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Ons Lieve Heer op Solder our lord in the attic museum church during Museumnacht 2018
Image from Joris Raaijman

Unusual museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s museums are world-famous and even without having visited the city, most people know about the Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. But did you know about the quirkier, smaller museums? Amsterdam has all sorts of unusual collections - dedicated to cats, fluorescent art, washed-up beach finds and microbes to name just a few! If you’re the kind of person who likes to go off the beaten track, then you should certainly explore some of these more unusual museums, which often have the bonus of being situated in stunning locations.

Nxt Museum

Dit beeld wordt gebruikt voor de bewonerscampagne (2021) en mag alleen voor deze campagne gebruikt worden. Mocht je dit beeld voor andere doeleinden nodig hebben neem dan contact op met de locatie.
Image from Heleen Blanken

The recently opened Nxt Museum is the first exhibition space in the Netherlands dedicated entirely to New Media Art. If you're not sure exactly what that means, think immersive audio-visual projections in a colossal industrial space. The museum showcases experiential pieces that trigger thrilling emotions, abstract stories and incredible sensory reactions, collaborating with creatives and visual artists from around the world - all working at the cutting edge of art and technology.

Nxt Museum | Asterweg 22

Museum Het Schip

Museum Het Schip,  Amsterdamse School architecture.
Image from Merijn Roubroeks

Dive into the whacky architectural style of the Amsterdam School movement at Museum Het Schip. This expressionist building (called "the ship" because of its nautical shape) hosts some fascinating permanent exhibitions about this early 20th-century design movement that draws comparisons to Art Deco.

Museum Het Schip | Oostzaanstraat 45


STRAAT graffiti street art Museum
Image from Mirte Vreemann

This massive industrial complex in NDSM answers the question of what happens when you take urban art off the streets and place it in a gallery context. STRAAT Museum in NDSM is entirely devoted to graffiti and street art, featuring a huge range of works by international artists including large scale murals.

STRAAT Museum | NDSM Plein 1

Museum Tot Zover

Museum Tot Zover exterior
Image from Museum Tot Zover

If you’re interested in how the Dutch approach the inevitability of death, then the Dutch Funeral Museum is just the ticket. Tot Zover offers an array of changing contemporary and historical exhibitions featuring art and photography plus a growing selection of online galleries delving deep into our relationship with death. As befitting a funeral museum it’s located in a cemetery - the only Dutch museum to be – and housed in the former director's residence.

Museum Tot Zover | Kruislaan 12


A man looking at glass cabinet display of bacterias at Micropia Museum
Image from Ernst Wagensveld

They’re as everyday as anything can be, they’re on and in you and you can’t see them. We’re talking microbes and Amsterdam has an entire interactive museum devoted to these fascinating lifeforms. Step into Micropia to learn all about the hundred thousand billion of them sharing your body through engaging exhibitions and educational activities.

Micropia | Artisplein, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40

Cat Cabinet

Het Kattenkabinet interior
Image from Het Kattenkabinet

You might have heard about people being “barking mad”, well you certainly won’t find them at the Cat Cabinet (Kattenkabinet). This feline monument was founded in memory of a frisky tomcat, John Pierpont Morgan, who was the long-time companion of the museum's founder. The collection is dedicated entirely to the role of cats in art and culture throughout history. Even if you’re not cat crazy, then a stroll through the impressive rooms of this beautiful canal house - also used in the film Ocean’s Twelve - is an unexpected treat.

Kattenkabinet | Herengracht 497

Museum Perron Oost

Museum Perron Oost exterior
Image from Museum Perron Oost

With a surface area of just 6 m2, Museum Perron Oost in the Eastern Docklands is perhaps the smallest museum in the world. In 1993, artist and designer Joep van Lieshout transformed the former cattle market area and railway tracks into a miniature park. Since 2013, the museum in the former supervisor's house has told the stories of local residents in the form of theatre, film, dance, music and visual art. The building is so small you can even see the exhibition through the windows.

Museum Perron Oost | Cruquiusweg 11

Museum van de Geest | Dolhuys

Following an extensive redevelopment, the Museum van de Geest (Museum for the Mind) | Dolhuys is located in a former asylum and home for lepers. Built during medieval times, it’s now dedicated to showcasing the work of outsider artists and aims to shed light on the creativity of writers, artists, and scientists with mental illnesses.

