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5 of Europe's weirdest museums

Published February 19th, 2014

So, you’ve looked around the Louvre, perused the pieces at the Prado and viewed the Vatican Museums – what’s next on your list of must-see European artistic and cultural sites? While masterpieces and mummified remains are all well and good, there are some lesser known museums on the continent you really should add to your itinerary to enrich your knowledge and widen your scope of these unique countries. If it can be curated and collated, you can bet your last Euro that someone has dedicated a museum to that particular obsession. From sausages to, err, sausages, here is our list of 5 of Europe’s weirdest museums.

 

 

Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin

If you haven’t been to Berlin, you may not understand the obsession Berliners have with their local street food snack, currywurst. The fact that there’s an entire museum dedicated to the culinary delight that consists of a roll or hot chips with bratwurst, tomato sauce, paprika and curry powder may clue you in. Located right near Checkpoint Charlie in Mitte, Deutsches Currywurst Museum is an interactive romp with virtual currywurst creations, a spice chamber to sniff, a sausage sofa to relax on and currywurst, of course. A snack ticket will set you back €13.90.

Bonus fact: Currywurst was invented in the 1940s by Herta Heuwer, who patented her sauce as Chillup.

 

Schutzenstrasse 70, Berlin, Germany

 

 

Hid Íslenzka Redasafn

From sausages to, well, sausages. The Icelandic Phallological Museum has the world’s largest display of the phallus and phallic parts. If you’ve ever had a burning desire to find out all about male mammals’ members, this is the place to view over 215 specimens of penises and penile parts from 47 different species of land and sea animals. Including humans. Yep, four fellas have pledged to legally donate their little fella for the appreciation of museum goers. And the biggest on display? The blue whale – a whopping 17 metres in length. Entry is free.

Bonus fact: The museum is the brainchild of Sigurdur Hjartson, whose fascination with this appendage began as a child when he was given a bull penis to use a whip.

 

Laugavegur 116, Reykjavik, Iceland

 

 

Muzej Prekinutih Veza

Break out the tissues, BYO Ben & Jerry’s; this is the Museum of Broken Relationships. Located in the Upper Town of Croatia’s capital Zagreb, take an emotional journey through the detritus of failed love affairs at this curious site – voted as the most innovative museum in Europe in 2011. What started as a travelling exhibition has taken root in Zagreb with a collection of personal belongings and mementos donated from around the world.  From plush teddies to furry handcuffs and from an ex’s undies to an axe to grind, literally - love’s loss is your gain. Tickets are 25kn.

Bonus fact: After you’ve been taken on an emotional rollercoaster of ‘he/she done me wrong’, offload your own relationship baggage at the museum’s Brokenships Café over mulled wine and pepper cookies.

 

Ćirilometodska ulica 2, Zagreb, Croatia

 

Sure it looks all pretty up in here, but what lies beneath…

 

Les Musée des Égouts de Paris

Everything just sounds better in French, doesn’t it? Even Paris' Sewer Museum sounds elegant and sophisticated - en Français. Ah yes. The city famed for its art, architecture and haute couture would also like you to know about its sewerage system that dates from the 1370s. At the malodorous Paris Sewer Museum in the 7th arrondissement, you can take an underground journey through the history of the city’s pipes and its residents (one rat for every Parisian, apparently) along a raised 500-metre path right above raw sewerage (eww!). Entry is €4.30.

Bonus fact: You can purchase a stuffed toy sewer rat from the museum’s gift shop. Really.

 

Pont de l'Alma, face au 93 Quai d'Orsay, Paris, France

 

The medieval version of the naughty corner

 

Muzeum Středověkých Mučicích Nástrojů

You know that phrase, “to get medieval on your arse”? Well, the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments in Prague will educate you about its origins through 60 displays of terrifying torture instruments sourced from around Europe. To helpfully illustrate their usage, life-size wax figures in authentic settings do the honours of the horrors from medieval times plus there’s also graphic cartoons. Set across three levels in Prague’s Old Town, exhibits range from the truly eye-watering to comical masks, devices to stop nagging and even chastity belts. Entry is 150kč.

Bonus fact: There are iron maidens on display – no, not the ‘70s UK metal rockers, a medieval iron cabinet big enough to house a human with a hinged front and spike-covered interior.

 

Křižovnické náměstí 1/194, Prague, Czech Republic

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.