If you find yourself in Amsterdam you're going to be confronted with several things that we don't commonly find in England, and this Sex Museum is one of them.
The Sex Museum is a cheap attraction compared to many others in the city, but it's also quite small and full of rowdy groups of youngsters finding every mention of a body part absolutely hilarious. It's also slightly shadowed with similar groups of people using this visit as an experience to gloat about sexual experiences they themselves might have been in while in Amsterdam. If you can look past this you'll probably find something interesting here to look at, but it's a quick visit.
The route around the museum and the layout doesn't particularly lend itself to the quantities of people that go in there at once and there are several bottlenecks or just areas where people seem to cluster together and you can't see anything. There are lots of photographs from previous decades, which, while interesting, could do with more information as it seems people are happy to just look at this stuff without really knowing what it is as long as there are naked people in it. Similarly, there are some interesting pieces of artwork that really lack any useful information. The final bit of the tour downstairs in the museum is the most interesting and there are some really creepy models that jump out at you.
I wouldn't consider this attraction even remotely accessible to people with disabilities as there are many stairs and it is very busy, probably not lending itself to a wheelchair user in particular. If you're in the area and need to lose an hour, I'd recommend it, but it's not a necessity for a trip to the Dutch capital.
It is a little expensive for what is just an art/sculpture gallery that is a little unorganised. However everyone must see it at least once.
Some of the art work is amazing, It is all very interesting but you must be open minded as prudish people will just turn bright red and want to get out of there.
There is a room that looks at first like a break room for children, with little mushroom seats it seems very out of place and you soon focus on the cartoons on the wall and realise they are anything but innocent (!)
The cartoons playing on the small TV in that room are even more shocking but all in a comedic fashion, great for a giggle with mates.
Would not go with your parents/kids unless you are a very liberal open family!
Also beware of the twisty staircases, which seem to be a Dutch favourite, they are very steep and narrow and there are 4 floors to go up and get back down.
A great photo opportunity area on one of the floors if you dare to sit in the bondage chair or put your head through a cardboard cut out of a slutty girl.
The gift shop is a little disappointing as most of the items in there are just generic tourist stuff and do not relate to the museum at all. Just a couple of comedy sex type toys you get on blackpool front.
Visited February 2013
This museum as interesting to say the least.
I love sex so straight away it appealed to me and me and a few others had to go..
Entry was so cheap I think we paid like Euro2/Euro3 each.
There are notices on every door before you go in to warn you what is in there - as some people may not want to look - although it kind of deceives the point of going to a sex museum. They have different rooms which outline different fetishes, and they even have a section were you can listen to old sex lines..Very interesting!
It is a shame it doesn't have more that relates to modern day porn like the internet and DVD's as that would have made great viewing and kept the museum a little bit more up to date. But it does give you some fascinating information of how pornographic material came about and there are some amazing sexual artefacts on display dating way back..
It doesn't take much time to walk around this place as people often want to go straight to the juicy bits - but it is worth stopping and doing some actual reading about the displays. However the staircases are full of twists and turns and it's not a wheel chair friendly place!
The location of the museum is not far from the main strip and is well worth a trip!
In terms of popular culture, Amsterdam is famous for its coffee houses, where the menu seems to focus on a lot of other items rather than coffee, and its Red Light districts (I say districts as there are apparently three in Amsterdam!) with poor unfortunate ladies parading in windows and tapping on window panes. Arriving at Centraal Station, it was clear to see where a lot of the tourists were heading straight to - the Red Light District which is prominently marked as such on the tourist information maps.
Having been told by friends that the Sex Museum, located on the Damrak, only 250m away from the Centraal Station was worth a visit, as there were etchings that looked similar to works by Beardsley, I duly headed to the museum. The first thing to confront me was the fact that there was a steady throng of visitors, from the puerile gaggle of guys on stag nights, the bemused Japanese tourists, who were posing for photos next to a flasher exhibit, and the broadminded who just wanted to see what was to be seen.
Admission was EUR 2.50, which is considerably lower that entry to a lot of museums, and there was a tour route to take you through the museum although there was nothing to stop you from doing the museum in whatever order you wanted to do it in. The museum does advise that some items may be distasteful there is for example one room containing samples of pornographic material for various non mainstream interests - bestiality, scatology etc. and visitors are warned about the content of the room before they choose to enter. Each room is named after a sexually renowned celebrity the Oscar Wilde room and the Catherine the Great room are two examples. The museum is on several floors, with very tight and twisting staircases, so this museum is obviously therefore not ideal for those in wheelchairs.
The museum seeks to be an educational experience it is not merely an out and out display of pornographic material - it includes artefacts dating back to antiquity and seeks to track the sex industry from a factual point of view rather than being a collection of old pornography. Various topics are dealt with prostitution, voyeurism, erotica in antiquity, literature, the use of media to spread pornography, although in this instance there is no reference to the use of the Internet for the propagation of pornography.
