Off the beaten path
Amsterdam is home to amazing museums filled with beautiful works that will take your breath away, like The Potato Eaters by Vincent van Gogh and The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer. But there are many lesser-known museums that are worth your time, too. Often less crowded than their world-famous counterparts, they showcase unique curiosities and special collections you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. And best of all, admission is free or discounted with your City Card!
The Museum of Bags and Purses
Tucked away in a canal house in the old city centre, the Museum of Bags and Purses is a must for fashion-lovers, but will delight anyone with an appreciation of beautiful things. The stunning collection was assembled by a husband and wife over many years and includes beaded antique clutches, glittering wristlets and bags by the likes of Chanel and Gucci. When you’re done browsing, stop by the café for high tea and tuck into finger sandwiches and sweets.
The Cat Cabinet
If you’re obsessed with Pusheen, Grumpy Cat and adorable kitten videos on YouTube, don’t miss the Cat Cabinet! This one-of-a-kind museum is situated in a beautiful home (and the owner still lives upstairs) and features a purr-fect collection of cat art and objects, including prints by Picasso, vintage advertising pieces and a mummified kitty from ancient Egypt. There are also a few resident felines who wander through the rooms and may let you give them a nuzzle.
Museum Tot Zover (Funeral Museum)
Death and dying are openly explored at this new museum in De Nieuwe Ooster cemetery. The fascinating exhibits look at the way people pass away and mourn their loved ones, and visitors learn about the intricacies of Jewish, Islamic and Chinese funeral rites. Take time to see the death masks and urns before viewing the collection of miniature hearses and learning how a body is cremated. Though this is heavy subject matter, it couldn’t be handled better.
The world’s only museum dedicated to microbes, Micropia is part of the Artis Zoo. You’ll learn all about the microscopic life forms that surround us everywhere we go, and the role they play in health, technology and science. Captivating exhibits reveal how microbes can help scientists find eco-friendly replacements for plastic, be used to create tasty cheese and protect or threaten our well-being. Afterwards, drop by the zoo and check out some much larger creatures, including gorillas and lions.
The Dutch Costume Museum
Learn about traditional dress at the Dutch Costume Museum, which is housed in a 17th-century building on a leafy stretch of the Herengracht. The pieces on display are truly stunning and showcase the legacy of craftsmanship behind the ornate dresses, shirts and other garments that were once a common site throughout the Netherlands. Afterwards, you can enjoy coffee and cake at the café and dress up to have your photo taken for a reasonable fee.