The Netherlands has many museums, but some are just a bit more special than others. Our home country is known for its many art museums with historical paintings, but there is only one with enormous dinosaur skeletons. Or with Egyptian mummies. Or in the shape of a human body. Get out of your comfort zone with these unusual museums in the Netherlands.
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- The 12 most beautiful castles and palaces museums in the Netherlands
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10x unusual museums in the Netherlands
#1 Museum Voorlinden
Wassenaar | Website | Museum Voorlinden near The Hague is all about contemporary art. The museum has different exhibitions, but also a permanent collection with unique works. Such as Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool where you can walk under the surface of the water. Or a gigantic artwork of a larger than life elderly couple on the beach, looking like real but gigantic people. Or the spiral maze with it’s end point not in the center of the spiral, as you’ll mysteriously walk out the spiral again. The privately owned museum is located on an estate in Wassenaar, so within cycling distance of The Hague Central Station.
#2 Kröller-Müller Museum
Veluwe | Website | There are many museums in the Netherlands at beautiful locations, but none are as beautiful as the Kröller-Müller. This museum is located in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe National Park, so a combined visit with the nature reserve is a must. You can use the free white bicycles to cycle from the park entrance to the museum and further through the park. The museum itself is definitely worth a visit. It is the remainder of the private collection of the eccentric couple Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller, big fans of modern art and in particular the work of Vincent van Gogh. The museum has the second-largest collection of Van Gogh paintings. Tip: buy a combination ticket online for both the park and the museum in advance to avoid any lines.
#3 Car museum Louwman
The Hague | Website | The Louwman family has been collecting special cars for centuries, which has resulted in a unique museum in the Netherlands. The car museum shows the history of horse-drawn carriage and the very first cars until now. But there are also many special items on display, such as Prince Bernhard’s cars, one from a James Bond film or a car in the shape of a swan previously owned by an Indian maharaja (the ‘Swan Car‘).
#4 Human-shaped museum CORPUS
Leiden | Website | Corpus gives you a glimpse into your own body. During a tour of about an hour, you travel through a gigantic human body. Because this museum is housed in a gigantic human-shaped building. You’ll stand in a human mouth with your entire family or walk through the human intestines, making a great and educational experience.
#5 Open Air Museum Arnhem
Arnhem | Website | Many museums in the Netherlands allow you to travel back in time, but not like the Open Air Museum Arnhem does. It doesn’t have any displays of antique objects or walls filled with historical art, but it’s an enormous museum site with historic villages, authentic farms and old Dutch sweet shops. This museum is open all year round. Though it’s most popular in summer, it has fairy lights, ice skating rinks and a winter market during the winter months.
Leiden | Website | If you want to come face to face with a dinosaur in the Netherlands, Naturalis is the place to be. Not a real dinosaur as in Jurassic Park of course, but Naturalis has the most enormous dinosaur skeletons. This unusual museum has millions of nature objects: from stuffed animals to endless rows of butterflies and insects. But the most unique part of the museum is of course its world-class dinosaur collection. A large hall is filled with skeletons, the largest of which will tower meters high above you: the enormous T-rex named Trix.
# 7 Royal Palace Het Loo
Apeldoorn | Website | Did you know that the Netherlands has dozens of castles that are open to visitors, but there are only a few museum palaces? Royal palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn is perhaps the best-known palace in our country with dozens of reconstructed rooms from a bygone era. The Dutch royal family lived in the palace for hundreds of years and that palace now tells their history as a museum. The last residents were the Queens Wilhelmina and Juliana. Beautiful vintage cars from their time are also exhibited in the Royal Stables of Het Loo, next to the historic carriages. The palace is currently being renovated on a large scale and will reopen in 2021.
#8 National Museum of Antiquities
Leiden | Website | This museum in Leiden brings you back in time and has collections with antiquities from the Romans, Greeks and Ancient Egyptians. The Egyptian rooms in particular make this museum one of the more special in the Netherlands: it is the only place in the Netherlands where you can see mummies! It will definitely put traveling to Egypt itself on your wishlist.
#9 Panorama Mesdag
Scheveningen | Website | Viewing historical paintings may not sound very special in a country known for its historic art. But what if we tell you that it is a panorama painting, housed in a purpose-built museum near The Hague? Hendrik Willem Mesdag painted this panorama of Scheveningen in 1881. The result is an enormous painting of 14 meters high and 120 meters ‘wide’. When you visit the museum, you’ll be standing in the middle of this round painting and it is as if you’re standing on the Scheveningen dunes in the nineteenth century.
#10 Railway Museum
Utrecht | Website | No showcases with old objects in this museum, but a lifelike train station, unique trains and steam locomotives and special attractions. The unique experience already starts at the entrance, which is the beautiful historic Maliebaan train station from 1874. The train museum has fun activities and interactive attractions for children, but it is a great museum to visit without children as well.