Medieval Torture Museum

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For my birthday, my friend gave me a voucher for a visit to the Medieval Torture Museum Amsterdam together. A very nice gift, especially since I want to visit more museums. Last Monday (February 18th) we went to the museum to check it out. It’s located at Damrak (which is basically the street you go to if you follow the mass leaving Amsterdam Central Station) and thanks to us going on a Monday, it was really quiet. We were almost the only ones there and we could really take our time.

As the name of the museum already explains, it displays ways in which people were tortured during the Middle Ages. Seeing all those cruel devices and horrible ways to hurt people to get a (probably false) confession made me really happy that I’m born now and here. I won’t spoil everything there is to see, but I did take some picture of impressive things (which was allowed!).

On another floor (the museum had four floors with expositions), a garrote was explained. This method was last used in 1975. 1975! That’s not Middle Ages! My parents were alive by then and a Medieval torture technique was still used.

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Everybody has probably heard of the guillotine. This, though, is a hand guillotine and a little less known. The difference between them is that this one’s made of wood (not steel). Since wood doesn’t easily slice through a neck, a big hammer had to be used to slam the wood down and separate the head from the body. Apparently, this method was used on poor people and the other (better known) guillotine on wealthy/noble people who deserved a quick and less painful death.

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Shameless picture time. My friend’s standing next to the statue of a gambler (hence the dice and decking cards). He got tied to a pole and the crowd could go wild on him. Lovely times, those Middle Ages.

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Luckily for me, there wasn’t anybody around to throw some rotten tomatoes (or stones, since that was also common).

The Medieval Torture Museum was a fun way to spend my evening. We entered somewhere around nine o’clock and we were asked to leave at ten, when the museum closed. We thought it was open until eleven, so that’s why we didn’t go any earlier. Thankfully, we had just finished our tour and were planning to go anyway.

Like I said, the museum is a fun way to spend your evening, but you won’t be there for more than an hour (and a half, at most). After that, you’ve seen it all and you’re pretty much ready to go. The normal fare is €10 p.p, but because my friend had a voucher we paid less than that. I don’t know if I’d pay €10 for this museum. It was a fun trip, but it didn’t take very long and I don’t know how much of the info was actually based on facts (since the Dutch and English info really differed at times). If you somehow also got your hands on a voucher or any other kind of discount, than I would recommend you to go if you’ve got some time to spare. If not, you might want to walk past this museum.


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