Jump to a museum—
Kunsthistorisches Museum //Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum //The Louvre Scottish National Gallery //National Gallery of Art, USA // Mauritshuis // Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden // Gemäldegalerie, Berlin // The National Gallery, London // The Queen's Gallery // Kenwood House // Boston Museum of Fine Arts // The Met // The Frick Collection // Rijksmuseum
Vermeer's Hometown—Delft, Netherlands
Vermeer was born and raised in Delft. There are no paintings here but two of his outdoor scenes can be found as well as his home and burial site.
I took the Eurostar train here. You can take the route directly from London to Rotterdam. From Rotterdam, Delft is a 15 minute taxi or InnerCity train away.
City of Delft
This small city is excellent. I spent a day and a half walking all over the city, exploring alleyways, taking a lot of photos and visiting the Vermeer-related sights. If I could, I'd move to Delft in a heartbeat!
I've made a more detailed page for this visit that covers all the specific locations, see the Vermeer's Delft page.
The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna has one very spectacular Vermeer, The Art of Painting.
I took the train here from Berlin—it's a long train ride at 9.45hrs but I love trains! I got to see lots of scenery because I also opted to take the day train rather than the overnight one. The central train station isn't as central as in other cities. The museum, though, was easily walkable from the Neubau neighborhood I stayed in.
This is a fantastic, large museum which has a good collectoin of Flemish art. This was the last Vermeer for me to see so it was a special day! I stayed with the painting a while, acting cooler and calmer than I really felt. The Vermeer here glows from the inside, the light is so wonderful. It is thought to be a piece he created to demonstrate his abilities to prospective clients. It was a great last piece to see on the last day of a last trip of roaming for a few months.
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum
The Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum has one Vermeer, The Girl with the Glass of Wine.
I was in Berlin again this year for a conference and having somehow not realized last year how close this was to Berlin, I made sure to see it on this trip. It's just about an hour and a half each way on the train. The city is small but has some nice parks to stroll in before or after a visit! The museum is an easy 20 minute walk from the train station.
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum
I really enjoyed this small museum. Since I'm getting close to seeing all of the paintings, I really wanted to stay with this one a while. I don't speak German but I'm pretty sure one of the museum staff was joking with me telling me to take a picture since I liked looking at it so much. But I could be completely wrong about that. I was back in Berlin with enough time for dinner and drinks with friends, a great day!
The Lovure, permanent home to two Vermeers, was one of three museums to host a large Vermeer exhibit in 2017/18.
I took the Eurostar from London to see the Vermeer (the art show of the year!) exhbit at the Louvre. I walked from Gare du Nord to my hotel and then directly to the Louvre. This exhibit has been so pouplar you now have to buy timed tickets in advance (so I did) and it often sells out. I went on a Saturday and the line wasn't too bad; they were set up to handle more. It also wasn't so crowded that you couldn't see the paintings (no photography allowed in the exhibit).
Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting
This exhibit, which will also travel to Dublin and Washington, DC, has twelve Vermeers! Including the only Vermeer which is a part of a private collection. Being able to see this exhibit was incredible. There were five Vermeers I'd not seen before. The Geographer and The Astronomer are side by side for the first time. The Vermeers are shown alongside paintings from his contemporaries with similar themes (women writing letters, playing instruments...). I went through three times!
Scottish National Gallery
The Scottish National Gallery has one of the earliest and oldest Vermeers, Christ in the House of Mary and Martha.
I was going to be in London for a few days so I booked a single day return train trip to see the painting. That's almost 10 hours on the train, which is actually great, I love trains and I had work to do! But I'd accidentally bought a ticket for May 27th instead of March 27th and had to buy a whole new one on the spot, making this trip was quite the investment.
Scottish National Gallery
This small museum has free admission and lots of wonderful paintings including a section with Dutch and Flemish works. It's also directly behind the train station, perfect if you're coming there via train.
National Gallery of Art
Washington, DC, USA
Typically four vermeers are at home in the National Gallery in Washington, DC. One was on loan (to the Louvre) during this visit and another I'd seen before (when it was on loan to the MFA in Boston).
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Women's March on Washington—the largest demostration of its kind! The march happened on the Mall and around the National Gallery so I made some time to see the paintings.
The National Gallery in DC is just one of many extrodinary museums in the Washington, DC Mall. If you're able to visit hopefully you'll have lots of time to see a few. They're all within walking distance of each other and the Mall is easy to get to with the Metro.
