Culture + Style

Microbes, Cats and Clogs? Expand Your Mind at Amsterdam’s Wackiest Museums

For most people a trip to Amsterdam includes a requisite visit to a coffee shop and a stroll along its endless tangle of canals. But to get a true sense of this Dutch city, it’s worth paying a visit to some of Amsterdam’s museums — especially the wacky ones. And there are plenty to choose from.

From museums focused on cats, clogs, fluorescents and everything in between, there’s no shortage of weird museums to suit any interest, no matter how peculiar. Here are five museums worth visiting.

Electric Ladyland

amsterdam museums
You might get lit at Amsterdam’s Electric Ladyland museum of fluorescent art. (Photo: Alamy)

Electric Ladyland dubs itself “the first museum of fluorescent art,” and it’s easy to see why. With bright, eye-popping colors around every corner, the museum is as close as most people will ever get to experiencing an LSD trip.

Named after the 1968 Jimi Hendrix album of the same name, the museum offers tours that include an interactive trek of its psychedelic gallery, where every square inch of space is painted in a riot of neon colors amplified by black lights.

The small museum also houses an extensive assortment of fluorescent minerals, paintings and other artwork. Tame, this museum is not.

Clog Museum

amsterdam museums
Pay homage to the iconic wooden shoe. (Photo: Alamy)

Located 10 miles north of the city in the town of Zaandam, the Clog Museum explores the country’s most famous footwear: wooden clogs.

Commonly worn by laborers, including fishermen, carpenters and farmers, clogs have remained a constant article of attire for the Dutch for centuries and are often the first thing visitors think of when visiting Holland.

The museum’s collection includes clogs painted in a variety of colors and carved with intricate patterns, as well as a one-of-a-kind pair bedazzled in rhinestones. (Admission is free.)

Artis Micropia

Microbes are all around us, from traces of E. coli in raw meat to fungus flourishing in damp shower stalls at your local gym. The only problem is that you can’t actually see them with the naked eye. Enter the Artis Micropia, the only museum in the world dedicated to microbes.

Channel your inner scientist and see firsthand what’s going on in the world from a microscopic level by peering into one of the museum’s many microscopes or examining a wall of more than 100 petri dishes containing different microbes.

The museum also features an in-house lab where scientists work daily to maintain the collection.

KattenKabinet

amsterdam museums
Cat lovers only, please. (Photo: Alamy)

The art collection at KattenKabinet (or “Cat Cabinet”) serves as a who’s who of the world’s most recognizable and respected artists, including Rembrandt, Picasso and Théophile Steinlen. The only catch? All the artwork on display here is devoted entirely to cats.

The comprehensive assemblage of all things feline includes numerous photographs, sculptures, lithographs, posters, playbills and even a set of printed dollar bills that once belonged to the late financier J. P. Morgan featuring a cat’s portrait in place of George Washington.

Fun fact: The text “In God We Trust” on each bill is replaced with the words “We Trust No Dog.”

Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum

amsterdam museums
Give a nod to Amsterdam’s historic role in the world of cannabis. (Photo: Alamy)

Amsterdam has long been the world capital of cannabis culture, so it should come as no surprise that the city has a museum dedicated to the topic.

Visitors can browse through the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum‘s ever-expanding collection, which contains 12,000 cannabis-related items, including antique tools used for hemp processing, pipes collected from around the world, 19th-century medicinal cannabis bottles, hemp fiber art and sculptures.