A chance to peek inside another grand canal house in Amsterdam …
This time is Museum Van Loon.
This 17th-century canal-side mansion is one of the most splendid homes in town. It was built in 1672 with design according, Adriaan Dortsman, a famous Dutch architect known for creating Ronde Lutherse Kerk (former Lutheran church in Amsterdam, located at the Singel). The first inhabitant at this property was a Dutch painter, Ferdinand Bol, Rembrandt’s famous pupil.
The museum is named after the Van Loon family. Family Van Loon originates from the town of Loon op Zand, near the city of ’s Hertogenbosch in the south of the Netherlands. They relocated to Amsterdam and rose to nobility when they became affluent bankers.
Willem van Loon was a founding member of the V.O.C., the Dutch East India Company. He bought this stately home at Keizersgracht 672 in 1884 as a wedding gift for his son Willem Hendrik van Loon and his bride Thora Egidius. Hendrik headed the Hope & Co Bank while his wife, Thora, was the lady-in-waiting for Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. They lived here with their two children.
Museum Van Loon showcases the Van Loon family’s collection spanning across five centuries. Various objects throughout the rooms parade the way of life a wealthy merchant family used to live in Amsterdam. Acquisition such as wall-hangings from Castle Drakensteyn (the private mansion of H.R.H princess Beatrix), fine portraits, Persian carpets, signed furniture, silverware and porcelain are all part of the splendid interior.
The monumental rococo style banister staircase made entirely of brass is distinctive in the Netherlands. The furnished 17th century style Dining Room is still in use for special occasions by the Van Loon family. In the Red Drawing Room, family portraits are proudly hung presenting the long family lineage of merchants and members of the ruling elite. The Bird Room is a nursery decorated with very unusual wall fabric of exotic bird design. Last but not least, the Basement used to be the working area of 10-15 servants consisting of spacious kitchen, storage rooms, servants’ dayroom and a scullery room for polishing silver.
The manicured formal garden is well-known due to the yearly event of Amsterdam’s Open Garden Days, happening every third weekend in June. A private green oasis with a pavilion inspired by a Greek temple hidden in the bustling center of Amsterdam is absolutely rare. Look out for the copper beech tree planted by the Van Loon family in 1884!
The most interesting part of this museum is the Coach House, located at the end of the garden with access onto the Kerkstraat. It has a grand facade with columns and a tympanum and is embellished with a bust of Apollo, flanked by two statues, Silenus and Flora. (Source: Architecture Centrum Amsterdam)
The Coach House was used to hold eight coaches, six horses and a hayloft to accommodate the coachman and his family on the upper floor. The museum foundation acquired the coach house in 2009 and completely restored and refurbished it. Now, it has display examples of uniforms, sleigh and carriage complete with liveries and harness made for the Van Loon family. A small museum shop and a coffee corner are on site too. Only the ground floor is accessible to museum visitors.
Since 1973, the Van Loon family has opened the lower section of their home to the public. They still inhabit the upper floors.
It is a unique opportunity to explore one of the best preserved historical houses where a canal house, its garden and its coach house can be viewed in its entirety. Best preserved in the sense of keeping the interior gracefully intact and everything in place for the past centuries.
When purchasing your ticket, ask for a visitor guide booklet in English. Additional detailed information and description are available in each and every room and highlighted in English too. Visitors are welcome to wander through three museum floors at will and observe closely. Watch the video (basement level) to learn about the family Van Loon. Your visit should take about 60 minutes. An enjoyable museum experience if you are intrigued by such perspective.
Note: Due to many stairs and steps the museum is not well accessible for wheelchairs.
Website: https://www.museumvanloon.nl (click for English on the top right hand corner)
Address: Keizersgracht 672. 1017 ET Amsterdam.
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 10am – 5pm.
Entrance Fees: €10.00 for adults, €5.50 for kids age 6-18 years old and free entry for children under 6 years old. Free entry for Museumkaart holders.
Getting There: Tram: 24 alight at Muntplein. Use https://9292.nl/en to plan your journey.