The Hague, Netherlands
Three Vermeers are in the Mauritshuis in The Hague, Netherlands. I got there by train from Amsterdam.
I took the train from the Central station in Amsterdam. There are ticket machines for the national rail service and it’s fairly easy to select a ticket from there to the central station in The Hague with a return at anytime later the same day. There are many trips a day between the two cities.
The train ride is about 50 minutes; you pass through a few towns and on my trip I happened to see some tulip fields.
Once you’re in The Hague it’s about a 10m minute walk from the central station to the Mauritshuis. The museum is small so it is easy to see it all in one visit. The Vermeers are in the same square room with a central round seat in the middle for viewing.
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Two Vermeers are in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dressden, Germany. I got there by train from Berlin.
I bought train tickets from Berlin to Dresden from the DB Bahn, the national rail, website. I took a cab to the station in the morning, but it's possible I was actually walking-distance from another Berlin station.
The train ride is nice and about two hours. Seats are first-come-first-serve so if you're traveling with someone either get on the train early or pay to reserve seats together.
It's an easy walk from the Dresden train station to the museum. We went on a Saturday and there was fantastic marketing in the old city square. We had hotdogs, ice cream and beer—I even saw a real life May pole!
The museum is a part of an old, beautiful palace. It's not so big but not so small, either. It would take a few hours to see all of it. The Veermeers are on the same floor but in different rooms. You'll need to check your bag in a locker for a Euro.
Two Vermeers are in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. I was staying in Berlin and took a nice, long walk there on a sunny day along the Landwehr Canal.
The museum is a part of a larger complex of galleries. It would be very easy to see all of this gallery in one visit. The Vermeers are in the same room. You'll need to check your bag in a locker for a Euro.
Two Vermeers are in the National Gallery in London. I walked here from the Queen's Gallery.
The Vermeers are in the same room with other Deflt paintings of the age. The museum is grand, busy and in the middle of Trafalgar Square. It was pouring rain when I visited, which is the perfect time to spend some hours in a museum. Entry to this museum is free.
One Vermeer is in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London. I visited during a special exhibition Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer.
I took the tube to near Buckingham Palace. The Queen's Gallery is on the back side of Buckingham Palace, along Buckingham Gate road. The gallery is small and easy to see in one visit. There are stuffed corgis in the gift shop!
One Vermeer is at the Kenwood House in London, near Hampstead Heath. You can get here via the London Underground.
I took the Tube here from Angel Station, on the Northern Line, to Archway. From there you can take a bus or walk the mile and a half. I love a walk, especially in England, so I did the latter.
The estate is set in a large park well worth the stroll through. The gallery itself is small enough to see in one visit and there is a nice cafe, too. The Vermeer here sits so unassuming in furnished room with dark burgundy walls. This gallery is free to visit.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
I was able to see one Vermeer at the MFA in Boston, on loan from the Louvre in Paris as a part of the Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer exhibition.
Boston does not have a Vermeer in a permanent collection due to the theft of Concert from the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in 1990. But thanks to this special exhibition that was happening while I was in town I was able to see The Astronomer which is a part of the collection at the Louvre.
You can take the Boston T here, to Ruggles or the Museum of Fine Arts stop. The MFA is a wonderful and large museum, it would be hard to cover in a day but well worth a long visit! I'm quite partial because I used to live Boston.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York, New York, United States
The Met in New York has five Vermeers. The museum is easy to reach via the New York City subway.
This museum is large and wonderful but you might have already known that. It's well worth a long visit. All of the Vermeers are in the same room, quite a stunning experience to see so many at once.
A year later I returned to NYC and visited the Met to see Young Woman with a Water Pitcher which was back from Kyoto. Needless to say, five Vermeers in one room is even more stunning than four. My friend Mu-An was with me on this trip as I crossed into less than 10 Vermeers left to see!
The Frick Collection
New York, New York, United States
The Frick Collection in New York City has three Vermeers. THis is a private collection which is open to the public.
The Frick Collection
This collection is in an old mansion from back when mansions faced Central Park. So far this has been the only gallery that doesn't allow photographs. The Vermeers are in different rooms and much like the Kenwood House, it's not the typical blank-museum-wall setting as it used to be a private residence as well.
Four Vermeers are in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I have visited twice while in Amsterdam and walked to the museum.
At my first visit one painting was on loan to an exhibition in the States. At my second visit a different painting, Little Street, was on loan, but the previously loaned painting was back so I was able to see all that are in collection.
The museum is large and wonderful and well worth a longer visit to see more of the collection.