Museums of the World: Bruges Torture Museum.

Readers that don’t like to see images of the torture of wax people please stop now. Here’s a nice picture of a sunrise in my local park early one January morning.

No actual living human is being injured in any of the following photos and any blood is simply red paint but, if you absolutely, definitely don’t want to see wax people being tortured here’s that nice picture again.

Still here?


Ah, there you are. let’s continue shall we.

I’ve been to some odd museums in the past, really I have this probably rates with some of the oddest.

The Oude Steen Torture museum was fairly small and I was expecting it to be like the London Dungeon and full of gore and shocks. Unlike The London Dungeon though the Oude Steen Torture Museum does not seek to be gross out blood and guts, arrrrgggh there goes my spleen etc, but simply to explain how the devices displayed were used.

The building in which the museum is located was originally a prison and is one of the oldest prisons in Europe.

It shows various torture methods that would have been used in this very building at some point in its several hundred year existence and several times I had felt horrified that anyone could use these methods on another human.

From the official website of the Torture Museum:-

“Most instruments of torture are authentic instruments that have been preserved through the ages.” 

“​For some instruments, a technique has been used to make replicas as faithful as possible”. 

​”Some instruments have not stood the test of time”. 

It wasn’t as disturbing as I thought it was going to be but I still shuddered at the thought of some of the tortures on display.

I’ve taken some photos of some of them to show you.

A man in stocks.
He looks like he’s been there for a while. Offenders would be placed in these Gibbet Irons and left to die inside them in public. The idea being that this would discourage anyone thinking about doing something equally criminal.
Female Chastity belt. I’m sure you know what that is.
The breast ripper. The name speaks for itself. I fully cringe just thing about this thing.
The original version of the Iron Maiden. A kind of Wooden Maiden if you will.
These ladies have been arguing. They have been placed in this contraption so they have to spend the day making up their differences. I bet they can still kick each other.
He’s been branded, not sure why he only has half a haircut though.
The Barrel Pillory or Drunkards Cloak. A drink person would be placed in here and paraded through the streets to be shamed. Must have been difficult to walk in after a skinfull.
Cards and Dice necklace. This would be attached to gamblers who would then be turned over to their debtors.
A prison cell. The cell itself is apparently an original part of the building.
The Heretics Fork. It’s not nice. A full description is here.
A mask of shame. It looks like like a pig!
Another Drunkards Pillory. Imagine trying to walk in that after a night on the pop.
This man is being boiled alive but doesn’t seen that bothered.
He is being cooked. Ouch.
This wax man is having weights placed on him until he reveals whatever it they want him to reveal. The longer he refuses, the more weights are added.
Water torture. Water is repeatedly dripped onto the same spot on the victims head which eventually starts to feel like a brick instead of a drop of water.
The rack. One end tied to the victims arms, the other to their feet.
I’m sure you can see how this works. I’ve had some office chairs like this.
An executioner holding an axe. He looks like a Star Wars baddie.

So that was Bruges’ torture museum.

It’s a nice little oddity of a museum and full geared up towards getting tourists inside, much like it did with me.

Unlike a lot of museums there was no little shop to buy a fridge magnet which was disappointing as I have a great fridge magnet collection and wanted to add another.

If you would like to visit the museum you can find it slap bang in the middle of the city at Woolenstraat 29, 8000 Bruges.

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