Amsterdam, the city of canals, bicycles, and rich artistic heritage, is also home to a treasure trove of museums that are as quirky as they are captivating. Beyond the famous galleries and historic landmarks, there exists a world of eccentric and offbeat museums that will pique your curiosity and leave you with unforgettable memories. In this blog, we’ll embark on a journey through Amsterdam’s weirdest and strangest museums that offer a fresh perspective on art and culture.
The Cat Cabinet: an Amsterdam Museum on and for cats
Have you ever thought that adding some random cats to a museum could make it infinitely more entertaining? The Cat Cabinet in Amsterdam certainly did, and they turned this whimsical idea into a reality. Housed in an old townhouse, this museum is dedicated entirely to feline art and culture. From cat statues and paintings to a mourning register for dearly departed cats, you’ll find it all here. But what sets this place apart is the presence of two live, indifferent cats who roam the premises, giving the entire place an air of regal nonchalance. Visitors often find themselves enchanted by these resident felines, turning their visit into a playful cat-and-mouse game.
STRAAT: the world’s biggest street art museum is in Amsterdam
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of central Amsterdam, hop on a ferry behind the Central Station and cross the waters to the serene Amsterdam Noord. There, at the NSDM Wharf, you’ll discover STRAAT, the world’s largest street art museum, set in an immense old ship hangar. While the debate about whether street art can be true to its roots in a museum rages on, the art itself is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Featuring over 150 monumental works by renowned street artists, STRAAT showcases the captivating beauty and depth of street art. It’s a refreshing departure from the often overly conceptual art you’ll find in contemporary galleries.
NXT Museum: a museum about New Media Art
For a unique and immersive art experience, NXT Museum in Amsterdam North should be on your list. This museum focuses on New Media Art, presenting a world where digital installations come to life. Prepare to be mesmerized by the immersive, trippy exhibits that challenge conventional notions of art. From interactive Chinese games exploring profound questions to mind-bending LED projections and rooms that seem to spin in psychedelic splendor, this museum takes you on an exhilarating journey through new media creativity.
The Museum of the Mind: a trip into someone else’s brain
Hidden within the magnificent Hermitage building, the Museum of the Mind is a sanctuary for Outsider Art. These are works by artists who exist outside the established artistic world, often driven by obsessions or unique mental landscapes. The current exhibition, “For the Love of Art,” presents a chaotic inner world to the outside, ranging from whimsical Pokemon-like figurines to wild drawings filled with conspiracy theories. Visiting this museum is a chance to step into another’s intricate mind, even if you can’t make sense of it all.
Museum Tot Zover: a museum about death
In a small, thought-provoking museum located in a cemetery just outside the city center, Museum Tot Zover delves into the art of normalizing death and the rituals surrounding it. Explore how different cultures and religions approach the subject, and witness old and new forms of mourning and remembrance. You’ll encounter everything from portraits of deceased loved ones to chairs crafted from the bones of the departed, creating an eerie yet strangely comforting atmosphere. As you approach the end of the exhibition, a single coffin awaits you in the dark, inviting you to experience a moment of introspection and silence.
Amsterdam’s strangest museums offer a delightful departure from the traditional. They challenge your expectations, spark your imagination, and leave you with a unique perspective on art and culture. When you’ve explored the canals and galleries, remember to venture off the beaten path to discover these offbeat treasures. In this city of endless surprises, Amsterdam’s eccentric museums are gems waiting to be uncovered. So, embark on a journey of the unusual and embrace the unconventional in the Dutch capital.