More art and culture in Haarlem.

Museum van de Geest | Dolhuys // Schotersingel 2, Haarlem

Below the Surface

The subterranean museum, Below the Surface focuses on all manner of things unearthed by diggers during the construction of the North/South metro line running through the centre of Amsterdam. And it goes way back, we’re talking shells from 114,000-124,000 BC right up to more contemporary finds such as decorative radiator caps, film canisters, Moroccan coins and mobile phones from 2005 when construction began. 700,000 items were found in total, with 9,500 on display between the escalators at Rokin metro station. Archive admirers take note as the Below the Surface website has taken classification to the next level with 134,282 items catalogued with all kinds of fascinating data. Think teeth, thimbles and tiles for starters.

Below the Surface | Rokin metro station

Van Eesteren Museum

Inside the Van Eesteren Museum exhibition
Image from Luuk Kramer

Devoted entirely to architect and urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren, the Van Eesteren Museum in Amsterdam Nieuw-West is a collection of buildings and districts sure to impress architecture enthusiasts. Encompassing pavilions, houses, gardens and entire suburbs it gives insight into van Eesteren’s ambitious plans for the extension of Amsterdam.

Van Eesteren Museum | various locations

Street Art Museum Amsterdam

Street Art Museum Amsterdam (SAMA) is a curated collection of works from internationally recognized street and graffiti artists. The museum’s collection is located outside on the streets and buildings of Nieuw-West and showcases a variety of artistic styles combined with stories about immigration, inclusion, environmental justice and other issues. Tours through the collection provide a unique experience that can be tailored to visitors from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests.

Street Art Museum Amsterdam | Immanuel Kanthof 1

Embassy of the Free Mind

Embassy of the Free Mind interior
Image from Embassy of the Free Mind

The Embassy of the Free Mind is a museum library, where the European culture of free thinking imparts its knowledge to all those who walk through its doors. Housed in the grand 17th-century canal house of the ‘House with the Heads' on the Keizersgracht, this is the place to learn about history, science, art and spirituality and how they’re all connected. It’s also a platform for freethinkers to talk about life irrespective of religion, culture or age.

Embassy of the Free Mind | Keizersgracht 123

The Mouse Mansion

This one’s hard to classify; it’s a shop, a museum and a studio that all have The Mouse Mansion series of books in common. In fact, it’s here where this family affair creates all the sets for the books featuring squeaky characters Sam and Julia. Their crafty handiwork and magical environments will delight those who love all things small and wonderful, especially furry mice.

The Mouse Mansion | Eerste Tuindwarsstrat 1

Pianola Museum

Pianola Museum interior
Image from Herman van Heusden

Located in the Jordaan, the Pianola Museum is home to a collection of pianos that can essentially play themselves with just a little assistance from music recorded on perforated paper rolls. Back in the day this was hi-tech. Along with the self-playing instruments, you’ll find an array of related paraphernalia including a range of pianos, pipe organs, gramophones and phonographs. The library houses some 30,000 music reels and books and the collection includes gramophone records, phonograph rolls and LPs. The museum also stages concerts throughout the year.

Pianola Museum | Westerstraat 106

Juttersmuseum Zandvoort

Juttersmuseum Zandvoort interior
Image from Juttersmuseum Zandvoort

Just outside of Amsterdam in the picturesque beachside town of Zandvoort, you’ll find the Juttersmuseum. This absorbing museum is full of finds that beachcombers have discovered on their early morning walks come rain or shine. Wondering what to expect? Well just about anything. From mammoth teeth to bits of metal from NASA rockets, even dolls and toys and all manner of plastic, all of which relay tales of human history and its relation to the sea.

More art and culture at Amsterdam Beach.

Juttersmuseum | Strandweg 2, Zandvoort


Wevershuis exterior
Image from Arthur van Beveren

Back in the day, two families lived between the looms in Wevershuis (weaver’s house). The mill was in use until the beginning of of the 20th century where cloth for windmills and sails was crafted. Experience the cramped confines for yourself and see where the families lived and worked.

More art and culture in Old Holland.

Wevershuis | Schansend 7, Zaandam