Torture Museum, Amsterdam

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Main entrance of Torture Museum, Amsterdam

The Torture Museum, Amsterdam is a small museum in Amsterdam. Located near the flower market (Bloemenmarkt) which is overlooking the Singel canal. It's noted as one of the world's most unusual museums.[1]It also is a popular museum for tourists,[2][3][4] the torture museum is one of the 50 museums in Amsterdam.[5] A second museum related to the subject of torture in Amsterdam is the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments.[6] This second museum has a different layout and is located in Damrak 33, close to the central station. The two museums are not connected.

Museum Layout[edit]

External sign for the Torture Museum, Amsterdam

The museum is a maze of small, dark rooms. Each room houses one or two torture devices, some are behind glass but many are situated in the room and can be touched. Each device is accompanied with an enlarged image from an old book or article featuring that device in use and a description of that device and how and why it was used. All of the articles are in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish, for the diverse range of people who visit the museum.[7] The dark lighting and theatrical design of the museum lightens the otherwise somber mood.[8]

Articles on display[edit]

Flute of Shame displayed at the Torture Museum in Amsterdam.

The museum features a variety of interesting devices, from well known objects like the Guillotine, the rack and the stocks, to lesser known objects like thumb screws and the flute of shame. Other objects housed in the museum include the iron maiden, skull crusher, judas chair, Catherine Wheels and Scold's bridle. Some of the devices are genuine and antique, but many are modern reconstructions from old texts or books.[9]


The museum, whilst small has a large influence. The museum regularly appears in lists of 'the top weird museums'[1][10] but also is regularly visited and cited in regards to the museum's extensive range of torture devices,[11][12] many of which now inspire humor[13] or become part of pop culture.[14][15][16] Several books mention the torture museum, including Torture.[17]

Visiting the Museum[edit]

Opening hours are 10 a.m. 11 p.m. daily, admission is €7,50 for adults and €4,00 for children. The museum does not offer any kind of student discount and does not accept museum passes. The museum contains a wide range of information on the history of torture and the use of torture devices, and has a variety of educational programs and tours.[18]


  1. ^ a b 'The world's most unusual museum' The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  2. ^ 'torture museum review' Yelp. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  3. ^ Amsterdam. Script. 2012. p. 39. ISBN 9788866146018. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  4. ^ 'torture museum NYTimes' NYTimes. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  5. ^ "Amsterdam museums". Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  6. ^ Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Torture museum Amsterdam Mydestination review". Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  8. ^ "the wandering Nomad Amsterdam torture museum". Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Torture Museum Amsterdam". Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  10. ^ 'World’s Creepiest Attractions' Check My City. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  11. ^ 'Amsterdam Torture Museum'. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  12. ^ 'Top 10 Medieval Torture Devices'. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  13. ^ 'Who should wear the Flute of Shame?'. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  14. ^ 'Iron Maiden'. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  15. ^ 'Judas cradle pop culture'.
  16. ^ 'Brazen Bull pop culture'
  17. ^ Torture. University of Pennsylvania Press. 1996.
  18. ^ "torture museum education". Retrieved 29 May 2013.

External links[edit]