Museum Catharijneconvent or Saint Catherine’s Convent Museum is the national museum of Christian art located in an original medieval monastery in the heart of Utrecht city.
Established in 1979, the permanent collection of Museum Catharijneconvent comprises of unique both Protestant and Catholic historical exhibits ranging from the early medieval period up to the present day. It offers great insight into such cultural history in the Netherlands and its influence on Dutch society.
The museum introduction begins at Catharinazaal (Catharina Gallery) in the basement where a delightful assortment of ecclesiastical artifacts includes Saint Martin’s hammer and Man of Sorrows (c. 1490) oil on wood panel painting by Geertgen tot Sint Jans.
Next door, the Schatkamer (Treasury) room displays dazzling chalices, censers, vestments, reliquaries, candlesticks, gold and silverware, monstrances and lots more.
Up in the former dining room of the monastery, the Refter (Refectory), the beautiful hall is filled with medieval collection of huge altarpieces while the adjacent Utrecht Gallerie (Utrecht Gallery) has a mix of sculptures and paintings. Thereafter, walk the endless hallways exploring more religious items; tiles with biblical representations, centuries-old handwritten manuscripts, more paintings, strange artworks, porcelains, jewelries, stained-glass windows, everyday utensils, furniture pieces, carved reliefs, other forms of printed matter, bone fragments, habits/garments, etc. Look out for Rembrandt’s Baptism of the Eunuch (1626) among these extensive collections. It is fascinating and overwhelming!
The Museum Catharijneconvent compilation of both Protestant and Catholic treasures makes it a unique museum in the world. A wonderful opportunity to learn about the past and the present Christianity in the Netherlands. All presented in Dutch language!
For the foreigners, ask for your free audio guide. It provides 60 minutes of highlights around the museum, covering only a limited selection. It is better than no explanation at all. Still, worth a visit!
Address: Lange Nieuwstraat 38. 3521PH Utrecht.
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday from 10am – 5pm. Saturday, Sunday and (most) Public Holidays from 11am – 5pm.
Entrance Fees: €14.00 for adults and €7.00 for kids age 6-17 years old. Free entry for kids up to 5 years old and Museumkaart holders.
Getting There: less than 20 minutes walk from Utrecht Central station.
Note: Museum Catharijneconvent is accessible for the disabled. Wheelchairs are available upon request in advance.