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Alternative Museums in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is home to a number of surprises. Here, a museum may not be just a mere collection of art or artefacts from a bygone era.

Check out the Amsterdam Hash, Hemp, and Marijuana Museum for something a little "different." Found in the middle of the RLD, the museum displays a thriving section of marijuana plants in an indoor garden. In one part of the museum, you can learn about cannabis and its history. The information is loaded with facts and is not sensationalized in any way. It discusses the use of hemp in the textile and paper manufacturing industries, the use of marijuana as medicine through the ages, and its use as a recreational drug.

The Amsterdam Torture Museum is in stark contradiction to its neighbour—the Bloemenmarkt floating flower market. Known for being dark and dingy, the museum documents the history of torture through the ages, displaying old prints as well as real torture devices. Here, you'll find the guillotine, spiked Inquisition Chair, rack, and "skullcracker" cap, which were all used at some point by officials of the church or state.

The Verzetsmuseum, or Resistance Museum, brings to life the struggle for resistance of the occupation of the Netherlands. There are written and verbal personal testimonies and an exhibit honouring those who had gone to great lengths for sheltering the movement, including hiding radio transmitters in matchboxes or microfilm in a razor.

The museum also highlights the choices of individuals to be involved in the movement, help when requested, or refuse involvement. No judgments are made about these decisions. Rather, it is meant to highlight the effect of the occupation on the individual.

The Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis is one of the hidden gems of the city. It is run by volunteers and only opens on weekends. Once through the coach house entrance, you'll find yourself in a large garden leading up to the main house. Built in 1687 by rich merchant and city alderman Albert Geelvinck, it maintains four period rooms that tell a different part of the house's history. Here, you'll find 17th century oil paintings and 18th century Chinese and Dutch porcelain, arranged as if the residents had momentarily left the table. There is also a 19th century Adam Style library. The museum is a registered monument and museum, but it is still used by the original owners. Various shows and exhibitions are scheduled at different times of the year.

Madame Tussaud, perhaps, needs no introduction, although the one in Amsterdam appears to have a more historical theme than those in London, New York, and Copenhagen. You'll find the colourful "Spirit of the Dutch" character as you enter, to walk you through the country's history while including the wax figures in the tale. Everyone from Dutch explorers to Dutch painters like Rembrandt are represented. One especially interesting room contains a physical representation of a Master's painting.

Yet another fascinating museum is the Katten Kabinet, or Cat Cabinet. As a cat lover, you simply can't miss this one. It houses a large collection of artwork with cats as a central theme. Japanese artist Tsugouharu Foujita and Russian artist Nicolas Tarkhoff are both represented. The museum features cats in every form, size, shape, and more, showcasing cats in art and culture through the ages.
About the Author
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Amsterdam accommodation rentals & Vacation rentals apartments.
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