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Amsterdam's lesser-known museums

Date: 04 Dec 2017

Of course, we don’t need to remind you of the Rijksmuseum, nor the presence of the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum or the Anne Frank House – all of which are renowned by tourists and locals alike. So, the thoughts it would be much more useful to give you a list of unknown, unorthodox or patently strange museums that are well worth a visit after you’ve ticked the better-known ones off your list.

 

 

Museum of Bags and Purses

Behind every bag, there’s a story. The Museum of Bags and Purses highlights the development of the bag from the Middle Ages until today in the luxuriousness of a 17th-century canal house. Admire bags that once belonged to Margaret Thatcher, Madonna and more than 5,000 historic pieces, timeless classics and fresh, young-designer models. Herengracht 573, www.tassenmuseum.nl/en, open daily from 10:00 to 17:00 with the exception of public holidays, entrance for adults €12.50.

 

 

Architecture Centre Amsterdam

Naturally, an architecture centre needs to be housed in an architectural masterpiece. Designed by René van Zuuk, the ARCAM is worth visiting for its architectural splendour alone. Enthusiasts can find out more about architecture and urban development in Amsterdam through various alternating exhibitions. Prins Hendrikkade 600, www.arcam.nl/en, Tuesday to Sunday from 13:00 to 17:00 with the exception of public holidays, free entrance.

 

 

Amsterdam Pipe Museum

Don’t misunderstand us – we’re not suggesting you to smoke. Clay pipes, porcelain pipes, Pre-Columbian pipes, peace pipes, tobacco curiosities, packaging and prints – the Amsterdam Pipe Museum showcases the largest collection of pipes and their associated articles in the world. This smoky private collection is in a beautiful canal house between the Leidseplein and the Rijksmuseum. Prinsengracht 488, www.pipemuseum.nl, Monday to Saturday from 12:00 to 18:00 with the exception of public holidays, entrance for adults €10.

 

Electric Ladyland

A museum filled with fluorescent art. Why not? Delve into an altogether different world of the psychedelic, dreamy kind. You as the visitor become part of the work of art during a tour of this fluorescent space. Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, www.electric-lady-land.com, Wednesday to Saturday from 14:00 to 18:00, note: only on appointment via electricladyland.appointy.com.

 

 

Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder

There’s a very special museum in the centre of the red light district. A uniquely well-preserved canal house from the Dutch Golden Age, recognised as a UNESCO monument and accessible to the public. The living quarters, kitchens and bedsteads are all in their original state. Via creaking wooden stairs, you enter the centrepiece of the museum; the secret clandestine church, commissioned by the wealthy Catholic merchant Jan Hartman (1619 – 1668), the building’s owner of the time. When the church was built, public Catholic celebrations were officially forbidden in the Netherlands. Luckily, this is no longer the case, so feel free to say a quick prayer before descending down the narrow, steep stairs.

Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38, www.opsolder.nl/en, Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, Sunday from 13:00 to 18:00, entrance for adults €10.

 

 

Museum Willet-Holthuysen

Driving, walking or sailing past the stately canal houses of Amsterdam, you must occasionally wonder what people used to live like here. Where did inhabitants receive their VIP guests, stall their carriages, and what did they adorn their many-metres-high walls with? The incredibly wealthy Louise Willet-Holthuysen donated her residential home to the inhabitants of Amsterdam after her death in 1895. Catch a glimpse inside the lives of this classy lady and her art-collecting husband, dance in the ballroom, view the kitchen and admire the symmetrical French-style garden. Herengracht 605, www.willetholthuysen.nl/en, Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00 with the exception of some public holidays, entrance for adults €9.

 

 

Outsider Art Museum

Outsider art is made by people with a mental and/or physical disability. This art movement gained considerable attention after the First World War. Artists such as Salvador Dalí, Karel Appel and Asger Jorn were inspired by it. In cooperation with Het Dolhuys Haarlem and healthcare institution Cordaan, De Hermitage has created a space where we can enjoy the special, often colourful works of art originating from this movement. Amstel 51, www.outsiderartmuseum.nl/en, daily from 10:00 to 17:00 with the exception of several public holidays, entrance for adults € 12.50.

 

 

Pianola Museum

Self-playing pianos remain an odd phenomenon. In the Jordaan, a museum has been entirely dedicated to this special musical instrument. There are frequent concerts in this atmospheric museum. Westerstraat 106, www.pianola.nl, Friday to Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00, entrance for adults €9.

 

 

Museum Vrolik

What we do we look like on the inside? How are our organs and body parts constructed and where exactly are they within our bodies? How do the muscles and blood vessels in your lower arm run? What do tonsils look like and what size are your ossicles? These are the kind of questions you can get answers to in Museum Vrolik, which centres on the structure and development of the human body and is located in the Academic Medical Centre. You might have to gather all your courage to see all those organs in formaldehyde and neatly set-up skeletons, but the experience will certainly be educational. Meibergdreef 15, www.amc.nl/web/AMC-website/Museum-Vrolik-EN/Museum-Vrolik.htm, Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00, free entrance.

 

 

Dutch Resistance Museum

The Netherlands was occupied by a hostile country that wanted to exclude particular population groups. What did the Dutch do? During the Second World War, many people actively resisted Nazi Germany. In the Dutch Resistance Museum, you can see, hear and read more about their resistance. While strolling through the exhibition, you gain an idea of the daily and extraordinary lives of the people who, often at risk of their own lives, stood up for their fellow men. Many special pieces can be observed, amongst which, an accordion that a resistance fighter used to transport coupons, disguise glasses and fake identity documents. Plantage Kerklaan 61, www.verzetsmuseum.org/museum/en, Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 17:00, entrance for adults € 10 (€ 11 starting in 2018).

 

Visiting museums at a discounted rate

Are there many museums you’d like to visit? If so, one of the following discount systems might be advantageous for you:

Amsterdam Holland Pass: www.hollandpass.com

I amsterdam City Card: www.iamsterdam.com/city-card

Museumkaart: amsterdamtourist.info/tips/amsterdamdiscount-cards/museumkaart/

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