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Unique Museums in Amsterdam

Updated on April 9, 2013
Visiting Amsterdam? Stray off the beaten path and add some unique museums to your itinerary!
Visiting Amsterdam? Stray off the beaten path and add some unique museums to your itinerary! | Source

Off the Beaten Path in Amsterdam

Any tourist to Amsterdam will visit the city's major big museums--the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, the Anne Frank House--and those are a must-see! But the city also offers a number of quirky, smaller museums that will pop up in your travel reminisces for years to come.

Try traveling off the beaten trail a little to visit the Katten Kabinet (a museum dedicated entirely to cat art, some by masters such as Picasso), the Tassenmuseum (a museum dedicated to the history of the handbag, and the Museum Willet-Holthuysen, where you can get a glimpse of what life in a canal house was like in the late 1600s.

The Katten Kabinet in Amsterdam will appeal to both feline lovers and to those who appreciate art by masters such as Picasso and Rembrandt.
The Katten Kabinet in Amsterdam will appeal to both feline lovers and to those who appreciate art by masters such as Picasso and Rembrandt. | Source

The Katten Kabinet

Whether you're a fan of our feline friends or of great painters and artists, you'll find something to love in the Katten Kabinet, a museum dedicated entirely to cat art. The founder wanted to memorialize his beloved cat, and thought the best way to do so was to open this museum! (In fact, he and his family still live upstairs, and occasionally a cat will wander into the museum itself.)

There's a Grizzabella costume from the musical "Cats," a mummified cat, and paintings by such greats as Picasso and Rembrandt. Paintings, statues, and other decorative arts are packed into every corner, so you'll want to take your time exploring.

The Katten Kabinet museum is located at Herengracht 497.

The Tassenmuseum--the world's largest collection of handbags and purses--spans from the 1500s to the present day.
The Tassenmuseum--the world's largest collection of handbags and purses--spans from the 1500s to the present day. | Source

The Tassenmuseum

The men on your trip might roll their eyes at this suggestion--but the Tassenmuseum, a museum of handbags and purses, is actually fascinating! It has 4,000 purses and handbags, the earliest dating all the way back to the 1500s, and takes you through the history of what is both an art form and a practical necessity.

From centuries-old coinpurses to high-end couture clutches, there's something in the museum to interest everyone, and the English-language panels provide interesting, succinct history while you browse through the collection.

The Tassenmusem is located at 573 Herengracht--you can swing by right after visiting the Katten Kabinet!

The beautiful gardens at the Museum Willet-Holthuysen, a canalhouse from the 1600s.
The beautiful gardens at the Museum Willet-Holthuysen, a canalhouse from the 1600s. | Source

Museum Willet-Holthuysen

Amsterdam is a picturesque city--as you wander along the canals, you'll be in awe of the beautifully preserved townhomes lining the water. (And you'll probably get more than a few peeks inside--the inhabitants aren't too concerned with using curtains to shut out the gawking tourists.)

If you decide you'd like to explore one, head to the Museum Willet-Holthuysen, built for Jacob Hop, Amsterdam's mayor at the time, in 1685. It's exquisitely furnished in that period's style, and boasts not only a large collection of art but also a meticulously kept garden.

You will also have access to a kitchen, a bedroom, the "blue room" (where the men hung out), a sitting room, and a sun room. A short informational video gives you background on the house and its wealthy inhabitants, and other panels throughout the museum give you more information should you want it.

The Museum Willet-Holthuysen is located at 605 Herengracht (perhaps your third stop after the Katten Kabinet and the Tassenmuseum...).


More Unique Museums in Amsterdam

You won't lack for interesting museum experiences in Amsterdam! The adventurous or inquisitive traveler may also want to check out these small but unique museums:

  • The Houseboat Museum
  • The Tropenmuseum (Tropical Museum)
  • The Hash, Marijuana, and Hemp Museum
  • The Minature Museum
  • Museum Van Loon

Of course, don't skip the larger museums or important monuments--but if you have extra time, choose a few of the quirkier collections and drop by; you won't be disappointed. (Also check out the revolving card racks in your hotel--many of them have discount coupons for the smaller museums, and some of the coupons can be redeemed for a small souvenir at the museum).

Quirky Museums in Amsterdam

A
Tassenmuseum:
Herengracht 573, 1017 CD Amsterdam, The Netherlands

get directions

B
Katten Kabinet:
Herengracht 497, 1017 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

get directions

C
Museum Willet-Holthuysen:
Herengracht 605, 1017 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands

get directions

Comments

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    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR

      SaffronBlossom 

      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you! If I had to pick one it probably would have been the Katten Kabinet...such a neat idea even if you don't love cats. :)

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very informative hub. I hope I can visit one of them. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!

      Prasetio

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