The Cat Cabinet (Katten Kabinet) is a museum in Amsterdam which houses a unique art collection based around the theme of cats.
It is located in a grand house on the prestigious Golden Bend section of the Herengracht canal in Amsterdam.
The houses at numbers 497 and 499 Herengracht date back to 1667 and were originally built for the van Loon brothers, part of a wealthy merchant family.
The van Loons held the house at 497 until 1725 – since then it has seen a number of other notable occupants including former Amsterdam mayor Jan Calkoen. The US president John Adams stayed in the house when on a visit to the pensionary Engelbert van Berckel.
The house was then owned for a hundred years by the van Eeghen family (from 1885 to 1985).
The house was purchased by the current owner Bob Meijer in 1985 and was subsequently restored. He still lives in the house along with a few resident cats.
The Cat Cabinet was founded in 1990 to commemorate Meijer’s red tom cat who lived between 1966 and 1983 and was called John Pierpont Morgan (named after the US banker).
Meijer gained some inspiration for the concept from a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which was showing its own cat art collection.
The Cat Cabinet museum contains a wide selection of paintings, sculptures, photos, drawings and posters of cats. It includes works by – among others – Pablo Picasso, Sal Meijer, Rembrandt and Henri de Toulouse L’Autrec. A small section of the museum is devoted to Meijer’s cat.
The museum is housed on the first floor in 4 rooms with original period furniture. Some of the collection is also displayed on the staircase and corridor.
The Green Room has a photo display of various celebrities posing with cats.
The Music Room has a beautiful ceiling painting and dates from 1870.
The Ballroom also has a fine ceiling painting of the Amsterdam City Virgin dating from the 17th century. This painting was discovered during the museum renovation and was restored in 1998.
You can access the garden which also displays a collection of cat-themed posters.
Being a private collection, there is a quirky and intimate feel to the place. Details of the feline artworks are provided on laminated sheets left around the rooms. Note, there are no café facilities.
It’s something just a little bit different and well worth visiting for an hour – especially if you are a cat lover.
Also of interest: Museum Van Loon
Cat Cabinet Essential Info
|Opening Times||Tue-Sun 1200-1700, closed Mondays.|
|Admission Prices (2022)||€10.00 for adults, €5.00 for students. FREE entry for children 0-11.|
Note, the Museumkaart and Iamsterdam City Cards are NOT valid.
|Getting There||The Cat Cabinet can be easily reached on foot – located on the “Golden Bend” of the Herengracht canal between Koningsplein and Vijzelstraat. From Amsterdam Central take either metro 52 to Rokin, tram 4 to Rembrandtplein, tram 11 to Koningsplein or tram 24 to Muntplein.|
Cat Cabinet, Herengracht 497, 1017 BT Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 626 9040, kattenkabinet.nl
Last updated 21 September 2021. This article was first published in 2011 and has been regularly updated.