Utrecht is considered to be one of the most charming cities in the Netherlands, and it comes as no surprise! From beautiful canals to charming lunch spots, the city has so much to offer – inclusing the best museums of utrecht. Visiting a museum is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. From astronomy to photography, classic art to cartoons – here are best museums in utrecht for your next visit:
Ever looked up at the stars in incredulous wonder? Sonnenborgh is both a museum and an observatory that offers you a view of the celestials up close. Gaze at the sun and stars through their 19th century telescope domes and immerse yourself in their magnificence. The museum also offers guided tours through the building, which has a pretty interesting history as well! Sonnenborgh’s structure was originally built in the 16th century by Charles V to protect Utrecht from cannon attacks and it’s considered to be one of the best-preserved structures in the Netherlands. It’s perfect for anyone looking for something cool and out of the ordinary.
Sonnenborgh | Zonnenburg 2
2. Centraal Museum Utrecht
From breathtaking art by the Utrecht Caravaggisti to intriguing pieces by Gerrit Rietveld, Centraal Museum Utrecht has a little bit of something for everyone. Their core values stem around diversity and inclusion and that’s reflected in their collections as well. It’s considered to be the oldest municipal museum in the entirety of the Netherlands and one of the most iconic museums in Utrecht. And, as a bonus, this museum has a beautiful garden and cafe that’s perfect for those sunny afternoons during summertime.
Centraal Museum | Agnietenstraat 1
3. Miffy utrecht Musea
This one is perfect for the little ones. Based on the popular Dutch children’s cartoon Miffy, or Nijntje, this entire museum is filled with fun and interactive items to have children learn about the ways of the world. Ten different rooms span the inside of this museum, each of which with a different purpose. Mundane, everyday activities are replicated here; from going to the doctor to a trip to the zoo. Aside from this, kids are also encouraged to be creative! They can draw their own museum-worthy art right here at the Miffy Museum.
Miffy Museum | Oudegracht 167
4. fotodok musea
Fotodok is a documentary, photography, film, and virtual reality museum that is centered around current events and social themes. They go against the modern norm that all news and social commentary has to be bite-sized, and instead encourage visitors to delve deep into the presented topics. One of their more popular exhibitions is titled ‘Whispers and Shouts’, which features jarring photographs taken by Ukranian women during the war. Fotodok also supports up-and-coming artists by hosting networking events and educational sessions, as well as providing financial support to a number of emerging artists.
Fotodok | Lange Nieuwstraat 7
5. Museum Catharijne Convent
If you’re interested in religious history, then this is the place for you! A convent-turned-museum, visiting the Catharijne Convent is like taking a walk through the ages. It’s been around since the 14th century and is the home to exquisite works by Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and more. But that’s not all! What’s a religious museum without a little bit of gospel? Learn about the origins of gospel music within churches of Afro-American communities and maybe even sing a few bars yourself. Overall, this is a great one for lovers of religious art and medieval vibes.
Museum Catharijne Convent | Lange Nieuwstraat 38
6. railway musea
Why did the invention of the railway mark such an important moment in human history? Well, visit the Railway Museum to find out! Aside from the actual real-life train station inside the museum as well as a super cool theater, you can learn all about the history of the railway and how it’s affected our way of life. Take a peek at how the royals would travel by train or look at model railways from the past. This huge museum is a great one for the whole family as there are a ton of engaging activities for children, ranging from fun games to rides in railway carts. Choo choo!
Railway Museum | Maliebaanstation 16
7. Museum Hoge Woerd
Museum Hoge Woerd offers a unique opportunity to dive into 3000 years of history. The museum is situated on the site of a Roman fort and features a Roman ship, a reconstructed fort, and interactive exhibits. Visitors can explore the fascinating world of the Romans, discover the secrets of the fort, and even participate in archaeological workshops. Museum Hoge Woerd is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those seeking a hands-on experience.
8. Nationaal Militair Museum
The National Military Museum is a captivating destination for those interested in military history. Situated on the former Soesterberg air base, the museum showcases the past, present, and future of the Dutch military. The collection includes tanks, aircraft, armored vehicles, and historical artifacts that provide insights into the country’s military heritage. With interactive exhibits and immersive experiences, the National Military Museum offers a unique opportunity to delve into the world of defense.
9. Museum Speelklok
Prepare to be enchanted by the magical world of self-playing musical instruments at Museum Speelklok. From carillon clocks to street organs, the museum houses an extraordinary collection that spans several centuries. Visitors can learn about the history and mechanics of these fascinating instruments through interactive exhibits and guided tours. The highlight of the museum is the Musical Tour, where visitors can experience the cheerful melodies of the various instruments. A visit to Museum Speelklok is a symphony for the senses.
10. The Waterline Museum
Discover the fascinating story of water as a defense mechanism at The Waterline Museum. Located near Utrecht, this museum explores the ingenious Dutch military strategy of using water as a barrier to protect the country. Through interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations, visitors can learn about the construction and operation of the Waterline, a network of forts and canals. The museum offers a unique perspective on the relationship between the Dutch and their battle against the water.
As you can see, there are tons of wonderful options for art lovers looking to get lost in the museum halls of Utrecht. Are you curious to visit more museums in the Netherlands? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Check out our museum guides for Rotterdam, The Hague, and Amsterdam. For more tips on the best things to do in the Netherlands, check out our travel blog. And don’t forget to tag us on social media (@dernederlanden) on your next trip to the Netherlands!