A unique and enormous collection of human and animal anatomy and pathology, the University of Amsterdam’s anatomical and embryological museum began as the private collection of Gerardus Vrolik (1775-1859) and his son Willem Vrolik (1801-1863). Both were professors of anatomy at the Athenaeum Illustre, the predecessor of the University of Amsterdam.
Willem wrote extensively on deformities, including cyclopia, the pathogenesis of congenital anomalies, and conjoined twins. His personal collection of specimens built onto that of his father, resulting in several thousand items left behind at his death.
The collection was purchased by the city of Amsterdam in 1869 and eventually found its home at the university. Other anatomical collections have been added to the museum over the years, including a collection of bone pathology, a dental collection, and other teratological specimens. There are also a number of animal specimens in the collection. The oldest specimens are from the 16th century; the newest specimens were added to the collection around 1950.
Since 2011, over 2,000 historical specimens have been on display in Museum Vrolik. The complete collection, of which about 10% is exhibited, consists of 20,000 objects.
Know Before You Go
Open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entrance fee is €10 for adults and €5 for children. Guided tour for a group of up to 15 visitors is possible and costs €35 plus €10 per person. Tours (in Dutch or English) can be requested on Museum Vrolik's website, at least two weeks in advance.
How to get there: Museum Vrolik is located in the Academic Medical Centre in J0 (J-zero). By metro: exit on the station Holendrecht and walk eight minutes. By bus: lines 45, 46, 47 (stop AMC), walk two minutes. By car: get to the AMC driving south along A2 direction Utrecht, take an exit AMC and follow the signs; park your car in one of the visitors parking lots, take the corridor on the first floor to the main building (level 0) get to any of the AMC receptions located at each entry. From there, you will receive directions on how to get to the museum.