The Cat Cabinet Museum, copyright Jorge Royan, via Wikimedia Commons
Move over, Rijksmuseum. Step aside, Barney’s Coffeeshop. These 6 unusual attractions will give you an insider’s look at Amsterdam most tourists never dreamed of.
1. The Cat Cabinet Museum
If you have a fondness for felines, pussyfoot on over to this cathouse, created in honor of John Pierpont Morgan (the founder’s pet, not to be confused with the American fat cat). The Katten Kabinet, as it’s known in Dutch, is full of posters, sculptures, drawings, and paintings of adorable furballs.
2. The Museum of Bags and Purses
Photo by Bert Knottenbeld.
Housed in a historic canal house, this collection of more than 5,000 items dates back to the 16th century and includes purses that once belonged to Madonna and Margaret Thatcher. (Fun fact: The oldest purse on display was worn by a man.)
By Goldstein lab – tardigrades
Just next door to Amsterdam’s acclaimed Artis Royal Zoo, this museum is dedicated to the two-thirds of all life that is invisible — microorganisms too small to be seen with the naked eye. It’s teeming with fascinating information about these surprisingly beautiful creatures (our favorite is the cuddly-creepy tardigrade, or “water bear” — the only animal that can survive in outer space).
4. The John & Yoko Suite
By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989
In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a week-long “bed-in” at the Amsterdam Hilton in protest of the Vietnam War. Today, Suite 702, where the couple stayed, contains photos, a guitar, song lyrics, and other memorabilia approved by Yoko herself. It can be reserved for about $2,000 per night.
5. The Museum Vrolik
Named for its founders, a team of father-and-son anatomy professors, this display of preserved skeletons, body parts, fetuses, and other oddities assembled in the 19th century is not for the fainthearted.
6. Dutch Funeral Museum (website in Dutch only)
Far more palatable is this interesting small museum on the grounds of a turn-of-the-century municipal cemetery. The room with seven coffins illuminates the funerary traditions of the Netherlands’ diverse religions and cultures: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, Creole, and Hindu; other exhibitions explore how we remember our dead and our emotions toward the final stage of life.
By the way, there are still a few cabins left on our Dutch & Flemish Landscapes cruise. It includes an afternoon at leisure in the Dutch capital, during which you may want to visit some of these quirky places.
If you liked this post, you might also like our post about unusual food museums around the world. Wait ’til after lunch to read it, though!
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