Amsterdam, the Sin City of Europe, is a place full of bohemian vibes, coffee-shops and sex. It is hard to avoid the temptation of the Red Light District where women sell themselves to the top buyer (it’s an odd experience that you both want to/yet don’t want to see) or the Sex Museum, all awhile to the faint smell of marijuana rolling gently along the sea breeze, giving a weird tangy smelling backdrop to your visit. The only contrast to these tourist traps of Amsterdam is the magnificent Van Gogh Museum or a look back into history at Anne Frank’s House. However, if you feel like you don’t want to do the ‘typical’ tourist thing (even though I do recommend you try and do at least one or two, it may be filled with tourists but it all contributes to the character of the city) and museums seem too boring/depressing/same-same then this is the guide for you. I will tell you about some of the quirky and bizarre experiences that Amsterdam has to offer in order to make your trip unforgettable. You can then walk the typical tourist path (check our complete guide to Amsterdam here!) whilst making a slight de-tour into the unknown. Read on and be prepared to get inspired!
Electric Ladyland, the Fluorescent Museum
What once started as a fluorescent art gallery in 1987, set up by American artist Nick Padalino, has now transformed into the only museum in the world to display fluorescent art. An obsession with the phenomenon of fluorescent has turned a dark cellar beneath the art gallery into a glittering, glowing cave of art. For the duration of your stay you become a “piece of the art” (if you wish to appear all knowledgeable during your visit the correct artisan term is “Participatory Art”). You also have the chance to view the unique rocks and minerals which change into these vibrant, glowing patches of colour underneath the correct wavelength of light. So, if you’ve had enough of viewing numerous pictures of Van Gogh make a stop-off at Electric Ladyland for 5 Euros (you will also be given an Electric Ladyland brochure along with your purchase, booming).
Stay at the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel
Brutally honest and cheap, it really does what it says on the tin. In their own words: “Welcome to Hans Brinker, the cheapest, the worst, the best… no swimming pool, no roomservice, no pick-up service, no bridal suite, no gym, no spa, no bellboy, but cheap rooms, a restaurant, a nice bar, a club, 24 hour reception and 500 beds” . Need I say more? Hans Brinker is certainly not at the top of luxurious hostel stays but it will likely be the most interesting. So, spice up your stay and make that booking now.
Get a tattoo at Hanky Panky Tattoo Parlour
Want to make your stay in Amsterdam truly unforgettable? Get a tattoo done at the infamous Hanky Panky tattoo parlour and join the list of famous names which have done the same (Melanie C, Kate Moss and Korn to name a few!). If you’re one of those people that have been toying with the idea of getting a tattoo for a while, are on the brink of that precipice of saying “hell yes!” then why not take that daring plunge in Amsterdam at one of their most reputable parlours? Have a gander at the pictures of famous faces who have done the same, and if you start to get scared and nervous of the impending inking, just think, Melanie C from the Spice Girls managed to man up and do it and therefore so can you my friend. Have a look at their website for ideas and get thinking about your design ready for your trip!
Dine in the dark at ctaste!
Are you bored of going to the same old restaurants for dinner? Do you feel like you need a change in the normal dining experience? Is simply sitting at a table in a lighted room where you can see the menu too mundane? Well if you said “yess!” to all of the above, ctaste is for you. Amsterdam can now offer you a unique dining experience in the dark (yes, that’s right, I said the dark). It is apparently a journey of the senses; you see nothing but feel everything. You will be sat in a pitch black restaurant served by a blind or visually impaired individual that have been specially trained to serve meals in the dark. First, you will be greeted in a lighted area where you will choose your meals from a set menu and then guided into the darkened restaurant If the dark simply isn’t enough for you, you can also choose a ‘surprise’ menu where the chef will decide for you what to eat. So, if you’re stuck for ideas on date night, give ctaste a call!
For all of the solo-travellers out there or the travellers who just need a little break from their ever-present travelling buddies CINEMA41 may be the answer to your calling. The smallest pop-up cinema in the world offers you a very private, peaceful and quiet (no annoying kid’s hooting/laughing/throwing popcorn here) one-seated movie theatre. Only costing you 3 Euros a piece (this also includes a drink and some popcorn, bargain!) you can see movies such as The Science of Sleep (some artsy film…I’ve also never heard of this film before) or Lost in Translation. Located in a random housing complex and resembling a closet with red and white stripes (yes, really) it will be a movie experience that you won’t forget. So, on that next rainy afternoon where everything seems to be annoying you (you had to be that one who stepped in that deep muddy puddle, it had to be your bike which got a puncture, you went to buy your fave choco bar to make yourself feel better and it wasn’t there etc. etc. woes) book an appointment and lock yourself away in a tiny room and enjoy some artsy films without the nuisance of other people!
Take a journey through a mahoosive human body at Corpus
So, that art gallery didn’t live up to those expectations ‘ey? There were simply just too many pictures to look at, ponder on and make some deep comment about how the meaning of life is represented in that portrait of a table. Have no fear; Amsterdam still has more of the weird and wonderful to save your culture-drenched soul. In less than an hour you can take a visit through the whole of the human body. Cool right? Amsterdam is one of the only places in the world to have a massive, huge, humungous, large, crazily tall (okay, I’ll stop with the adjectives now) model of a human body. You begin your journey at the knee and leave through the brain, venturing through 5D organ theatres along your way. Have a bounce on the guys huge tongue, whilst you smell a variety of things wafted through its giant nose. Who knew learning could be so fun? So, if you want to mix up your museum visits with something truly different take a visit to Corpus!
So, turns out Amsterdam isn’t just full of weed and sex ‘ey?
By Victoria Root.
Photo Source: Flickr – Joao Maximo (featured), ilovebutter (electric ladyland),