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This museum is in fact composed with two small museums. Both are located at a short walking distance one from the other at Oudezijds Achterburgwal, one of the canals of the Red Light District.
Dedicated to canabis, the museum focuses on the history of the cannabis plant is the history of human civilisation. With a unique permanent exhibition visitors are able to learn more about this amazingly versatile plant species enabled the development of clothing, medicine, sea travel, agriculture and more, and how cannabis and hemp - which are simply different strains of the same plant - have been part of human kind's everyday life for thousands of years.
The history of the museum started in 1985 when this quirky museum, the world’s first devoted to cannabis, opened. From the beginning the aim of the museum was to provide visitors with information about what hash, marijuana and hemp can do. If Amsterdam is known for its coffeeshops, the topic was more global and displayed its status as an essential, renewable resource and a global cultural and natural phenomenon.
The Hemp Gallery presents a unique, individual in its selection, exhibit of artifacts worth seeing, not only if you are interested in tradition of recreational and medical use of cannabis, but also in history and social questions surrounding the use of the hemp plant.
Over the years the collection has grown to encompass over 6000 individual pieces and an annex was created - the Museum Gallery, only a few metres along the canal from the original premises. A sister's museum also exist in Barcelona.