I’d love to tell you all about how I’m a huge fan of Sigmund Freud. How I’ve read all his books. How I’ve studied his works thoroughly. Unfortunately, none of the above is true. On the contrary, I knew very little about Freud before coming to this museum, but I was still able to enjoy it just as much, or perhaps even more, than the Freud aficionados, who go out of their way to find his house, which is in quite a hidden location.
Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential thinkers of his time. A neurologist and psychotherapist, he was also an Austrian-Jew who fled his home in Vienna in 1938 to escape from the Nazis. He moved to London that year, to the large and beautiful house at 20 Maresfield Gardens, in the affluent neighbourhood of Hampstead. It’s here where he remained until his death. The house was passed onto his daughter and eventually became the museum it is today.
Inside Freud’s house, you’ll see the famous couch where he spoke to his patients, delving deep into their unconscious minds. You’ll walk around the rooms where his book collection is still intact on the shelves along with the artwork he decorated his walls with, representing dreams and the unconscious. The audio-guide, which is available in multiple languages, is well worth picking up. Everything is clearly explained from Freud’s ideas to his life and work, as well as the meaning behind the objects and artwork in his house.
With the original furniture still here inside the house, walking into his study feels like stepping into a time machine and travelling back to the 1930s. It’s easy to forget it’s a museum. After all, it is simply a house.
Aside from teaching me a great deal about Freud and psychoanalysis, there was something else I took away from my experience here. For me, the house tells a story; the story of a man who luckily fled persecution; who escaped the Nazi death camps. Tragically, his four sisters remained in Vienna and were subsequently murdered in those camps.
A five minute walk from Finchley Road tube station, Freud’s house is situated on a quiet and leafy road nearby. The houses here are impressive. I’m actually planning to move here soon, right after I win the lottery.
Finchley Road is where to come for lunch. The place to go is the 02 Centre where you’ll find a variety of restaurants, shops, bars, a supermarket and cinema. Or if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably grab a beer in the historical pub nearby, The North Star – built in 1855. The beer garden at the back is great when the weather is tolerable.
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