Below the Surface
The newest museum on the block, or should that be under the block, is Below the Surface. Its focus is on all manner of things unearthed by diggers during the construction of the newly opened 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 cannisters, Moroccan coins and mobile phones from 2005 when construction began. In all 700,000 items were found, with 9,500 on display at the new Rokin metro station. Archive admirers take note, the new 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. Rokin metro station. Image: Harold Strak.
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. Kruislaan 12.
The Museum of Bags and Purses
Let’s face it, we’d be lost without the humble bag, so little wonder it is the focus of this fascinating museum located in a majestic 17th century canal house. Tracking the history of the bag from Medieval times through to now, the Museum of Bags and Purses uncovers trends through the ages, showcases materials and manufacturing techniques and highlights various customs and uses. The collection includes over 5,000 bags including Madonna’s Versace bag among many, many others. Herengracht 573.
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 interactive museum devoted to them. Step into Micropia to learn all about the hundred thousand billion of them sharing your body through engaging exhibitions and educational activities. Artisplein, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40. Image: Micropia, Maarten van der Wal.
Just outside of Amsterdam in picturesque and beachside 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. Strandweg 2, Zandvoort. Image: Bert Mutter.
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. 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 architects. Encompassing pavilions, houses, gardens and entire suburbs it gives insight into van Eesteren’s ambitious plans for the extension of Amsterdam.Various locations. Image: Luke Kramer.
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, 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. Cat Cabinet, Herengracht 497.
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. Image: The Mouse Mansion © 2018 Studio Schaapman by Harry Brieffies
‘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.