The Amsterdam Museum originally opened in 1926 and relocated in 1975. It features a collection that highlights the history of Amsterdam. It was relocated to a building that was used as a municipal orphanage from 1581-1960. It was originally a convent that was rebuilt in 1634.
Many of the original furnishing of the orphanage are displayed among the collection at the Amsterdam Museum which tells the story of the City from the Middle Ages forward. The museum maintains a collection of over 70,000 objects. Currently underway is a project to share the museum’s collection in high quality digital photos for the public. The digital collection currently includes over 25,000 photographs.
The display collection of the Amsterdam Museum includes paintings, models, archeological discoveries, photographs and artifacts not often discovered in history museums.
These include an environmentally friendly vehicle from the 1960s named Witkar as well as a replica of the famed Café 't Mandje, an Avant Garde pub in the red-light district.
Thomas Gerritsz Doesburch, Claesje Hendricksdr Roeclaes and their Two Daughters, 1559 attributed Jacob War II (?-1568)
Adoration of the Shepherds (fragment), c. 1559 Pieter Aertsen (1507-1575)
The Gouden Leeuw on the IJ, 1686
Willem van de Veide (1633-1707)
Marble bust of Joan Huydecopers
Burghers of Amsterdam
The Governernesses of the Civic Orphanage 1683
Adriaen Backer (1635/36-1684)
Louis Bonaparte, 1808
Charles Howard Hodges (1764-1837)
The museum is billed as a meeting place for those who want to learn about this 1,000-year-old city with its special relationship to water that has been the home to progressive thinkers throughout the centuries. It is more than the capital of the Netherlands, it has been the home to world trade, artists, entrepreneurs, a fabled red-light district as well as being at the forefront of the marijuana industry.
Decorated elephant tusks, 1919
Map of the world 1604
Portrait of Joan Blaeu
Jan van Rossum, 1663
“Joan Blaeu’s left hand rests on a tellurium which demonstrates the way the earth revolves. He is the Dutch East India Company’s official cartographer, a member of Amsterdam’s magistracy and publisher of ten- and twelve-volume atlases as well as other scientific works.” Amsterdam Museum
Johannes Lingelbach, 1656
Simon Stinstra and Anna Braam
Tibout Regters 1763
The Amsterdam Museum offers a unique multi-media presentation which gives a one-hour overview of the history of the City, titled Amsterdam DNA, one of its most popular exhibitions. In exploring the essence of the building that is now its home, a special attraction at the museum for children and parents is the presentation called, The Little Orphanage. This attraction geared for children from 4 to 12 years of age is an interactive presentation detailing the life of orphans in a 17th century orphanage. This is highly recommended for those visiting Amsterdam with young children.
Werner Jacobsz van den Valckert 1625
“Originally formed as militias, in civic guard companies of the seventeenth century members buy their own weapons and attributes and turn their barracks into gentlemen’s clubs. The leave the real fighting and dying to the professional soldiers. They often hold sumptuous banquets, shoot for sport and occasionally parade through the city in antique Italian armour. These are the members of the crossbow company.” Amsterdam Museum
“Passive at home and brutal overseas: is this a contradiction in Amsterdam’s history or are these two sides of the same opportunist coin? The same opportunism that delayed the city’s entry into the Dutch Revolt in the Eighty Years War (1568 1648)?
Unrest in the city was often quickly suppressed, followed by negotiations and concessions – a pattern which continues to the present day. Yet nothing was allowed to stand in the way of trade overseas, where the city resorted easily to force. This proved the city’s economic undoing; reversed only late in the nineteenth century.
Amsterdam has suffered too. Worst of all between 1940 and 1945 when Nazi Germany occupied the city. Of the 80,000 Jews – one in ten Amsterdammers was Jewish – only 15,000 survived.” Amsterdam Museum
Herman Lugt, 1914
“In 1914, the First World War breaks out as German armies march into Belgium on their way to France. A million Belgians flee to the Netherlands, scared by stories of plundering, murderous German troops. Many arrive at Amsterdam’s Central Station and walk via Damrak to the Bourse, where they are registered.” Amsterdam Museum
Another special feature that goes beyond ordinary museum exhibitions is Amsterdam Gallery, a covered street that leads from Begijnensteeg to the museum. It displays group portraits from 1530 to the present in paintings and photographs as well as a 350-year-old wooden giant. Along with regular exhibitions and presentations, the museum features temporary exhibitions, guided tours and events.
Patrons of the orphanage
Jacob Backer ca 1634
Stephan Vanfleteren 2000
Fashion Statements Temporary Exhibit
The Amsterdam Museum is open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM. Children are admitted free. An audio guide is included in the ticket price. The museum features a library, access to the online collection as well as a gift shop.
Tuna Salad, Egg Salad, Bitterballen with Mushroom or Pumpkin soup
Selly, Manager Mokum Museum Cafe
In the inner courtyard of the Amsterdam Museum is the setting for one of the most unique cafes in the world. The Mokum Museum Café is in the former cow shed of the Saint Lucien Monastery. The monastery was built in 1414, one of 21 built at the time. The building that currently houses the Amsterdam Museum was an active monastery until it became an orphanage in 1581.
Mokum is a popular name for Amsterdam derived via Yiddish from the Hebrew makom meaning “place”
Mokum Museum Café serves breakfast, lunch and early dinners in an historical space that was once the home to the cows of the nuns who occupied the monastery centuries ago. The space has been redesigned to offer patrons a relaxed informal dining area in an atmosphere that exudes the history of the 14-1500s.
When visiting the Amsterdam Museum, a visit to the Mokum Museum Café is a must if only to say that you ate in a cow shed from 1414. The café offers soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries, hot and cold beverages including beer and wine. It is worth spending some time at Mokum Museum Café if only for a drink. Eating in an historical cow shed may not even be on your bucket list but you can write it down and cross it off after you dine at Mokum Museum Café. Guaranteed you’ll talk about it till the cows come home.
The Amsterdam Museum is a must see for everyone who wants an overview of this 1000-year-old city that encompasses a rich history that goes beyond its age.
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page
Video Voice over by Jim Reynolds