Within the city of Amsterdam, you’ll find some of the biggest tourist attractions in the Netherlands, but you’ll also find a ton of weird, wild and unusual things to see and do in the city. If you want to get off the beaten track and into some of the quirkiest parts of Amsterdam, there are plenty of opportunities.

    You can check out a museum of pain, filled with Medieval torture devices, see cats on a boat or eat dinner inside an old illegal TV studio. Whatever you’re into, learn about some of the crazy exciting places in Amsterdam that you can visit.

    1

    Electric Ladyland

    See wonders of flourescent artwork

    Electric Ladyland is the first museum in the world dedicated to fluorescent art. Located in the Jordaan neighbourhood of Amsterdam, this small and unique museum is filled with items both natural and manufactured that react under ultraviolet light.

    Electric Ladyland isn’t a regular museum; it’s an interactive experience. The first part of your guided tour explores a fluorescent environment of neon-glowing artwork and sculpture. In contrast, the second half of the tour focuses on fluorescence within the natural world. You’ll see gems, crystals, minerals and other naturally occurring instances of fluorescent materials.

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    Location: Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5, 1015 TB Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Wednesday—Saturday from 4 pm to 6 pm, by appointment only (closed Sunday—Tuesday)

    Phone: +31 (0)20 420 3776

    Map

    photo by ilovebutter (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Micropia

    Learn about the microscopic creatures in our world

    Micropia is a museum that focuses on the important role that microbes play in our daily lives, with a goal of educating the public and establishing a positive view of microbiology. The museum is located in Amsterdam, near famous landmarks like the ARTIS zoo and the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam.

    Within Micropia, you’ll see exhibits containing living microbes, interactive exhibits and virtual and physical representations of microbes. Unique collections include things like the relations to microbes and our health and wellbeing, as well as exhibitions like Mouth to Mouth, which explore the microbes that are exchanged when two people kiss.

    Location: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +31 (0)20 523 3670

    Map

    photo by Eric de Redelijkheid (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    3

    Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum

    Discover the history of cannabis

    The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum explores cannabis and its many uses throughout history, from modern medicine to historical and spiritual uses. The museum is located in De Wallen, Amsterdam, within a historical canal house in the red-light district.

    The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum exhibits include a live cannabis garden in diverse growth stages, collections of clips, roaches and smoking accessories. You’ll also find cannabis artwork displays and historical information on the many uses of hemp, including an antique Bible made from hemp.

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    Location: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 148, 1012 DV Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Hours vary by event

    Phone: +31 (0)20 624 8926

    Map

    photo by LordToran (CC0 1.0) modified

    4

    Poezenboot or Cat Boat

    See wildlife on a floating sanctuary

    The Poezenboot, or Cat Boat, is the world’s only floating animal sanctuary, located within a boat on Amsterdam’s historic canal belt. The sanctuary is free to visit, but be sure to donate to their ongoing animal rescue charity efforts.

    The foundation’s history dates back to the ’60s when a woman in Amsterdam took in a stray mother cat and her kittens. As she found more cats in need of help, she came upon the idea of converting a canal boat, and the Cat Boat concept was born. Today her work continues in the form of a thoroughly modern animal sanctuary aboard a customised houseboat, where you can visit and socialise with the adorable feline residents awaiting adoption.

    Location: Singel 38 /G, 1015 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Monday—Tuesday from 1 pm to 3 pm, Thursday—Saturday from 1 pm to 3 pm (closed Wednesday and Sunday)

    Phone: +31 (0)20 625 8794

    Map

    photo by Jorge Royan (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Tulip Museum

    Explore diverse tulip species

    The Tulip Museum explores the history of Holland’s favourite flower, the tulip. The small speciality museum is located in Amsterdam, close to the landmark Anne Frank House.

    Within the Tulip Museum, you’ll find 6 rooms covering the flower itself, as well as its historical journey from the Ottoman Empire, voyage to the Netherlands and the tulip mania that gripped the region’s 16th and 17th centuries. Within the museum’s gift shop, you’ll find flower-themed treasures and a large collection of bulbs for your own garden.

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    Location: Prinsengracht 116, 1015 EA Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +31 (0)20 421 0095

    Map

    photo by Donald Trung (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Pancake Boat

    Have delicious pancakes on a cruise

    The Pancake Boat is, fortunately, not a boat made of actual pancakes. Instead, it’s a much better and sweeter option, a vessel that serves delicious pancakes while you cruise along the water for a fun sightseeing tour around Amsterdam.

    You can book a variety of tours aboard the breakfast-themed Pancake Boat, with multiple options for sightseeing around the city in various lengths of time. Aboard the boat, you’ll enjoy all you can eat pancakes, with a huge variety of customisable toppings.

    Location: Ms. van Riemsdijkweg 33, 1033 RD Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Hours vary by event

    Phone: +31 (0)20 636 8817

    Map

    photo by Roel Hemkes (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    REM Eiland Restaurant

    Enjoy dinner in a former television studio

    REM Eiland Restaurant is housed within a converted space that was once the platform for the illegally pirated television station, ‘TV Noordzee’. Located in the centre of the Amsterdam Houthavens, the restaurant is perched above the water on a colourful raised platform.

    On the 2nd floor of the platform you’ll find a full bar, outfitted with industrial furnishings and a thematic atmosphere, along with wifi. REM Eiland Restaurant is on the 3rd floor, offering lunch and dinner menus with modern French fare, a robust wine list and great views. Weather permitting, the rooftop terrace is a great spot to hang out, with panoramic views over the harbour and city skyline.

    Location: Haparandadam 45-2, 1013 AK Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Hours vary by event

    Phone: +31 (0)20 688 5501

    Map
    8

    The Torture Museum

    Learn about the grisly history of torture

    The Torture Museum displays a collection of over 40 instruments of pain, with most dating to the Middle Ages when their use as devices of justice was common. The museum is located in Amsterdam near the Bloemenmarkt, on the Singel canal.

    Exhibits within The Torture Museum range from well-known devices like the rack, iron maiden and guillotine, to lesser-known instruments such as the flute of shame, Skold's bridle and the breaking wheel. Each display includes signs and illustrations describing how the devices were used throughout history.

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    Location: Singel 449, 1012 WP Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Hours vary by event

    Phone: +31 (0)20 320 6642

    Map

    photo by PersianDutchNetwork (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    The Embassy of the Free Mind

    Immerse yourself in free-thinking culture

    The Embassy of the Free Mind is a museum and library focusing on the European culture of free-thinking throughout history and studying the connection between God, the cosmos and humans. The museum is housed within the House of the Heads, a historic building in Amsterdam.

    The museum houses over 25,000 books on topics ranging from Hermetica and mysticism to Western esotericism, kabbalah and freemasonry. Personalised general tours of the museum are available, as well as thematic tours, art tours and a free audio tour.

    Location: Keizersgracht 123, 1015 CJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Wednesday—Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday)

    Phone: +31 (0)20 625 8079

    Map

    photo by Sander Petrus (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Hortus Botanicus

    Explore vast botanical gardens

    Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens globally, located in the Plantage district within Amsterdam. The garden’s origins trace back to the 17th century, as a medical herb garden created for use by the city’s doctors and apothecaries.

    Today Hortus Botanicus houses a diverse collection that includes greenhouses and tropical hothouses, expansive gardens and a cafe. Garden collections also include some scarce and endangered species of plants and trees, including the Wollemi Pine, the Ginkgo tree and one of the oldest trees in the Netherlands.

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    Location: Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +31 (0)20 625 9021

    Map

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