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The 5 Strangest Museums in Europe

Most museums try to offer their visitors a better view of the history and culture of the places where they are built. But these five don’t fit in the “normal museums” category, their main purpose is to shock, and they are very successful at it. Here’s a look at Europe’s five strangest museums:

5. The Torture Museum in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Torture Museum

Amsterdam Torture Museum

The city of Amsterdam is a giant museum in itself, with beautiful old buildings just waiting to be discovered and dozens of smaller but equally interesting real museums. But none are as shocking as the Torture Museum, where visitors can find old instruments of torture gathered from all over Europe, and “helpful” instructions on how they were used.

It might sound educational and fun but The Amsterdam Torture Museum isn’t for people with sensitive stomachs. The paintings covering the walls do a great job of showing how every torture device was used, and many of the images are not pretty. So if you were thinking of taking your fiancé as a surprise, you had better think again.

4. The British Lawnmower Museum

Lawnmowers

Lawnmowers

If you’re a lawnmower enthusiast then this is a place you simply must visit, at least once. The British Lawnmower Museum was established by Brian Radam, an ex-racing champion that was fascinated by lawnmowers from an early age and ended up creating the very successful Discount Garden Machinery Warehouse.

Starting with the invention of the original lawnmower and ending with the world’s first solar powered robot mower, The British Lawnmower Museum has it all. You can find mowers that belonged to royalty such as Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana, the most expensive mowers in the world, a 2-inch functional lawnmower and many, many other “interesting” things.

3. Leeds Castle Dog-Collar Museum

Dog-Collar Museum

Dog-Collar Museum

Attracting more than 500,000 visitors every year, The Dog-Collar Museum set-up inside Leeds Castle is one of the most popular strange museums in the world. The unique dog collar collection counts over 100 unique items that present the history of canine-wear starting from early medieval times to the Victorian Age.

The dog collars were originally gathered by Irish medieval collector John Hurt and his wife Gertrude, and were donated to Leeds Castle in 1979, as a tribute to the castle’s last private owner, Lady Baillie, a big dog lover.

The antique dog collars tell 500 years of canine history, from early, 15th century dog collars, filled with spikes to protect the neck of hunting hounds against wolves, boars or bears, to the glamorous leather and velvet baroque collars of the 18th century.

2. The Icelandic Phallological Museum

Icelandic Phallology Museum

Icelandic Phallology Museum

It might sound a little dirty to some people, but this strange museum was established in the sole interest of science. Sigurður Hjartarson says he founded The Icelandic Phallological Museum so people from all over the world could ““undertake serious study into the field of phallology in an organized, scientific fashion.”

This odd museum has a collection of phallic specimens from almost every living mammal in Iceland. It’s not a collection that anyone would be proud to have but I suppose it has its fans. The 245 items of the phallic collection include specimens of sperm, humpback and even the giant blue whale, polar bears, different kinds of seals and walruses and even tiny mice and other rodents.

The strangest item in the Phallological Museum is the penis of the “Icelandic Christmas Lad”, donated by a former mayor of Reykjavik. It is believed that “Icelandic Christmas Lad” refers to one of Santa’s toy-making helpers.

1. The Hair Museum

The Hair Museum

The Hair Museum

Located in Avanos, Turkey, The Hair Museum is a must-see attraction when visiting Cappadocia. It all began in 1979, when famous Turkish potter Galip Korukcu, started collecting women’s hair and creating a hair museum that would raise his potting-class participation. Now, nearly 30 years later, Galip’s idea turned into an international tourist attraction and even won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

This crazy hair collection numbers over 16,000 different locks of hair and the specific addresses of the bearers. Every year, Galip chooses 10 addresses from the walls of the museum and invites them to participate at his workshops for free and stay in his guesthouse.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

16 Comments for "The 5 Strangest Museums in Europe"

Chris Milton says on October 15th, 2008 at 8:56 pm:

If you went to Durban you could also visit the museum of surgical instruments. Think about that for a moment … euch!

Glen says on October 16th, 2008 at 6:28 am:

I’ve always thought that “Le Atomium” of the Heysel plateau, Brussels, Belgium was rather strange. It’s design is symbolising an iron of cristal, magnified 165 billion times and you can walk around, have lunch and look out the windows. It’s design is stated to “embodie the audacity of an epoch that seeks to confront the destiny of man with scientific discovery”.

Craig says on October 16th, 2008 at 8:57 am:

I was expecting to see the erotica/sex toys museum in Prague on this list. The Wagner holiday park museum in Houhora, New Zealand used to have the largest collection of chamber pots in the world, but I think they sold up.

Hotel Discount Expert says on November 30th, 2008 at 6:53 pm:

I think I only want to see the Icelandic Phallological Museum. The other don’t sound very interesting to me.

Justin Wright says on December 8th, 2008 at 12:32 am:

The hair museum looks pretty disgusting. Who would want to walk through a hall of hair??

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