Discover the painful past



The painful truth about the past

The lesson to be learnt from the international exhibition “Punishments and Verdicts in the Middle Ages” at the Torture Museum is that instruments of torture belong in a museum. We make people aware of campaigns by Amnesty International and conventions on human rights.

We want to give schools, associations and other groups the opportunity to learn about Europe’s painful past. Our collection includes more than 40 instruments of punishment from different countries, which are illustrated with engravings and described with historic texts.

The instruments give an impactful image of the punishments involving disgrace and pain, and the sharp interrogations and persecution of witches and heretics, from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. There is also a learning package for students aged about 10 and over.

We also want to put essays on this website, for example about school punishments in the past and well-known Dutch proverbs and sayings, such as “Door schade and schande wordt men wijs” (“Damage and disgrace will make you wise”, which refers to the scaffold), or “De eerste klap is een daalder waard” (“The first blow is worth a thaler”, which refers to the executioner’s reward).


Torture Museum
Singel 449
1012 WP Amsterdam

+31 (0)20 320 66 42

Opening Hours

The Torture Museum is open daily from 10.00 to 23.00 hours.

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