Presenting pain in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has many fine museums which do a marvellous job of presenting history and culture in an interesting and informative manner.  However, there is one museum in Amsterdam which is not for the squeamish, and may even cause some people some distress.

The Torture Museum has but one aim: to highlight the extent of humankind’s cruelty towards other human beings.

Sadly, torture is still a common occurrence in many parts of the world, and even the world’s greatest superpower has allowed its representatives to practice torture in recent years.  These days torture can be used to cause adverse psychological effects on victims as well as causing much physiological harm, but the implements on display at the Torture Museum do well and truly hark back several centuries to less sophisticated times.

The subject matter at this morbid museum ranges from religious to political to archaeological to the plain  bizarre.   Each implement is accompanied by a painting which shows the viewer how it was originally used.

Some of the contraptions on display beggar belief.  The Inquisitor’s Chair was used to judge witches, and is a solid wood and metal chair with spikes attached to the seat and armrests.  The accused witch was strapped into the chair, and as the straps were tightened her weight would do the rest.

You see hanging metal cages, in which naked victims were locked and the cages hung from city towers until the victim died of starvation or thirst, and then were left to rot.  Also on display are the guillotine, the rack and the skull cracker.

The Torture Museum is not meant to be enjoyed, but is a reminder of just how barbaric humans are capable of being. The Museum endeavours to document the history of the human cruelty – Scaring the hell out of you… is their publicity tag.

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