Dr. Gunther von Hagens is a controversial German scientist who invented a new method for preserving human tissue called Plastination and has subsequently made his fortune exploiting it. His acclaimed, but somewhat macabre, exhibitions have travelled the world ceaselessly for the last 20 years and in that time have been visited by more than 40 million people. Today Von Hagens has set up six floors of permanent home in the former American Express building in Amsterdam’s city center; currently on show is Body Worlds: The Happiness Project, which is designed to highlight the beneficial effect of happiness and exercise on the human body. Display are not always for the faint-hearted, as they include human corpses stripped of their skins or in various states of dissection, some hale and hearty, some neatly sliced to illustrate disease – the smoker’s lungs would make anyone give up on the spot – as well as fetuses, but nevertheless the exhibition has proved so popular that time slots are required when booking.
Body Worlds is located at Damrak 66 and is open Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission costs €20. Body Works is a five-minute walk from Centraal Station, and trams 4, 9, 16 and 24 stop nearby.