Part of the exhibition contains a number of artefacts from bygone eras for example there are some 17th chastity belts - as well as a number of oriental and Greek pottery artefacts depicting graphic sexual acts. There are a large number of sexually explicit paintings from around the world, with most of these really doing nothing more than showing the very kitsch nature of some of the items on display.
Before people wince when I say that the exhibition is a hands-on experience, dont be horrified by the prospect of a mucky magazine free for all. The hands-on section of the museum consists of a number of "What the butler saw" machines which you can try out to see how people in bygone ages got their (cheap) thrills, as well as two phone booths with English and Dutch recorded phone sex lines to listen in to. Similarly there is a walkthrough miniature red light district featuring mechanical exhibits leaving little to the imagination, as well as a collection of literature on prostitution etc. through the ages.
In exploring the medium of photography there is a special focus on how titillation has developed - from the barely risqué to the fully explicit, and similarly how the medium of film has been used down the ages. This being a retrospective, there is again no real mention of the DVD age, but the role of the video player and its propagation of porn, and it making pornographic films "affordable" by the masses is one item looked at in detail. Times have clearly changed from when film projectors were hired out to groups of gentlemen with several reels of film for them to watch.
Before anyone accuses me of neglecting the focus of my visit I was slightly disappointed the artwork which was Beardsley-esque was far from abundant - most of the etchings were certainly not Beardsley or even similar, and there was nothing in the exhibition about Beardsley's etchings.
Overall the museum is certainly worth a visit as it does put a new perspective on sex and past attitudes to sex. Obviously this exhibition may shock some, so those of a certain disposition may be best advised to give the museum a miss. It covers a topic very openly, something which is a commendable approach prudishness is after all not the way to tackle a subject which exists and which has always existed and will continue to exist and be propagated from now until eternity. The only down side is that the space available to the museum means that in some areas the surface is barely scratched.
Some guide books mentioned this place but the ones i have read are pretty vague on exactly what this place is. Basically, Zaans Schans is what a Dutch village would look like years ago ( probably before the last century but I'm not very good with dates). You can get there by train fram Amsterdam and if you have an extra day to spend in Holland, this would be a good place to go. There are no entry charges but one or two museums do charge an entry fee. The clog factory is where you can get all the types of clogs that are on sale in the country. For those who do not now which to buy, just remember that those with rounded toes are for men, pointed toes are for women. The clogs are quite expensive though but there are lots of clog keychains. You can listen to someone explaining how clogs are made but only if you are in a tour group. Tip: get there early in the morning. there were japanese tourists around when I went there and I managed to listen to the talk which I found was good. Also, there is a cheese shop (with free sampling), bread cum sweet shop, dutch windmills (entry charge required),toy shop, and lots more. There is a museum nearby too. Mainly dealing with the history of people who lived in the surrounding area earlier in the century. Most were fishermen. There is an entry fee for the museum. The best thing to do is to get a museum card. I've forgotten the price but the card is valid for one year and can be used to get into almost all the museums in the Netherlands. Some museums will give a discount for entry with a card. I only had to go to three museums to get back the cost of my card. Oh, and for those that love chocolates, there is a chocolate factory nearby (no visiting allowed). There was the smell of chocolate in the air throughout my whole stay in Zaans Schans which nearly drove me mad. So, bring a chocolate bar.
My husband and I visited this attraction while in Amsterdam about four years ago. We found it to be absolutely fantastic. There is a history of sex, with lots of illustrations and 'aids'. There is a room dedicated to different fetishes which include lots of photographs. There are also light hearted 'fun elements' throughout, which really make you smile! If you are ever in Amsterdam this museum is a must! It is ideally situated on the right hand side of the main street as you come from the station. Although I do not remember the exact admission price I do know that it was very reasonable.
The sex museum is a little tacky. It's full of strange objects and photos of a pornographic nature, showing pornography through the ages. It claims to be the only one in Europe - why I can't imaging, as it wouldn't be that hard to do (except in the UK!) It is, actually, quite interesting. Most people would learn a thing or two, and if you can get over the embarrassment of looking at some of the exhibits, whilst your fellow visitors look at you looking at the exhibits .... well, they're quite interesting. But definitely not for the shy and easily embarrassed
What an interesting and unique this museum is! I rate it as one of the best around. Although from the front of the museum it looks like a shop lot but you will be surprise at how many materials they have got inside there. Some of them even got special effects. Visitors to Amsterdam must surely visit this museum apart from the normal Van Gogh museum or the diamond industry. There are so many artifacts and an entire history of sex dating back to as old as ancient China which is surprisingly interesting to know. We spent like 3 hours inside there, browsing through every single article that is on display. It really worth the Dutch guilders that you are paying to enter this museum. Do visit this museum the next time you are in Amsterdam.
The Sex Museum is basically a mish mash of sex through the ages from Roman phallic symbols to modern seaside postcards. Easily found in Amsterdams main square and a cheap entrance fee mean it's worth going in for a laugh. Don't take your mother-in-law in though some of the farmyard pictures are a bit hard to stomach and to look at. Probably the most interesting were photographs taken throughout the last century - would never have beleived what the Victorians got up to!!