Is the Amsterdam Sex Museum serious business or pure lust? Erotic paintings, pictures, cartoons, recordings and photographs show the many aspects of love and in particular sensual love. A visit to the Amsterdam Sex Museum will satisfy your curiosity. Judging from the jumble of mainly men dallying in front of the entrance, it can only be concluded that the Sex Museum is most likely the number one attraction in Amsterdam. The Sex Museum is not a randy place and certainly suitable for female visitors.
The entrance to the museum is through a narrow corridor. In this passage a male mannequin whispers “pssst”, while flashing his eyes. Out of the wall pops a gigantic naked plastic woman, an obvious run-away from the Red Light District. A young male visitor startles, recovers and wants to grab her tits, but she withdraws as quickly as she appeared. Many female visitors are giggling throughout their visit, not because of the exhibits but because of the expression on the male visitors’ faces.
The museum is architecturally interesting. The building dates back to the 17th century but has been renovated and expanded over the centuries. The exhibition rooms are on three levels. Stairwells and landings are also used to display artefacts. The ceiling over one part of the building is all glass making it a light and sparkling place when the sun shines.
Sex through the Ages
The first room displays a collection of literature and manuscripts about sex through the ages. Large showcases feature erotic statuettes among them tiny figurines with immense phalluses. The chastity belt draws a crowd, but most men give the rest of this room only a cursory look. Women stay longer and study the explanations which tell about the country of origin of the various objects, what they were used for and their approximate dates.
The next room is a tangle of men trying to secure seats in one of the padded booths. Elbow your way in and select one of the eight porn movies. Insert a Euro in the slot and sit back. The film is over almost before you have opened your eyes. A male visitor will take your place; euros jingle in his pockets.
Go up the stairs to the Gallery of Uncommon Sexual Desires which includes fetishism, anal intercourse, bestiality and lots of things whose existence you may only have guessed. A cardboard sign in several languages says: Don’t complain if you see something you don’t like.
The next room is chockfull with photos from professional and private collections. Scantily dressed women in a hundred-and-one different poses stare at you from the wall. Men linger over the photos, sighing and laughing. When the Amsterdam-Now editor visited the museum she saw a mother and daughter studying the photos in detail. ‘That’s uplifting,’ the daughter said and feeling slightly tired she sat down on one of the monumental penis chairs which vibrated every minute while she did a bit of people-watching, to be more precise, men-watching.
The museum is often described in the briefest of words or not mentioned at all in Amsterdam guidebooks. This is unfortunate. True to say, the exhibits range from the silly to the lurid, yet several of them are interesting, especially the photographs on the first floor.
The exhibits are not shocking and you won’t feel out of place. In fact you could take your mother and grandmother for a visit. They will have lots to smile and a lot to talk about. So, come with an open mind and you may discover a few things about sex that you didn’t know. Sex Museum Venustempel is on Damrak close to Centraal Station. Large groups of tourists and locals amble along this always busy Damrak on their way to Dam square. Many people stop in front of the Sex Museum, hesitate and go in.
Sex Museum, Venustempel
Minimum age 16 years
Open daily 09.30-23.30