Amsterdam’s Torture Museums

Amsterdam’s Torture Museums


you have a penchant for all things creepy, gothic and frankly downright painful

then be sure to pay a visit to either of the city’s torture themed museums –

yes there really are TWO!

You will find both museums of barbaric mortal

misery situated in the heart of the city centre, a short walk away from each

other and perfectly positioned for easy access from our fantastic city

apartments. Diehard fans of gothic fare may wish to explore both locations

although as far as we are aware there is no financially rewarding discount for

such grim dedication.

Both museums depict the gruesome history of

torture through the centuries particularly focussing on the medieval times when

frankly you could be violently punished for just about anything. Most of the

devices described and exhibited here appear to have led to a grisly and painful

death whether the tormentors got the information they required or not.

If you become more than a little anxious at

the suggestion of meagre thumbscrews then neither of these museums will make a

comfortable afternoon’s entertainment. Providing comfort is of course the

absolute opposite of the function of the relics on display. We remain unsure if

any of the frightening, disturbing and eye-watering devices on show are

authentic antiques or reproductions. Either way everything you will see looks

old and alarmingly ‘well-used’.

All the items on display are accompanied

with rather lurid textural descriptions and alarming visual depictions

explaining how and why they were used. No one was ever likely to survive the

likes of the infamous iron maiden – a sarcophagus like creation with hinged

doors and sharp spikes on the inside. It takes pride of place at the Museum of

Medieval Torture Instruments Amsterdam on Damrak however it is possible that it

never actually existed at all in history. There is a theory that it was created

at the very end of 18th century as a hoax. True or false, it

continues to draw a crowd at the museum. Many of the documented gory torture

instruments from the middle ages and beyond were reproduced during the 19th

century. It is possible that they were created for exhibiting to the public and

later snapped up by collectors of the macabre.

Torture was often used as a deterrent as

with the case of the scold’s bridle. This disturbing metal device curved around

the head of the wearer and was locked in place to ensure that they could not

open their mouth to talk…gossip…or nag!

Few visitors will fail to recognise Madame

Guillotine at the Torture Museum on the Singel. You may like to re-enact the

more hands-on version at the Damrak museum.

Here you can pose in a set of stocks whilst a helpful friend can model

alongside, waving a rubber axe as they take your photo. Torture and execution has never been such


The Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments

Amsterdam is the newer of the museums and has only been open for a few years. It

is arguably considerably better value for money than the rather tired and

gloomy (although it is a rather appropriate ambience) Torture Museum on Damrak.

The layout and overall finish are more impressive whilst there are over 100

instruments on display in five distinct areas. A more informative historical

background is provided along with drawings, photos and creepy waxy figures

modelling some of the devices! The museum offers a 20% discount on the entrance

fee if bought online and it is also just a 2 minute walk away from Central


Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments



Damrak 33, 1012 LK, Amsterdam

Opening Hours

: 9.00am – 10.00pm

Entrance fee

: Adults €10.00 (online:

€8.00), Children € 4.00 (online: € 4.00)


+ 31 20 528 5482



Torture Museum


Singel 449, 1012 WP, Amsterdam

Opening hours

: Daily 10.00am – 11.00pm

Entrance fee

: Adults €7.50, Children €



+ 31 20 320 66 42



Visitors who enjoy the city’s torture

museums also love the Amsterdam Dungeon where you can learn all about the

darker history of the city. The tour lasts nearly 2 hours and includes a ride

on an indoor rollercoaster as well as a gloriously spooky gift shop!




Rokin 78, 1012 KW Amsterdam, Netherlands

Opening Hours:

Every day 11.00am – 5.00pm


+31 20 530 8500