See things you didn’t even know you wanted to see.
Amsterdam is full of famous museums that we’ve all visited at one time or another, like the Rijksmuseum, and they’re fantastic places. However, if you’ve lived here for a while or perhaps you’re looking for something you haven’t seen before, you’ll need to venture beyond these well-known places and into the more idiosyncratic of Amsterdam’s many museums. Here are our favourite museums to explore for some surprising knowledge and a fresh take on the city.
1. Pianola Museum
📍Westerstraat 106 1015 MN
You don’t have to be musically minded to find this museum fascinating. Here there are 50 self-playing pianos from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. They’re genuinely very interesting to look at, and pianolas were once popular in Europe. Visit the website to learn more about the museum. You need to call ahead and make an appointment to visit.
2. The Totalitarian Art Gallery
📍Singel 87, 1012 VG
If you’re a bit of a history buff then this little museum in the basement of an antique shop is for you. Here they have a collection of artifacts and propaganda from different regimes, including the fascist regime of the ’30s and ’40s, mixed in with Soviet propaganda, also mainly from the ’30s. It’s more of a gallery than a museum because there is not a great deal of context given, so we’d advise entering with an open mind and also leaving with an open mind.
3. Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica
📍Keizersgracht 123, 1015 CJ
Ever read a novel by Dan Brown? Well then, you might recognise some of the ideas hidden in the pages of the books at Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica because Dan Brown was so inspired by the books here that he donated $300,000 to the library. The main focus here is on Christian-Hermeticism, and you’ll find the first, illustrated version of Dante’s Divine Comedy here.
4. Museum Tot Zover
📍124 Kruislaan, 1097 GA
De Nieuwe Ooster, the largest cemetery in Amsterdam, could be considered an unlilely location for a museum. However, this museum focusses on death. Yes, it’s not the most joyful of subjects but this museum aims to explore how different cultures deal with death, and it really is very interesting. The website is fantastic, so take a look if you want to visit.
5. Bijbels Museum
📍Herengracht 366-368, 1016 CH
The Bijbels Museum focusses on all things Judeo-Christian, and there is so much to see. Fans of theology will be fascinated by the collection of artwork, old copies of the Bible and Tanakh, and other exhibitions that stimulate curiosity and interest in Judeo-Christian religious history. Check out the website to learn more about the museum.