The Museum Van Loon is a magnificent double-sized canal house located on the Keizersgracht canal in Amsterdam. The house, collection and garden is open to the general public.
It is owned by the Van Loon merchant family who purchased the house in 1884. Willem van Loon was one of the original co-founders of the Dutch East India Comany (VOC) which was established in 1602.
The house itself was designed by Adriaan Dortsman and built in 1672 and the first resident was no less than Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680), a famous Dutch painter and renowned student of Rembrandt. The house was then occupied by different families until the Van Loons bought it.
In 1973, the house was opened as a museum under the independent Van Loon foundation. However, the Van Loon family continue to inhabit the upper floors of the property in the former servants’ quarters.
The original facade of the house still remains with its distinctive 4 statues at the top. The house interior is decorated in Louis XV-style from the mid-18th century with a fine collection of period furniture, porcelain and silverware.
The Van Loon house collection is spread over 3 floors – the basement, Bel étage and upper floor. You first arrive at the middle Bel étage level into the grand Entrance Hall and Staircase with its brass rococo-style banister, dating from 1760.
On the same floor the serene Garden Room affords a beautiful view of the garden. The Red Drawing Room with numerous Van Loon family portraits hanging was a place where the gentlemen of the house could retire after dinner.
The Blue Drawing Room was used mainly by Thora van Loon who was lady-in-waiting to former Dutch Queen Wilhelmina in Amsterdam. The impressive Dining Room in 18th century style can seat up to 24 guests with a long table configuration.
On the upper floor the rooms were used as bedrooms. The Drakensteyn Room has painted wall hangings which form a continuous scene around the room. The paintings were acquired from Drakenseyn Castle (residence of Princess Beatrix) in the 1960s.
The upper floor also has the Red Bedroom, the Bird Room (the wall fabric is adorned with exotic birds) and the Sheep Room.
At the basement floor downstairs there is a period kitchen which was the focal point for the family’s 10-15 servants. A video presentation also gives some background info on the house and its owners.
From the basement you can also head out to the large and very pleasant garden – which is prominently featured in Amsterdam’s Open Garden Days held annually in June.
At the back of the garden is The Coach House (opening onto Kerkstraat) which could house up to 8 coaches and 6 horses. It is now used as an occasional exhibition space with a small Coffee Corner café.
There is a general visitors guide booklet available at the front desk which gives information about each room.
If you are curious about seeing how wealthy Dutch merchants lived in Amsterdam, then the Van Loon Museum will certainly make for an interesting a visit.
NOTE: For the temporary exhibition Says Who? Creating space for histories which deals with colonialism themes, the period rooms are not visible and have been taken over by built-in boxes. This runs 7 Apr to 16 Jul 2023.
Another canal house in Amsterdam open to the public is the Museum Willet-Holthuysen
Museum Van Loon Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 1000-1700.|
|Admission Prices (2023)||€13.50 for adults, €11 for students, €7.50 for children 6-18. FREE entry for children 0-5, Museumkaart and I Amsterdam City Card holders.|
Order the Iamsterdam City Card online here which includes free entrance to the Van Loon Museum.
|Getting There||The Museum Van Loon is located on Keizersgracht (south side) just off Vijzelstraat. Metro 52 stops at nearby Vijzelgracht.|
Museum Van Loon, Keizersgracht 672, 1017 ET Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 624 5255, museumvanloon.nl
Last updated 24 March 2023. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.
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