating. Tours generally run rain or shine, though they may be canceled in extreme weather. So dress appropriately!

Guide to visiting Rijksmuseum

Guide to visiting Rijksmuseum
Image: GetYourGuide.com

The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s most popular museums and a must-see for any visitor. 

As the national museum of the Netherlands, it has an unparalleled collection of Dutch art and history on display. 

With Rembrandt’s famous The Night Watch, Vermeer’s Milkmaid, and 8,000+ other art spanning 800 years of Dutch culture, the Rijksmuseum deserves a spot on any itinerary.

What to Expect at Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum building is an impressive, palatial structure that Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers designed and first opened in 1885.

Visitors can admire the stunning Gothic Revival architecture both inside and out. 

The museum reopened in 2013 after a decade-long renovation project and now seamlessly blends classic details with modern touches.

The vast collection covers four massive floors. 

Highlights include paintings by masters like Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer, alongside beautiful dollhouses, Delft pottery, silver objects, and impactful artifacts. 

The History of the Netherlands exhibit uses over 8,000 objects to tell the fascinating story of Dutch culture spanning the 1200s through the 2000s. 

Give yourself ample time to see it all.

In addition to the core collection, expect rotating special exhibitions to dive deeper into certain artists, styles, or periods. 

There may be an extra charge for these. The museum also hosts temporary displays by contemporary creators.

Rijksmuseum Opening Hours

The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, with the last admission at 4 pm.

 It’s only closed on January 1st and December 25th.  

The best time to visit the Rijksmuseum is at 9 am as soon as the museum opens. 

If you can not make it then, early afternoon from 1 pm to 3 pm is another good option.

Aim to arrive at 9 am to enjoy more elbow room in the galleries and snap photos freely before the masses arrive. 

Peak visiting hours are between 11 am to 3 pm. 

However, the museum is quiet when it opens first thing in the morning. 

While weekends are busier, Friday nights can also be a particular time to visit. 

On summer Friday evenings from April to October, when the museum is open late, there is a more relaxed atmosphere to soak up the artwork with a cocktail or coffee on an outdoor terrace.

Due to its popularity, the Rijksmuseum can become quite crowded, especially in the summer. 

Hence, the best time to visit is during winter when there is less crowd.

How Long to Visit Rijksmuseum

With four vast floors and over 8,000 artifacts on display spanning centuries, it’s best to spend at least two to three hours exploring the Rijksmuseum’s core collection. 

If you wish to use the free multimedia tour with your smartphone and dive deeper into all the history, budget four to six hours.

Here is a suggested highlight route for your Rijksmuseum visit if you are low on time: 

  • Enter and admire the architecture
  • See Rembrandt’s The Night Watch
  • View Vermeer’s Milkmaid and other Dutch Golden Age masterpieces
  • Explore the dollhouses and model ships
  • Wander the Arms & Military History Galleries
  • Learn about Dutch History in the special exhibit
  • Discuss your favorites in the cafe or sculpture garden

Do you wish to explore Rijksmuseum alone? Here are some of the best tickets to Rijksmuseum: 

Rijksmuseum map

When visiting Rijksmuseum, make sure you carry a map.

This will help you quickly navigate the museum and find all the famous paintings. 

You can also download this map and carry it with you during the Rijksmuseum tour. 

10 Masterpieces you can not miss at Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is home to an extensive collection of Dutch art from the Middle Ages to the present day. 

Among its many treasures are a number of masterpieces that are considered among the world’s most important works of art.

The Night Watch (Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642)

The Night Watch is one of the most famous paintings in the world, and it is considered to be Rembrandt’s masterpiece. 

The painting depicts a group of militiamen preparing for a night patrol, and it is notable for its use of light and shadow and its dynamic composition.

The Milkmaid (Johannes Vermeer, c. 1658-1661)

 The Milkmaid is another of Vermeer’s most famous paintings, considered one of the most beautiful paintings ever created. 

The painting depicts a young woman pouring milk into a jug, which is notable for its use of light and color and its tranquil atmosphere.

Sampling Officials (Rembrandt van Rijn, 1662)

The Sampling Officials is a large painting that depicts a group of cloth inspectors examining a piece of cloth. 

The painting is notable for its use of light and shadow and its realistic depiction of the figures.

Self-Portrait with Disheveled Hair (Rembrandt van Rijn, 1628)

Self-Portrait with Disheveled Hair is one of Rembrandt’s earliest self-portraits, notable for its psychological insight into the artist. 

The painting depicts Rembrandt as a young man with long, unkempt hair, revealing a sense of vulnerability and introspection.

The Serenade (Judith Leyster, 1629)

The Serenade is a charming painting that depicts a group of young people making music. 

The painting is notable for its lively composition and its use of color.

The Little Street (Johannes Vermeer, 1657-1658)

The Little Street is a small but exquisite painting that depicts a quiet street in Delft. 

The painting is notable for its use of light and shadow and its realistic depiction of the buildings and figures.

The Love Letter (Johannes Vermeer, 1669-1670)

The Love Letter is one of Vermeer’s last paintings, and it is considered to be one of his most mature works. 

The painting depicts a woman reading a love letter, which is notable for its use of light and color and its intimate atmosphere.

The Doelen Guild (Frans Hals, 1618)

The Doelen Guild is a large painting that depicts a group of militiamen posing for a portrait. 

The painting is notable for its use of loose brushwork and its lively composition.

