Amsterdam’s sex museum: Everything you should know

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(Last updated on: 06/11/2020)

Amsterdam’s sex museum is the most famous sex museum in the world. Particularly popular with stag parties and drunken groups of friends, this museum is an important contributor to the sex tourism industry in Amsterdam. In this article I outline what the museum is all about.

What is Amsterdam’s sex museum?

The Venustempel Sex Museum in Amsterdam is, as the name would suggest, a museum dedicated to all things sexual.

It was the world’s first sex museum, opening in 1985. It examines a variety of aspects of sensual love throughout the ages, with an extensive collection of paintings, pictures, photographs, recordings and more. When the museum first opened, the owners were unsure if anyone would be interested.

But the first stream of visitors were really enthusiastic, and to this day it is one of the most popular museums in the city – if not the whole of Europe! Sex is a topic that fascinates pretty much everybody, and there is so much to say about it. It seems only natural that a museum dedicated to sex would be really popular.

Where is the Venustempel Sex Museum?

The museum is located in a 17th century building on Damrak (18). It is near Amsterdam Centraal Underground Station, and not far from the 420 Cafe. You’ll find other museums near to Amsterdam’s sex museum, such as BODY WORLDS and Madame Tussauds.

It is located in a very central area of the city, one that you will more than likely visit during your trip to Amsterdam.

How much does it cost to visit Amsterdam’s sex museum?

It costs €9 to visit the Venustempel Sex Museum. This includes a free postcard and floor plan.. The ticket price also includes a €1 donation to the Corona Research Fund Amsterdam UMC.

You can get access to Amsterdam’s sex museum as part of the I amsterdam City Card, too. This card includes access to over 70 museums and attractions across the city as well as public transport, bike rental and a canal cruise. City cards are a great way of saving money on a city break. The fee you pay for the card ends up being cheaper than if you paid separately for all of the activities you do across your time in the city, especially if you’re the type of traveller who likes to cram a lot into a trip! Head to the Van Gogh Museum, the Zaanse Schans Windmills and more alongside Amsterdam’s sex museum.

When is the museum open?

Amsterdam’s sex museum is open daily, from 11 am until 7 pm.

Is there a minimum age to visit the museum?

You must be 16 years or older to visit Amsterdam’s sex museum.

What can you see at Amsterdam’s sex museum?

There is plenty to see at the Venustempel Sex Museum.

From the life-size statue of Priapus, the Greek god of fertility, to a mannequin of Marilyn Monroe… well it’s safe to say there is a lot of variety here.

A sign at the entrance describes the contents of the museum as this: Sex through the centuries from the Greek and Roman times to this day from all the cultures of the world, the Amsterdam red-light district, art gallery, 100 Years photography and film, Sado-club, the history of among others Marilyn Monroe and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and much more.

There are ancient depictions of sex and artefacts that help you learn about the history of sex. From ancient fertility symbols from Rome and Africa (as well as Greece) to medieval chastity belts and images from the Kama Sutra, all labelled and well laid out, the historic part of the museum is incredibly interesting.

The museum is home to a mock red light district, and there are mannequins dotted throughout the building.

Amsterdam’s sex museum isn’t for everyone. There is a lot of graphic art and imagery, but this is to be expected when visiting a sex museum – of course. From drawings to sculptures to photographs and films, there is a lot of pornography throughout the museum. Some rooms even play heavy breathing and sounds of sexual pleasure through the speakers!

If you want to know what there is to see at Amsterdam’s sex museum without actually visiting, you can take a virtual tour of the museum over on their website.

Is this different to the Erotic Museum in Amsterdam?

Yes, the Venustempel Sex Museum is not to be confused with the nearby Erotic Museum.

These are two separate museums in the city, and the Erotic Museum is more of a gallery/shop. It is open 7 days a week from 11 am until 1 pm each day. You can find it at Oudezijdsachterburgwal 54.

