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Top 7 Intriguing Museums of Amsterdam

Amsterdam tattoo museum
Photo taken by flickr.com.  Amsterdam tattoo museum

Amsterdam, which exudes freedom and the spirit of art from its every pore, is a city which knows how to engage its visitors with exceptional, intriguing and provocative museums. Apart from tasty dishes, beautiful parks and a wide variety of events – i.e., things that occupy most visitors of other European capitals – Amsterdam also offers creative, sexy and sometimes even creepy museums. While most tourists make sure they visit the museums of Anne Frank and Vincent van Gogh, here we offer you a few others.

1. The Hash, Marijuana and Hemp Museum

Marijuana candies and cookies on sale in one of Amsterdam's coffee shops
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Marijuana candies and cookies on sale in one of Amsterdam's coffee shops

There’s simply no way Amsterdam would not have a hemp museum – after all, smoking marijuana here is legal. In this museum, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the growing and consumption of this narcotic plant. The museum supplies its visitors not only with information about marijuana’s negative health effects, but also about the positive ones, as hemp is used in industry, medicine and many other fields. One of the goals of the expositions is to show how important this narcotic substance was to past civilisations.

2. Tattoo Museum

Amsterdam tattoo museum
Photo taken by flickr.com.  Amsterdam tattoo museum

Another exceptional city museum is dedicated to tattoos. Its expositions show how tattoos differ from continent to continent. From preserved patches of skin to the works of ancient tribes and modern tattoo art – rest assured, here you’ll find more than enough inspiration for your next tattoo. Other exhibits are related to ancient tattooing tools and images of tattooing techniques when pictures were formed by cutting the skin to leave scars. Not for the squeamish!

3. Museum Vrolik

Gerardus Vrolik and his son Willem Vrolik were two 19th-century anatomists interested in abnormal human physiology. During the writing of his 1834 scientific paper on cyclopia, W. Vrolik and his father amassed quite the collection of “cyclop” infants, adults and animals, which marked the museum’s beginning. Now it displays all kinds of bodily anomalies – from embryonic ones to deformed skulls.

These exhibits are being used for genetic research to this day. The museum is for adults only.

4. Torture Museum

Torture Museum in Amsterdam
Photo taken by flickr.com.  Torture Museum in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam’s private Torture Museum is one of those creepy museums that somehow still compel one through their doors. Out of pure curiosity, of course. Here you’ll see a large collection of medieval torture tools and methods. The museums cellar expositions are not just dark and cool, but also filled with all kinds of authentic sounds emitted by tortured people. Another thing that makes one flinch is the series of wax sculptures depicting people undergoing torture. Spilled guts, hot oil, pliers for ripping off tongues and nails… It’s hard to believe that, in Europe, some of these methods were discontinued only 200 years ago.

5. Sex Museum

Amsterdam red light district
Photo taken by Flickr.com/creativecommons.  Amsterdam red light district

Similarly to the marijuana museum, it would be stranger if this museum did not exist in Amsterdam – its existence is compelled by the Red Light District and the general environment of this free city. The museum, located near the central station, has a vast collection of erotic art and accessories. Even though this popular museum is quite controversial, here you will not just see a number of erotic images, different sexual positions and implements, but will also learn a lot of useful information. To get in, you have to be at least 16 years of age.

6. The Dutch Funeral Museum

Yup, this exists in Amsterdam, too. The museum is mostly concerned with Dutch funeral traditions, the fear and philosophy of death, and faith. Here you’ll see a number of traditions and a few different approaches to death and the deceased. You can also visit the nearby cemetery and park.

7. The Museum of Fluorescent Art

Museum of fluorescent art
Photo taken by flickr.com.  Museum of fluorescent art

This colourful museum – the only such museum in the world – was founded in 1999. Nick Padalino, an enthusiast of fluorescent art, created a true wonderland of lights, where you can not only buy paintings that glow in the dark, but also take a walk around halls filled with glowing minerals.

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