The following is only a sampling of the city's many small museums. See the world through cats' eyes in sculptures, paintings, and prints at the KattenKabinet (Cat Cabinet), Herengracht 497 (tel. 020/626-5378; www.kattenkabinet.nl; tram: 16, 24, or 25). The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from noon to 5pm (closed Jan 1, Apr 30, and Dec 25, 26, and 31). Admission is 5€ for adults, 2.50€ for children ages 4 to 12, and free for children 3 and under.
In Amsterdam, no one ever tosses away an old boat. Some 2,400 legally occupied houseboats float on the city's waters -- but you won't be able to go aboard most of them unless you know the owner. The Hendrika Maria, a former commercial sailing barge built in 1914, is an exception. It's now the Woonbootmuseum (Houseboat Museum), facing Prinsengracht 296 (tel. 020/427-0750; www.houseboatmuseum.nl; tram: 13, 14, or 17), at Elandsgracht. Visit the original deckhouse where the skipper and his family lived, the cupboard bed in which they slept, and the cargo hold, now equipped as remarkably spacious and comfortable living quarters. You can go aboard March to October, Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm; and November, December, and February, Friday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm; it's closed most of January, April 30, and December 25, 26, and 27. Admission is 3.50€ for adults, and 2.75€ for children under 1.52m (5 ft.).
The Amsterdam Tulip Museum, Prinsengracht 112 (tel. 020/421-0095; www.amsterdamtulipmuseum.com; tram: 13, 14, or 17), at Egelantiersgracht, tells the history of Holland's fascination with a flower. It takes in the bizarre speculative bubble during the 17th century known as Tulipomania, when fortunes were won and lost on the price of a handful of rare bulbs. You can spend a far smaller fortune to purchase bulbs in the museum shop.
Surely the most rollicking museum in town is the Pianola Museum, Westerstraat 106 (tel. 020/627-9624; www.pianola.nl; tram: 3 or 10), at Tweede Boomdwarsstraat in the Jordaan. Aficionados congregate in a front-room brown cafe to sip coffee and to listen to, and sing along with, vintage tunes played on some of the three dozen old player-pianos and automated music machines -- around half of them still in working order -- in this private collection. Among some 14,000 "recordings" on perforated-paper rolls are works by Debussy and Gershwin. The museum is open Sunday from 2 to 5pm, and for groups by appointment. Admission is 5€ for adults, 4€ for seniors, 3€ for children ages 5 to 12, and free for children 4 and under.
Geels & Co., a coffee-roasting and tea-importing store in the Red Light District, has been around for more than a century. It has a marvelous collection of antique grinders, roasters, tea canisters, and all sorts of coffee-and-tea-brewing paraphernalia in its small, atmospheric upstairs Koffie en Thee Museum (Coffee and Tea Museum), Warmoesstraat 67 (tel. 020/624-0683; www.geels.nl; tram: 4, 9, 14, 16, 24, or 25), at Oude Brugsteeg. The museum is open Saturday 2 to 4:30pm, and for groups by appointment. Admission is free.
If pipes are your thing, check out the Pijpenkabinet (Pipe Cabinet), Prinsengracht 488 (tel. 020/421-1779; www.pijpenkabinet.nl; tram: 1, 2, 5, 13, 14, or 17), at Leidsestraat. Housed at Smokiana, a pipe museum-store with a remarkable collection of tribal, antique, and ultra-modern puffing equipment, the Pijpenkabinet is open Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 6pm, and by appointment. Admission is 5€.
A boutique known for selling modern, fashionable (and occasionally bizarre) eyeglasses is the Brilmuseum (Eyeglass Museum), Gasthuismolensteeg 7 (tel. 020/421-2414; www.brilmuseumamsterdam.nl; tram: 1, 2, 5, 13, 14, or 17), between Singel and Herengracht. It lives up to its billing by displaying a collection of antique eyeglasses and taking you on an eye-opening tour through 700 years of impaired-vision aids. It's quite a spectacle. It's open Wednesday to Friday from noon to 5:30pm, and Saturday from noon to 5pm; admission is free.
A Moving Museum
The superannuated streetcars of the Electrische Museumtramlijn Amsterdam (Amsterdam Electric Tramline Museum), Amstelveenseweg 264 (tel. 020/673-7538; www.museumtramline.org; tram: 16), shake, rattle, and roll back and forth between Amsterdam's old Haarlemmermeer rail station (near the Olympic Stadium) and suburban Amstelveen. Most of the trams are at least 50 years old, and come from Amsterdam, The Hague, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, and other cities. If you feel like a walk in the woods, get out along the way in the Amsterdamse Bos. Trams run July to October, on Sundays from 11am to 5pm (Aug also Wed 1-5pm). Round-trip tickets are 4€ for adults, 2€ for seniors and children ages 4 to 11, and free for children 3 and under.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.