This museum is jam packed with erotic art, as you might expect. There is an entire floor dedicated to sadomasochism, and the Sexy Art Gallery section which links artists, the press and new media. It costs €7 to get into the Erotic Museum in Amsterdam.

Is there anywhere to eat nearby?

Damrak is home to many restaurants as well as Amsterdam’s sex museum. Combine your visit with a bite to eat for a great afternoon out in the city. From Thai food to pizza to toasted sandwiches, you’ll find something to satisfy your appetite.

Vlaamse Frites Snackland

Located at Damrak 58, you’re less than a minute away from Amsterdam’s sex museum. They offer Belgian fries, which are an affordable and tasty snack that you can eat on the go if you’ve got a busy schedule planned while in Amsterdam. Open from 10 am until 3 am, Vlaamse Frites Snackland is a popular place to eat in this part of the city! You’ll often see a queue outside. This isn’t due to slow service, though – it’s just because the fries are so delicious.

Gandhi Restaurant

Gandhi Restaurant, at Damrak 54, is also really close to the museum. An Indian restaurant, they have vegetarian, began and halal options available on their varied and extensive menu. From eggplant bhartha to lamb jalfrezi, there is something for everyone and you won’t be disappointed. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible and well-priced with great service. Gandhi Restaurant is open from midday until midnight every day. If you’re looking for a nice sit down dinner after your trip to Amsterdam’s sex museum, then this could be the place for you.

Mortimer Amsterdam

Mortimer Amsterdam, around 0.1 miles from the museum on Nieuwezijds kolk, is one of the best-rated eateries in the whole of the city. Open from 9 am until 3 pm daily, they offer breakfast and all-day brunch. This is a great place to start your day and give yourself the sustenance required for a day of city exploring, museum-wandering or coffee shop dwelling. Their eggs Benedict is said to be the best in Amsterdam! With vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu, everyone can eat something here. Conveniently located and highly praised, this is a great choice for a morning meal in the city.

Hotels near Amsterdam’s sex museum

Being so centrally located, this area is a great place to stay in Amsterdam. You’re within walking distance of shops, restaurants, bars, museums, coffee shops and more, with plenty of public transport options too.

The Hendrick’s Hotel

A stunning central hotel, Hendrick’s is around 10 minutes away from Amsterdam’s sex museum. There is a full English/Irish breakfast buffet, free WiFi and a hotel bar; from economy triple rooms to suites, there is accommodation that will suit everyone here. Changes have been made here to follow the extra safety guidelines with regards to Covid-19, too. Private parking is available nearby for a fee, and the hotel is non-smoking throughout. The stylish decor and great location make this a great option for your Amsterdam accommodation! 

Hotel Estheréa

Around 15 minutes from the museum on foot, this is another really central hotel in Amsterdam. With beautiful bold patterns throughout, free WiFi, canal views from some rooms and a huge breakfast menu, there is a lot that makes this hotel so lovely. The beds are said to be extra comfortable (perfect for getting a good night’s sleep ahead of a day of exploring and visiting museums!) and everyone rates the attentiveness of the staff too. With so much to do nearby and such a gorgeous atmosphere, Hotel Estheréa is a fantastic option.

Pulitzer Amsterdam

If you want to stay somewhere grand, this is perfect. The Pulitzer is around 16 minutes on foot from Amsterdam’s sex museum, so still fairly central, and it’s great if you want something extra special. The rooms are huge, with dark wood and bold colours throughout. Located right on the canal, you can take a boat trip from here too. There is a free WiFi, and every room comes with toiletries and a bike repair kit – and there is a restaurant, café and a bar too! The Pulitzer is perfect for a fancy city break; if you want romance and charm, it’s definitely the place for you.

Amsterdam’s sex museum: Further reading

Are you interested in learning more about sex museums and sex tourism? Check out the posts listed below-

1 Comment
  1. Buddhika Kodituwakku

    This article is very interesting and useful. Thank you.

    Reply

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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