For an historical and entertaining outing, the macabre Amsterdam Dungeon is certainly worthy of a visit.
Built inside an old Church, the attraction attempts to bring history alive by giving visitors a firsthand experience of some of the more gruesome aspects of Amsterdam's past. Museum style exhibits offering factual information are combined with actors and special effects to demonstrate the history of punishment and torture, along with more eerie topics such as ghosts and ghouls.
Life aboard a Dutch East India Company trading ship is covered in detail, looking at the appalling conditions sailors used to live in. The ad-hoc and gruesome methods of the ship's doctor are given particular focus – including the rather grisly topic of on-board amputations.
More historical information is provided by the Council of Blood exhibit, which follows crime and punishment throughout 16th Century Holland. The Council was responsible for high treason at the time, and the Amsterdam Dungeon looks at some of the shocking and severe punishments that were afflicted on the criminals of the day.
As well as the more factual exhibits, the attraction also boasts a roller coaster appropriately entitled "The Reaper", and a disorientating mirror maze designed to reflect Amsterdam's network of side streets and alleyways.
The mock Dungeon follows a very similar format to others across the world owned by Merlin Entertainment. Rather than walking through the building at your own pace, you are placed in a group and led by a series of actors though the exhibits. Sketches and special effects then lead you through the topics – including a fair amount of demonstrations and audience participation.
It is worth noting that there are some graphic pictures and explanations of torture throughout some of the tour, and although this is very much a family orientated attraction, the topics may not be suitable for some children.
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