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Top 8 Must-Visit Art Museums You Need to See at Least Once

By Orgesta Tolaj


29 February 2024

Must-visit Art museums

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Are you looking to immerse yourself in the world of art and culture? Are you eager to explore some of the most renowned museums around the globe? If so, then look no further! Art museums are amazing storages of centuries’ worth of creativity and history. With so many world-class art museums to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit. But, that’s where we join in to help! If you’re a lover of art or simply looking for some inspiration, be sure to add these must-visit art museums to your bucket list!

Top 8 Must-Visit Art Museums Around the World

These are the must-visit art museums you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The first must-visit art museum you should add to your list is definitely the Van Gogh Museum. The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is dedicated exclusively to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and is one of the most popular art museums, drawing over 2 million visitors annually since its establishment in 1976. It boasts the largest collection of Van Gogh’s artwork worldwide, with 1,300 pieces including famous works like Sunflowers, Self-Portrait, and The Potato Eaters. While it ranks 31st in terms of visitor numbers globally, it holds the second position for global reputation, scoring 81.9%.

Must-visit Art museums
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The museum is particularly esteemed in Europe, surpassing even the Louvre in reputation. However, its reputation varies across other regions, ranking 15th in Asia. It excels in several reputation drivers, ranking 1st in governance, 2nd in contribution to society, and 3rd in both collection and workplace quality. Despite being relatively young compared to other museums, it is the 5th most well-known, highlighting the correlation between familiarity and reputation.

2. The Louvre – Paris, France

The Louvre, situated in Central Paris and originally constructed as a fortress in the 12th Century, is among the oldest art museums, established in 1793. As the largest museum globally, it attracts over 7.3 million visitors annually, making it the most popular. With a collection of over 38,000 artifacts across eight departments, including the famous Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Louvre ranks highest in all key reputation drivers. It is particularly praised for its collection quality, societal contribution, and leadership in the museum realm.

Must-visit Art museums
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Despite being second in Europe after the Van Gogh Museum, it leads the global reputation rankings with a score of 84.3%, benefiting from high familiarity, as 63% of respondents are aware of it, making it the most recognized art museum.

3. Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York, USA

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, established in 1872 in Manhattan, New York, houses over 2 million artifacts across seventeen curatorial departments. As one of the most visited museums globally, with over 7 million annual visitors, it ranks as the most visited art museum in America and second worldwide. The museum emphasizes art education for the American public and boasts a diverse collection including works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Van Gogh.

Must-visit Art museums
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Despite its popularity and size, ranking as the fourth largest museum globally, the Met’s reputation does not align with its popularity, placing tenth in global reputation rankings with a score of 79.3%. Interestingly, its reputation is higher in Asia (4th) and the Americas (7th) compared to Europe (11th), potentially reflecting regional biases toward local institutions.

4. Rijksmuseum – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Rijksmuseum, originally founded in The Hague in 1800 before relocating to Amsterdam in 1808, occupies a main building designed by Pierre Cuypers, which opened in 1885. Following a €375 million renovation, it reopened in 2013, displaying 8,000 artifacts of art and history, including a collection of 1 million objects spanning from 1200 to 2000. The museum features masterpieces by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. Despite its rich collection, the Rijksmuseum ranks as the 17th most popular art museum globally, drawing approximately 2.5 million visitors annually.

Must-visit Art museums
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The high global rankings of prominent Dutch museums like the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum can be attributed in part to the positive image of the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The Rijksmuseum specifically excels in reputation drivers evaluating the attractiveness of its collection, societal relevance, and professional museum management. Additionally, it performs well in workplace environments, innovation, and overall performance. These factors contribute to its impressive 3rd position in the global rankings, with a high score of 81.9% and a familiarity rating exceeding 30%.

5. The Vatican Museums – Vatican City, Vatican

The Vatican Museums, situated in the historical and religious backdrop of Vatican City, is the oldest among the ranked museums, inaugurated in 1506. Originally serving as papal palaces, it now comprises a series of galleries housing over 70,000 artifacts, including renowned works like the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms, and the Borgia Apartment. With an annual attendance of over 6 million visitors, it ranks as the 5th most visited and 5th largest museum globally.

famous museums
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In terms of global reputation, the Vatican Museums secured the 7th position with a score of 80.4% and are the 4th most recognized among the ranked museums, with over 40% familiarity among respondents. Notably, its appreciation is notably higher in Asia, where it ranks 3rd in reputation. The museum benefits from the positive image of Italy, which ranks as the second-best among the ten countries evaluated, with only the Netherlands surpassing it in this aspect.

6. State Hermitage – St. Petersburg, Russia

The State Hermitage Museum, located in St. Petersburg and established in 1764, is one of the largest museums globally, covering over 700,000 square feet and second only to the Louvre in size. With around 4.1 million visitors annually, it’s both a key tourist attraction in St. Petersburg and the 8th most visited museum worldwide. Boasting over three million pieces, it holds the largest display of paintings globally. It features works by renowned artists like Picasso, Da Vinci, and Rembrandt.

famous buildings
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In global reputation rankings, the State Hermitage Museum scores highly with 81.4% and ranks second for collection quality. However, it exhibits the largest disparity in reputation scores between its home country and abroad. It has a remarkable 93% reputation in Russia compared to 80% internationally. This gap may be attributed to St. Petersburg having the lowest city image among all locations in the rankings.

The National Gallery, situated in Trafalgar Square, London, ranks as the 4th most popular art museum globally, attracting over 6.2 million visitors annually. It also stands as the 2nd most visited nationally. Established in 1824, it boasts a collection of over 2,300 paintings spanning from the mid-13th century to 1900. It features works by renowned artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Monet. Additionally, it possesses one of the surviving copies of Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

famous buildings
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With its distinguished and inspiring collection as a key reputation driver, the National Gallery is the 3rd most well-known museum among the rankings. However, it deviates slightly from the correlation between familiarity and reputation, ranking 9th globally with a score of 79.5%. While its reputation is strong in Europe and the Americas, it suffers in Asia, ranking last among all museums. Furthermore, the museum’s reputation is marginally higher in the U.K. compared to abroad, with a 7% difference in its ranking.

8. Museo del Prado – Madrid, Spain

The Museo del Prado, located in Madrid, is Spain’s national art museum, welcoming over 3 million visitors annually. Established in 1819, it is one of the oldest national museums, featuring Spanish paintings from the 11th-18th centuries. It also includes masterpieces by foreign artists like Van Dyck and Rembrandt. Its vast collection includes around 8,200 drawings, 7,600 paintings, 4,800 prints, 1,000 sculptures, and numerous other works of art and historic documents.

famous buildings
© José Cuerva / Unsplash

While The Museo del Prado garners high reputation scores in its home country of Spain, with a rating of 83.1%, its global ranking is moderate, standing at 8th place. This may be attributed to its relatively low familiarity in the Americas, where it ranks 14th, despite being esteemed for the quality of its collection.

Are you adding any of these must-visit art museums to your bucket list?

You might also want to read: Artist Sold Blank Canvases As Art and Is Now Getting Fined

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!