Smaller museums are often overlooked in cities like Amsterdam where travelers allot perhaps two days to see and do what could take a month to cover. Too bad because many are a treat.
A treat but potential challenges for us Levelers.
I decided to find out which are worth the effort. It was my money and my time so I began with those that most appealed to me. I concentrated on truly smaller museums, eliminating those in large, more public facilities because they are more likely to be fully accessible.
Foam, which deals with all things photographic, is artfully slipped into a traditional canal setting with a distinctly contemporary interior.
Tip: There are elevators to each floor, but within each you will encounter different levels; no more than seven steps though.
|Seated Man, Mike Disfarmer.|
|The Van Loon Museum, home of the family of a co-founder of the Dutch East India Company.|
The house was built in 1672, first lived in by a student of Rembrandt, its interior redone in the mid 18th century and purchased by the Van Loons in 1884 as a wedding present for their son, Willem Hendrik van Loon, and his bride, Thora. It was opened to the public in 1973 but the family still occupy the upper floors.
Warning: There is no elevator but I found it worth the effort. I will list the number of steps as I go along.
|The dining room could seat 24 when the table was extended.|
|The garden and carriage house.|
Tip: There are 11 spiral steps to the bottom level kitchen which was headquarters for the family's10-15 servants. A sample menu included foie gras served for dessert. There are seven steps up to garden level. The copper beech was planted by the Van Loons in 1881. Seven steps will take you inside the Coach House where up to eight coaches and six horses could be stabled with room for the coachman and his family upstairs.
|Painted wall hangings were purchased from Drakenstyn mansion.|
TassenmuseumHendrikje, Museum of Bags and Purses. I had heard good things about this, the largest museum of its kind in the world. It did not disappoint.
It is another opportunity to go inside a canal house, this originally a 17th century mayor's residence developed by Cornelis de Graeff on Herengracht, one canal closer to the port than Foam and the Van Loon.
Tip: The elevator will take you to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors; you will have seven steps to the permanent collection on the 4th floor. The excellent shop and bathrooms are on the entrance level.
|Sixteenth century goat leather belt bag with 18 pockets.|
Initially, both men and women carried purses until the 17th century when tailors began adding pockets to men's attire. Women's attire was so voluminous through the 19th century that they could carry two purses underneath, tied around their waist with strings, one to a hip. Thus the expression, "controlling the purse strings."
|Circa 1740 Netherlands chatelaine with needle case,, scissors, vinaigrette and thimble box.|
|Beaded bags like this prayer rug themed one with more than 50,000 beads created between 1929-25 have been popular for 200 years.|
Included in the cavalcade of purses are those made for and/or carried by royalty and celebrities, such as the one created by
|Dine on lunch or high tea in a period room.|
|Entrance to the cat museum.|
|Lighting was miserable.|
|Gift shop and its resident cat were my faves.|
Another museum in a 17th century canal house is the Amsterdam Pipe Museum but I didn't make it there.
Amsterdam on the Level, part 3, will address what I didn't see but put on the list for next time and the city's most popular attractions according to the tour companies. In part 4 I'll tell you about what I did on the one sunny day after four of gray, rain and cold. Can you say best bulb plants?