The Museumplein is a popular recreational spot for tourists and locals alike, as it offers a rare oasis of open space in the busy Museumkwartier neighbourhood. Apart from it's museums the Museumplein features several small cafe-restaurants, a playground for small children, a half pipe skate court, basketball and petanque courts and a large grass field. and a shallow pond that is often used for recreational ice skating during the winters.
The Museumplein is occasionally used for large public events and manifestations as it has enough space for large crowds.
In the 1883 the large open terrain now known as Museumplein was used for a world exhibition themed around international colonialism and international trade. Two years later the terrain hosted another large international exhibition themed around hotel business and international travel. These two world exhibitions provided the first impulse to international tourism in Amsterdam.
Originally the nineteenth century city planners aimed to fill the terrain with large villas, much like the surrounding areas. The architect of the newly built Rijksmuseum (1885) however managed to convince the municipality to leave space for a small city park there. The area which was officially named Museumplein in 1903.