located within the heart of the city centre and just minutes away from the
bustling Dam Square, the Amsterdam Dungeon allows visitors the opportunity to
journey back in time and explore some of the city’s more terrifying
history. Live actors, fantastic special
effects and a roller coaster ride make this attraction an interactive, exciting
and, at times, quite frightening experience which should not be missed.
about a city’s history is always something that I enjoy, but it is always
refreshing to hear about the more sinister side too, something which the
Amsterdam Dungeon does perfectly. Owned
by Merlin Entertainment, the same company who own Madame Tussauds, the
Amsterdam Dungeon boasts ‘an interactive 80 minute journey into 500 years of
Amsterdam’s horrible history’ – a statement that compelled me to find out
more. Making my way through Dam Square,
I felt a real sense of excitement and anticipation. A few minutes later I had arrived at the
dungeon and that is where my journey began.
group was met by the ‘Gatekeeper’, a very scary looking person who led us to
the start of our tour – the ‘Descent’.
We all huddled into an old fashioned, cage type elevator which took us
deep underground and into the dungeons.
On the way down we were told stories about the Plague and other terrible
diseases. At this point, as the light
started to fade and the strange smells of the underground started to get
stronger, I remember wondering if I had made mistake and should have stuck to
the ‘traditional’ history of the city.
My thoughts were thankfully short lived as the elevator reached an
abrupt halt and we emerged into the ‘Torture Chamber’.
special effects within the chamber were very cleverly put together – the smell
of rotting flesh and the cries for help sent shivers down my spine. It was here that we met the ‘Torturer’, who
managed to effortlessly blend feelings of fear with humour whilst he described
his work. The next stop was the VOC bar,
where we were introduced to the evil ‘Magician’ who was responsible for
recruiting sailors onto the fateful VOC Batavia. Our group were his next victims, as we found
ourselves on board the overcrowded and revolting 17th century
vessel. Here we learned about the awful
illnesses and dreadful conditions that the crew had to endure.
the ship, we continued along into an operating theatre where we relived the
autopsy of the renowned criminal known as Black John. I must admit that the vile smell at this
point was quite pungent, but added to the authenticity of the story we were
being told. From here we were taken to
the dungeon’s court room which offered an interactive and educational insight
into the history of the judicial system.
We were then led into the house of a condemned witch – Meynes Cornelis,
the scariest part of the journey for me, as it is here that you encounter an
eerie appearance of a ghostly figure. I
did actually let out a little scream at that point, much to my group’s
to say, I was quite relieved to find my way out of the witch’s house and into
the ‘Labyrinth’, a maze of dark streets which told the story of illness and
suffering. After finding our way through
the confusing passageways, we came to the final part of the tour – the ‘Grim
Reaper’, a thrilling roller coaster ride which is the
only way to escape the dungeon. I’m
pleased to say that we all made it out in one piece and that I thoroughly
enjoyed the experience (even if I was petrified at times). More information, including online ticket
sales, can be found on the Amsterdam Dungeon website – www.thedungeons.com/amsterdam/en.