Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Words by Jarod Lawley
Photography by Jo Blackened

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not franchise was founded by Robert Ripley, an American adventurer with a taste for the world’s most bizarre and strange items and events. His love of absurdity is clearly one that is shared by many others, with Believe It or Not becoming a massive franchise that has expanded into radio and television shows, comic books and global museums.

I came across this museum totally by chance whilst walking round Dam square in central Amsterdam. I was drawn in by the replica of the world’s tallest man who stood by the window, and I walked in to explore.

The museum was huge, 2,000 square foot of over 500 mind-boggling artefacts, set across several floors and seemingly endless viewing areas and galleries.

The secret to this museum’s appeal is its variety. Every corner and turn offered something different, from human tooth cannibal jewellery to two-headed animals to nail polish paintings!

You’re able to spend well over three hours walking around and getting involved in the interactive displays. There were plenty of photo-perfect spots, as well as holes for you to put your head through and into the display, so you could pretend you were doing an alien autopsy, being eaten alive by a giant clam, or burning in a voodoo cauldron!

I can see the museum appealing to people of all interests and ages. The museum has such a fun atmosphere and the interactive displays such as the shooting range and giant arcade games would be great for kids. Just keep them away from the ‘scary route’, which displays ancient torture methods and tell the gruesome tales of historical figures such as Vlad the Impaler and Sir Walter Raleigh. Although I must admit, this was possibly my favourite section!

Surely the highlight for many people would be the ‘space tunnel’, which is, in fact, the only one in Holland! You walk across a suspended bridge, which is actually still, but the spinning vortex walls around cause you to totally lose your balance! Trying to walk across it in as straight a line as possible is a hilarious challenge to have with friends, and it’s one I could see everyone else in the museum enjoying a lot!

We didn’t sample what the cafe at the top floor had on offer, but if the decor was anything to go by then I’m sure it would have been another enjoyable experience. One attraction I’m disappointed we missed out on was the moving theatre, which displays short films in 5D! Perhaps if I ever visit Amsterdam again it’s something to check out.

Overall I can highly recommend a trip to Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. It is one of the most engaging and entertaining attractions you can go to. If you want cultural value, then you are better to spend your money in the art galleries or Anne Frank’s House, but for a brilliant few hours of fun, I fail to see how anyone can come out feel disappointed with this strangely awesome museum!