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
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
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 working at the cutting edge of art and technology.
Nxt Museum | Asterweg 22
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.
Museum for the Mind | 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
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
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
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
Van Eesteren Museum
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
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
‘The world’s first museum of fluorescent art’, the Electric Ladyland is a tiny basement museum dedicated to all things fluoro. Owned by an extremely optimistic geologist with a passion for rocks and naturally occurring fluorescent minerals, the museum displays a permanent collection of fluorescent minerals, fluorescent artwork from the 1950s and other glowing artefacts. There’s even a large-scale fluorescent environment, where visitors can temporarily become a part of the art themselves.
Electric Ladyland | Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5
Located in the Jordaan, the Pianola Museum (in Dutch) 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
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.
Juttersmuseum | Strandweg 2, Zandvoort
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 mindmills and sails was crafted. Experience the cramped confines for yourself and see where the families lived and worked.
Wevershuis | Schansend 7, Zaandam
Looking for more museums to visit in Amsterdam? Check out Amsterdam's major museums.