Bizarre Netherlands: 4 Can’t Miss Museums in Amsterdam

As one of the oldest and historically richest cities in Europe, Amsterdam is known the world over as a hub of history, art and culture. Museums abound, from the traditional, to the “slightly off”, to the downright bizarre.

Here, we present our top picks for five of the Dutch city’s most fascinating museums!

#1: The Erotic Museum

Sculpture at The Erotic Museum, Amsterdam
Sculpture at The Erotic Museum, Amsterdam

“Of course!”, you say. The Erotic Museum is perhaps an easy pick, but no trip to the Dutch capital would be complete without a visit here. Browse five full floors of festishes, cartoons, sculptures, art and interactive exhibits dedicated to hardcore pornography and all things sexual. While it’s possible to consider many (ok some) of the museum’s installations “art”, the whole thing feels more like a novelty. But a fascinating, can’t-miss novelty for sure!

#2: The Amsterdam Sex Museum

Jesus, is it all about sex with these people? OK granted, our first two are pretty obvious picks. The Sex Museum is perhaps a little more toned down that our first choice – a better pick for the more prudish traveler. It’s also the oldest and arguably most successful of its kind in the entire world. Unlike the raunchier (and giggle-inducing) Erotic Museum, it boasts a variety of honest-to-goodness artwork that pays homage to all things sensual and sexual. But in a more “high brow” way.

#3: The Torture Museum

Amsterdam's Torture Museum

It’s certainly not for everyone, but The Torture Museum isn’t actually as disturbing or creepy as it might appear. For those seeking an over-the-top Saw-esque experience, you’ll likely be disappointed. The museum presents many exhibits in an objective, matter of fact manner rather than glorifying or sensationalizing its sordid history. In our opinion, this is a good thing and makes for a very educational walk through the history of torture.

#4: Brilmuseum – Amsterdam Museum of Glasses

Begun generations ago by a rather peculiar family optician, the Brilmuseum is a tribute to all things spectacle and ophthalmology related. Their sheer excitement at regaling visitors with the history of eyewear is embodied in their delightfully charming and incredibly outdated website:

The National Museum of Spectacles allows you to travel through 700 years of art, culture, and history of spectacles.

All this presented to you in two marvellous museum chambers, established in a shattering premises, dating back to 1620!!!

The princely monument of The National Museum of Spectacles Spectacles Shop is situated in the twinkling of an eye’s distance of the Royal Palace! Between the Singel and Herengracht, you will find it in the first of the “nine alleyways”, namely 7 Gasthuismolensteeg.

How awesome is that?

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