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Unusual museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s museums are world-famous and attract more than 10 million visitors every year. You can see the masterpieces of the greatest artists in history and even see where they used to live or create. But more than that, Amsterdam is famous for its smaller and unusual museums. Amsterdam has all sorts of unusual collections – dedicated to cats, fluorescent art, washed-up beach finds and microbes to name just a few! If you’re the kind of person who likes to learn something new, then you should certainly explore some of these more unusual museums. Here are some of them:



Micropia is the world’s first museum dedicated to microbes and microorganisms, which actually make up two-thirds of all living matter in the world. Even the human body contains more than 100 trillions of microorganisms. It’s truly a unique experience. There you can have a body scan which can show you what types of microbes live on your body. Or try out A Kiss-o-meter which can count the number of microbes transferred during a kiss! 

An impressive and colourful display of Petri dishes with various bacteria as well as everyday household objects and what is lurking on them. A comprehensive collection of animal faeces and a preserved human digestion system. You will see films of different animals decomposing.There is a real-life working laboratory visible through a window where white-coated technicians prepare and manage the exhibits. Various other displays and information on bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. You are given a card on entry which you can “stamp” with microbes then check it later under a scanner. You will learn how microbes are essential for life – how algae is used in various products from supplements to food; how microbes are used in the making of foods and biofuels; interesting displays of rotting food!

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The Funeral museum

Built up in 2007, the Dutch Funeral Museum focuses on memorial service culture in the Netherlands, regarding the expired and parades since the beginning and in the present current multicultural atmosphere. Tot Zover offers a variety of changing contemporary and chronicled shows including workmanship and photography in addition to a developing selection of online galleries diving deep into our relationship with death. The most intriguing thing is that the funeral museum is located in the real cemeter

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Cat Cabinet

Located within 5 minutes walk from the hotel the KattenKabinet or “Cat Cabinet” is entirely devoted to cats. This monument was founded in memory of a frisky tomcat, John Pierpont Morgan, long-time companion of the museum’s founder. The collection is dedicated entirely to the role of cats in art and culture throughout history. Even if you’re not cat crazy, then a stroll through the impressive rooms of this beautiful canal house, which was used in Ocean’s Twelve movie. 

The museum collection includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works of art by Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Corneille, Sal Meijer, Théophile Steinlen, and Jože Ciuha, among others. Five cats also live at the museum premises!

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Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum

Visit the Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum which is dedicated to cannabis and its many uses, offering visitors information about the historical and modern uses of cannabis for medicinal, religious and cultural purposes. The museum also focuses on how hemp can be used for other purposes such as agriculture and industrial purposes. Also you can find clothing, cosmeticas and other goods made from hemp in their gift shop. The museum includes a live cannabis garden in various stages of growth, pipe and roach clip collections, an 1836 Dutch Bible made of hemp, and many other accessories made from the industrial crop. The museum also contains artwork, including David Teniers the Younger’s painting, Hemp-Smoking Peasants in a SmokeHouse (1660), and one of the fake I.D’s of the famous cannabis smuggler Howard Marks.

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Tattoo Museum

The museum covers the entire history of skin art and has artifacts from all over the world, including needles, old shop signs, photographs, ready-made designs, and freak show posters. Other items include macabre flesh exhibits in jars. The museum demonstrates more than 40 thousands objects in its collection. The show is divided geographically – Africa, America, Oceania, Asia. In addition, the museum shows history of tattooing and the tattooing traditions in different social subcultures – in prisons, in the army, among sailors, among sex workers and more. Famous tattoo masters have also been celebrated. Several interiors important for tattoo history, as workshops and tattoo clubs, have been reconstructed inside the museum.

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Sex Museum

The Sex Museum, just 15 minutes away from the hotel, hosts more than 500.000 visitors each year. The gallery demonstrates a rich and intriguing assortment of articles about human sexuality: art as well as photographs, figures, and many other items, sometimes composed in a bit old-fashioned presentation. You will see the plaster figure of Venus at the entry and the full size wax figures of Mata Hari with her male partners and Marilyn Monroe.

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Museum Willet-Holthuysen

Just outside the hotel, right in the city centre of Amsterdam you’ll find Museum Willet-Holthuysen, a 17th century canal house named after the last private owner, Mrs. Willet-Holthuysen, who generously donated the property to the city in her will. The double-fronted Herengracht 605  demonstrates a wide assortment of 18th and 19th century goods and offers a brief look at what life resembled during Amsterdam’s Golden Age. In addition to the ornate ballroom, grand dining room and stunning conservatory, visitors are free to explore the French-inspired symmetric garden.

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Museum Vrolik

Museum Vrolik houses a huge collection of pathological specimens, anomalous embryos, odd skulls and bones, and other anatomical abnormalities,brought together by Gerardus Vrolik (1755-1859), one of the most significant Dutch researchers of its times. After the death of Willem Vrolik, the assortment was bought by a gathering of Dutch residents and offered to the region of Amsterdam to be put in an organization called Athenaeum Illustre, which later turned into the University of Amsterdam. Today, the Museum Vrolik includes specimens from other collections, added through more than a century of its existence.

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Torture Museum

The Torture Museum is home to the artifacts which are showing the history of the human cruelty. The exhibits are presented in a labyrinth of little, dull rooms, creating a creepy atmosphere. The museum highlights an assortment of fascinating gadgets, from notable articles like the Guillotine, the rack and the stocks, to lesser realized items like thumb screws and the flute of shame. Other objects housed in the museum include the iron maiden, skull crusher, judas chair, Catherine Wheels and Scold’s bridle. Some of the devices are genuine and antique, but many are modern reconstructions from old texts or books. Some displays are behind glass but many are situated in the open and can be touched.

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