The Scheveningen Sands (Hendrik Willem Mesdag, 1880)

The Scheveningen Sands is a large panorama painting that depicts the beach at Scheveningen, near The Hague. 

The painting is notable for its realistic depiction of the sea and the sky and its large size.

The Potato Eaters (Vincent van Gogh, 1885)

The Potato Eaters is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, considered one of his most important works. 

The painting depicts a poor peasant family seated around a table eating potatoes. 

The painting is notable for its use of thick brushwork and its somber atmosphere.

With the helpful guidance above, visitors should feel equipped to plan their ideal trip to the phenomenal Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. 

Wander its storied halls and encounter priceless Dutch culture for yourself. 

Whether you only have a few hours or want to spend the entire day immersed in art, history and design, the renowned Rijksmuseum offers something for everyone.

Tips for visiting Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Canal Cruise

Rijksmuseum and canal cruise amsterdam tips
Photo by Carlotta Segna on Unsplash, Bruno Coelho

Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of an Amsterdam canal cruise and Rijksmuseum combo tour:

  • Board the canal cruise first. Canal tours generally run frequently, while the Rijksmuseum requires buying tickets for timed entry. Knocking the cruise out first ensures you won’t miss your Rijksmuseum time slot.
  • Dress warmly, even in summer. It gets chilly on the open-air boats, so wear layers and bring a jacket.
  • Sit on the right side of the boat going out and the left side returning. This allows you to see all of the top sights along the canals.
  • Bring a fully charged phone or camera for great photos. But keep a tight grip as you shoot over the water.
  • Consider doing the evening canal cruise. The city lights make it a magical experience. You can still catch the Rijksmuseum earlier in the day.
  • Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to see the highlights at a decent pace. More if you want to use the free multimedia guides.
  • Use the free lockers to store jackets, umbrellas and large bags you don’t need. This saves carrying everything around.
  • Take advantage of the free daily guided tours in English at 11 am and 1 pm to hear about the most significant artworks and history.
  • Refuel at the glass-walled cafeteria In the Atrium on the ground floor when you need a quick break. The food is quite good!

A canal cruise and the unparalleled Rijksmuseum make for an iconic Amsterdam experience. 

These tips will help you maximize your time at these world-class attractions. 

Things to do after visiting Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Canal Cruises

Things to do after visiting Rijksmuseum
Image: PublicDomainPicture/pixabay, Matthew Sayers / Getty Images, Minemero/Getty Images Signature

After visiting the Rijksmuseum and enjoying an Amsterdam Canal Cruise, if you still wish to explore more, here are some things you can do: 

Visit the Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a museum dedicated to the life of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis during World War II. 

The house is a moving and thought-provoking place to learn about the Holocaust. 

It is located at Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

It is 2.8 km from the Rijksmuseum and should take 12 minutes by car. 

Visit the Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience is a museum dedicated to the history of Heineken beer.

The museum is a fun and interactive place to learn about the brewing process and sample different Heineken beer types. 

It is located at Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is 0.5 km from the Rijksmuseum and should take 2 minutes by car.  

Take a walk through Vondelpark

Vondelpark is a large and beautiful park in the center of Amsterdam. 

The park is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. It is located at Vondelpark, 1071 Amsterdam, Netherlands.

It is 2.0 km from the Rijksmuseum and should take 9 minutes by car. You can see the directions here.

Visit the NDSM

The NDSM is a former shipyard transformed into a cultural hub. 

The NDSM is home to several art galleries, restaurants, and bars. 

It is located at NDSM-Plein 28, 1033 WB Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

It is 9.7 km from the Rijksmuseum and should take 22 minutes by car.  

Take a ferry to Marken

Marken is a small island in the Markermeer.

Marken is a charming place to visit, with its traditional houses and windmills.

 It is located in Marken, Netherlands. It is 26.2 km from the Rijksmuseum and should take 36 minutes by car. 

Visit the Jordaan

The Jordaan is a historic neighborhood in Amsterdam.

The Jordaan is a great place to wander around and explore the many shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is located at Jordaan, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

It is 3.6 km from the Rijksmuseum and should take 14 minutes by car.  

Best Things to do in Amsterdam

FAQs about Amsterdam Canal Cruises and Rijksmuseum tour

1. How long is the canal cruise?

The Canal Cruise runs for 75 minutes. 

2. Are there specific time slots for the canal cruise and museum visit?

The Canal Cruise is available every day from 10 am to 6 pm.
The Last Cruise from Heineken Experience departs at 5.15 pm and 6 pm from the dock near Hard Rock Cafe. 

3. Can I choose which canal cruise to take with this ticket?

You can choose the departing point, the time and the date of the cruise. 

4. Is there a guided tour during the canal cruise?

The cruise ticket includes an audio guide in 19 languages and an audiobook guide for children. 

5. Are there any restrictions on the museum visit with this ticket?

Visiting need to make sure they visit the museum during the selected time. 
Entry outside the selected time slot will not be allowed. 

6. Do I have to visit both attractions on the same day?

Yes, you need to visit both Rijksmuseum and take a cruise on the same day. 

7. Can I skip the line at the Rijksmuseum with this ticket?

Yes, this ticket includes skip-the-line access to Rijksmuseum. 

8. How can I book or redeem the combo ticket?

Confirmation is sent as soon as you book the ticket and it is not refundable. 

9. Is the canal cruise wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the cruise is wheelchair accessible. 

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