Museums in Haarlem – Dolhuys
Haarlem has several good museums.
There is Teylers Museum, Hollands eldest museum, housed in a spectacular historic building.
Further more we have Frans Hals Museum, Verwey Hal, Vishal, and last but not least: Dolhuys. That’s the one that I’m showing you today.
Dolhuys, museum of psychiatry
Museum of psychiatry may not sound very appealing straight away, but it is a fantastic museum.
(Unfortunately all the information in the museum is in Dutch only, but I will translate where necessary.)
By the way: they call themselves: “Dolhuys (translates as Madness House) – Museum of the Mind”
The building in which it is housed is chock-full of history.
The exhibitions are interesting and well done. With a touch of quirk and fun, with lots of respect, information and creativity.
The current big exhibition is (translated): Engineering the human. It’s about: is it possible to be perfect? Do we need to be perfect? How do we see ourselves and how do we look at others? How do we treat outsiders? Are they scary or inspiring? Do you have to blend in and be normal in order to be successful? Or is it the other way around and are real artists people who dare to be different?
Dolhuys’ museumshop is tiny but sells the coolest things at very reasonable prices.
Museum Cafe Thuys
The museum cafe is a pleasant, cosy place for a coffee or a lunch. In summer they have a small terrace outside. Also nice to visit if you are not going to the museum.
I highly recommend Dolhuys to anyone who visits Haarlem. And to who lives in Haarlem, obviously. And I don’t say that because I worked in the mental health care for 15 years.
If you have any affinity with art, outsider art, outsiders, a different look on people and life, and/or with psychiatry and mental illness, then this is a museum for you!
Have you ever visited a museum that was dedicated to mental illness, art by psychiatric patients, the history of psychiatry and so on? Would you be interested?