A treasure chest of oddities – Amsterdam’s collection of less ordinary museums

A treasure chest of oddities – Amsterdam’s collection of less ordinary museums

How to

spend your short stay in Amsterdam knowing that you’ve made the most of it?

First rule – don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track. While all the major museums

will surely be impressive, there are actually some equally amazing places that

you won’t find in ordinary guidebooks. And here’s our list of a couple of them.

Museum Vrolik

(AMC, Meibergdreef 15)

This is

something for the brave! It is found in the Academic Medical Centre in J0, room

130 and offers free admission, but will you dare to enter? The question is: are

you afraid of ‘exhibits’ like embryos, anatomical abnormalities or human

remains put in jars? Well, even the toughest guys may get the willies when

encountered with a truly impressive (and spooky at the same time) collection of

around 150 zoological and anatomical specimens of malformations, pathological

bones and dental items. Boo!

Museum of Bags and Purses

(Herengracht 573, www


The fun and

quaint Tassenmuseum is a must-see for all handbag and purse lovers. The main

target group involves probably ladies and while gentlemen may not fully

appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the collection, they might enjoy the very

interesting history of the bag, which, after all, went a long way from the late

Middle Ages to the present dat. The featured collection of over 4,000 handbags

and accessories is probably the largest such in the world, making Tassenmuseum

one of the most renowned fashion museums on the planet. Apart from that, it

also showcases works by young designers – and all that in a fantastic canal

house dating back to 1664!

Cat Cabinet

(Herengracht 497, www


If you’re

one of ‘cat persons’, a visit to KattenKabinet is a must on your list. This

place was founded to honour John Pierpont Morgan – the founder’s cat, not the

American financier, of course. The amazing collection of works of art exploring

the theme of the role of cats in culture throughout history includes paintings

(even by Picasso or Toulouse-Lautrec!), posters, sculptures, playbills,

lithographs and much more! But if you think that this place is for cat-lovers

only, you’re barking up the wrong tree, because the building where

KattenKabinet is found is a great place to see itself; and by the way – it

served as a setting for shooting a couple of scenes for

Ocean’s Twelve.

Amsterdam Tattoo Museum (Van Woustraat 78, www)

This place

is a new addition to the map of Amsterdam museums, as it was opened in 2011.

Still, it has gained quick interest due to the content of exhibits displayed

inside. Here you can learn of the whole history of skin art, get to know the

significance of tattooing in different cultures, and see some really

astonishing artifacts from all around the world, like labels, photos, freak

show posters, needles or flashes (ready-made patterns). There are also more

‘drastic’ items on display – like tattooed flesh in jars, mostly containing

human skin, but some pig skin samples are also to be found. With over 40,000 of

objects inside this place, sorted according to geographical areas, Amsterdam

Tattoo Museum is surely a remarkable attraction on the map of Amsterdam