The Rijksmuseum (“state museum”) is currently undergoing extended renovations only scheduled to be finished in 2013, but it still is worth a visit even in this scaled-down incarnation.
Don’t miss Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, one of the most famous paintings in the world after the Mona Lisa. The collection of old Dutch and Flemish masters is a feast for the eyes, not to mention the Delft blue pottery collection and the few remaining extravagant Dutch dollhouses.
Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull passing through caused somewhat of a sensation and pulled in major crowds, but on an average week day the waiting time should be brief. The reduced amount of artwork on display also means you shouldn’t need more than two hours, tops, to thoroughly peruse the merchandise. If you’re really pressed for time, the Rijksmuseum also has a small gallery space in a Schiphol passenger terminals where you can spend some time after having checked in.