By Rachael Funk
What is Netherlands tourism if not bicycles, charming villages, and a tulip or two? Such a picturesque region is sure to be chock full of pleasant ways to pass the day. Well, yes. But if your ideal trip includes something a little more sordid than canal tours, you're still in the right place! Whether you're a committed fan of the macabre or only take occasional delight, these attractions are sure to make your mom say, "What? Ew."
1. Museum Vrolik
Located in the University of Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center, this collection of human deformities is not for the squeamish. Started from Gerardus Vrolik’s private teratological collection, other collections have been added as well, including animal specimens, a dental collection, and a collection of bone pathology.
10 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Friday
Museum Vrolik Academic Medical Center
2. The Torture Museum
Amsterdam's Torture Museum provides an ominous journey into history. As you creep through the dark rooms, you will learn about medieval devices and how they were used. For extra bold visitors, some exhibits are interactive.
10 AM - 11 PM, Open daily
The Torture Museum
3. Nieuwe Spiegelstraat
This street in Amsterdam is lined with antique shops, each dedicated to its own collection of oddities. Search through old apothecary jars, nautical instruments, or dissection kits to your heart’s content! You never know what treasures you’ll find here.
Vary by shop
4. Mummies of Wieuwerd
In the small village of Wieuwerd, a mystery was discovered under a church in 1765. Carpenters working in the church discovered a crypt holding 11 coffins. Inside, each of the bodies had become mummified. Several of them have since been stolen, but four bodies and several birds, which were also unexplainably preserved, remain.
1 PM - 4:30 PM, Monday - Saturday
In June, July, and August, visiting hours are 10 AM - 12 PM and 1 PM - 4:30 PM.
5. The House with the Bloodstains
This house overlooking the Amstel Canal is sometimes known as Gijsbert Dumber Huis. The story is that after Dutch diplomat Coenraad van Beuningen lost his fortune to recession, he went mad. At the height of his insanity, he began scrawling symbols and signs onto the façade of the building. No one knows for sure, but whispers in the town said he was painting with his own blood. Though mostly faded, if you pass by this private residence, you may still be able to see the stains on the wall.
This is a private residence, please do not enter
Amsterdam, 1017 AJ
Located in Veenhuizen, the National Prison Museum provides an interactive education of crime and punishment in the Netherlands between the 1600s and today. Originally started as a place to send the poor and jobless for reform, it soon became a penal colony. Two prisons are still functioning, so don’t wander too far from the group.
10 AM - 5 PM, Tuesday - Sunday
Oude Gracht 1
9341 AA Veenhuizen
7. Museum de Waag
Better known as Witches Weighhouse, this museum in Oudewater is a charming relic to defiance. Centuries ago, it was believed that witches weighed next to nothing (ergo the ability for broomstick flight) and could identified by weighing them. The Witches Weighhouse, in its refusal to be swept up in witch hunt mania, would find each accused witch too heavy to fly and send the accused right back home without sentencing. Today, you can be weighed on the original oak scales and, assuming you are not a witch, receive a certificate as proof.
11 AM - 5 PM, Tuesday - Sunday
3421 AC Oudewater