Amsterdam off the beaten track
Amsterdam has many museums that are known all over the world but the Dutch capital also has plenty of places that you could consider hidden treasures. Wander off the beaten path, take a side street, go left where everyone else goes right and discover surprising new exhibitions and galleries.
Whether you are visiting Amsterdam for the second or third time, or you’re here for the first time and want to see more than just the must-see’s, these smaller more focused locations are for you. There is more to this city than you might think.
Dutch Resistance Museum
Across the road from ARTIS, Amsterdam’s Zoo, you can learn more about the Dutch Resistance movement during World War II. Here you can explore the true stories and destinies of everyday people during the Second World War in the Netherlands. One day after the Nazis bombed Rotterdam in May 1940, the Dutch surrendered and Nazis took over the streets until the Netherlands was liberated in May 1945.
What did life look like during the occupation? What choices were people forced to make? Who fought back and who collaborated? At the Dutch Resistance Museum you take a step back in time to find an answer to these questions with the help of the museum’s collection of artifacts collected from the personal belongings of members of the resistance movement. What would you have done?
Red Light Secrets
The streets around the Red Light Secrets – Museum of Prostitution cannot, with a straight face, be called unbeaten. Yet the sights and sounds surrounding the museum mean that some people miss out on a visit to the world’s first Prostitution Museum. Red Light Secrets is housed in a historical 17th-century canal house that was once a brothel in the heart of the Red Light District.
While the sex industry in Amsterdam is very open and visible, it is also shrouded in mystery and secrets. Who chooses to do this work? How much money do they make? What happens when the curtains close? And what does it feel like to sit in a window while people look at you from the street? Inside this museum you’ll see the inside of the prostitute’s rooms, hear their stories and learn all about the secrets of the world’s oldest profession.
Hidden away, on a quiet stretch of the Keizersgracht, you can find Foam, a museum focused on contemporary photography, showing work from both world-famous photographers and up-and-coming talent. The museum usually has three expositions on show at the same time, with on average 16 different exhibitions a year.
The collection of Foam Amsterdam is ever changing. The museum shows a wide variety of genres ranging anywhere from historical pictures and art photography to street photography and fashion photography. Famous names that have had an exhibition at Foam in the past include Helmut Newton, William Klein, Ai Weiwei and André Kertész.
Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum
Though some people come to Amsterdam just for the coffeeshops, few know much, if anything, about Cannabis Sativa L., also known as hemp or marihuana. Located in the heart of the Red Light District, near Dam Square, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum has more than 12,000 objects related to cannabis to enlighten visitors, from paintings to hemp ropes and medicinal cannabis bottles.
The Cannabis Museum in Amsterdam was founded in 1985 and is the oldest museum in the world dedicated to Cannabis Sativa L. Throughout history, cannabis has been part of civilization. From ancient shamanistic rituals to contemporary medicine; from 17th-century shipbuilding to today’s superfood; from hemp fields in the Dutch countryside to the numerous coffee shops in Amsterdam.
Rembrandt House Museum
One street away from the Waterlooplein Market, you can visit the former home studio of Old Dutch Master painter Rembrandt van Rijn, who lived and worked here for over twenty years. It was here that the artist’s most famous painting, the Night Watch, was painted, now on show at the Rijksmuseum. He also etched the most famous prints known to art history here, including The Hundred Guilder Print (1643-49), The Three Trees (1643) and The Three Crosses (1653).
Today, this beautiful 17th-century house functions as the Rembrandt House Museum, where visitors can discover what it was like during Rembrandt’s time and see his sources of inspiration. Besides providing an immersive 17th-century experience, the Rembrandt House Amsterdam also features an impressive collection of drawings and sketches by the artist. Artwork by some of his contemporaries is also on display, as well as some paintings by his mentor, Pieter Lastman.
This is Holland
On the opposite side of the IJ River from the city centre lies a fairly undisturbed part of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Noord. On the northern banks of the river, new and exciting attractions invite you to take the free ferry from Central Station and discover what they have to offer. One of these attractions is THIS IS HOLLAND.
Here you can experience a unique, 5D flight experience over some of the most iconic spots in the Netherlands. Sitting under a huge dome screen, you can let your feet and hands hang free to feel just like a bird. At THIS IS HOLLAND, you will also get a fun and interactive history lesson about the Netherlands and the Dutch countryside.