This is a place that makes a spectacle of itself – literally and figuratively! The Spectacles Museum grew out of the passion of a private collector for optometric objects. Two floors of this lovely 17th-century building illustrate spectacle fashion and history spanning 700 years. On the ground floor you will also find a recreated 1930s spectacle shop, which sells historic frames and some more modern models.
It’s a similar story at the Biblical Museum (Bijbels Museum). Even if you are not an avid Bible reader, the museum building is still quite a find. Situated in two historic houses - designed by Philips Vingboons - this atmospheric setting on the Herengracht houses is one of the oldest Dutch museums. A highlight is the 1718 painted ceiling by Jacob de Wit. There is also a life-sized reconstruction of the shrine housing the Ark of the Covenant and a superb collection of Bibles - including the oldest Bible printed in the Netherlands. Free admission with the I amsterdam City Card.
You might have heard about people being “barking mad”, well you certainly won’t find them at the Cat Cabinet (Kattenkabinet). This feline monument was founded in memory of a frisky tomcat, John Pierpont Morgan, long-time companion of the museum's founder. The collection is dedicated entirely to the role of cats in art and culture throughout history. Even if you’re not cat crazy, then a stroll through the impressive rooms of this beautiful canal house - also used in the film Ocean’s Twelve - is an unexpected treat.
You don’t find houseboats everywhere in the world, so it follows that you won’t find many houseboat museums. The Houseboat Museum answers all the questions you might have concerning the practicalities of living on the water in Amsterdam - like how the water, electricity and sewage function. The museum is situated on the Hendrika Maria, a former freighter which was converted into a houseboat in the 1960s. These days it looks like the owners have just popped out to the shops! Free admission with the I amsterdam City Card.
More unusual attractions include the Museum of Bags and Purses, the Pianola Museum – also one of Amsterdam’s smallest museums, the Tulip Museum, the Coffee and Tea Museum and the Diamond Museum.