From what began as a private collection by an amateur archaeologist Don Duco in 1969, his passion for clay pipes has grown into a specialist museum in fifty years with over 20.000 in its collection.
The National Pipe Museum, formerly known as the Pijpenkabinet / Pipe Cabinet until 2013, is one of those interesting but lesser known museums in Amsterdam. It is housed in a typical Amsterdam canal property built in 1670, along the Prinsengracht canal. The National Pipe Museum collects, researches and display artefacts on pipe smoking culture phenomenon dating back to 2500 years ago.
The entrance of the museum is through a pipe shop called Smokiana, located in the basement of the building. Entry tickets are available at the cashier desk. The National Pipe Museum is one level up via a narrow staircase. It occupies the entire floor, showcasing its permanent exhibition.
The best part about visiting this museum is the personal guided tour experience. A very passionate and knowledgeable guide is available to walk all visitors through the antique display cases chronologically, explaining (in English or Dutch) all the ways how the world of pipes has changed. The vast collection consists of pre-Columbian era pipes dating back to 500 BC, Dutch clay pipes discovered during archaeological excavations, bowls of tobacco pipes made out of briar wood and meerschaum, hand-painted porcelain pipes, other pipes made of ivory, bone, stone, glass, metal and rubber, Chinese opium paraphernalia, ethnographic pipes from Africa, Asia and America, makers tools, tobacco curiosities such as boxes and pipe stands, not forgetting prints and drawings and so much more. I believe the permanent exhibition displays over 2,000 items. There is no labels, tags or any information provided on the museum items. Should you have any questions, feel free to ask away.
Even though I do not smoke, learning the quick history, culture and admiring exquisite pipes from nearly all continents was definitely an enjoyable 30-minute education. I had the opportunity to see the inside of a historic Amsterdam canal house, which was an added bonus. My Museumkaart even granted me a free entry. An absolute must to visit for the pipe enthusiasts, collectors, history buffs, non-smokers and everyone else. A different kind of museum for a change!
Website: https://pipemuseum.nl (Dutch only)
Address: Prinsengracht 488, 1017 KH Amsterdam.
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday from 12pm – 6pm.
Admission Fees: €10.00 for adults, €5.00 for kids age 6-18 years old and free for all under 6 years old. Free entry for Museumkaart and I Amsterdam Card holders.
Getting There: At least 25 minutes walk from Amsterdam train station or take tram 2, 11 and 12 and alight at Prinsengracht.