Body Worlds Must-see Exhibition in Amsterdam

A visit to the Body Worlds Amsterdam exhibition is very different from an average museum visit. On display more than 200 anatomical specimens of real human bodies are on display. In other words, at Body Worlds Amsterdam you are viewing actual dead bodies that have undergone a preservation process called ‘plastination’. These people voluntarily chose to have their bodies used and preserved in this way.

Body Worlds is a popular attraction therefore buy your skip-the-line tickets and time slot online.

What is plastination?

The Body Worlds exhibition does not refer to human bodies as cadavers or corpses, but as plastinates. Plastination means that seventy percent of the body, i.e. all fluid, is replaced by plastic. This implies that the bodies are no longer human, so the visitor can see them as objects to learn from or for entertainment.

Still slightly human

The plastinates are a kind of 3D objects and stripped of their humanity. The skin has been removed so that you can see the internal organs. But because the skin around the eyebrows, eyes and nostrils is left intact and the ears and lips are also unchanged, these plastinates look very much like real people.

Educational Material

Once you get used to what you see, you can easily distinguish the muscles, joints, digestive system and respiratory system. This is interesting and educational. Sometimes individual organs are shown. One display shows only hearts: a healthy heart, an enlarged heart, the blood vessels in the heart, and so on. All exhibits have explanatory notes in Dutch and English.

Happiness and Sex

The theme of the exhibition is ‘happiness’, and each floor or part of a floor focuses on a different factor that contributes to happiness. Other parts of the exhibition focus on different human systems: the nervous system, the respiratory system, the digestive system,

On the ground floor the theme is sex and how it contributes to happiness. The walls are largely empty, but there are peepholes. Instead of a peep show you see texts about the physiology of sex.

These texts are not shocking. The plastinates in the display case are. Two have sexual intercourse. The female figure is positioned in such a way that both his and her genitals are visible, yet the man looks tender in the way he holds the woman on his lap.

Educational or a Freak Show?

At the end of the exhibition you may wonder whether all this is educational or just a freak show. You pay a pretty high admission price to stare at the freaks, but the simple fact is that they are still very human.

Address: Body Worlds Amsterdam, Damrak 66, Amsterdam
Opening hours: 10.00-22.00

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