The Rembrandt House (Museum Het Rembrandthuis) is the Amsterdam house where famous Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) lived. The museum gives visitors an insight into the life and work of Rembrandt at the height of his fame.
Rembrandt purchased the house on the well-to-do Sint Antoniesbreestraat (now Jodenbreestraat) in 1639 for the considerable price of 13,000 guilders. He moved in with his wife Saskia Uylenburgh, a burgomaster’s daughter from Leeuwarden.
The house itself was built in 1606, the year of Rembrandt’s birth. A few years before Rembrandt moved in, it is thought the house was remodelled by architect Jacob van Campen who designed the Royal Palace on Dam Square.
Rembrandt stayed in the house for 19 turbulent years producing some of his most famous works including the NightWatch which can be seen at the Rijksmuseum.
Saskia gave birth to 3 children in the house that unfortunately died shortly afterwards – they are all buried in the nearby Zuiderkerk. Whilst a 4th child Titus survived, Saskia herself passed away from tuberculosis in 1642 aged just 29.
For a good period Rembrandt enjoyed great prosperity as an artist and teacher and his studio produced a significant output of artworks. In total Rembrandt produced some 300 paintings, 290 etchings and 2,000 drawings over his career. The Rembrandt House has an almost complete collection of his etchings.
Rembrandt also acquired an incredible collection of rarities from all over the world including busts of Roman emperors, Venetian glassware, spears, shells and dried animals.
Eventually Rembrandt’s fortunes began to change due to his extravagant lifestyle and a declining art market. In 1658 after persistent problems paying off his debts Rembrandt was declared bankrupt. A detailed inventory of his possessions was made on behalf of his creditors.
He had to move to a smaller rented house on Rozengracht with his mistress Hendrickje Stoffels, her daughter Cornelia and his son Titus. He remained there until his death in 1669. The house in the Jordaan area of Amsterdam was demolished in the 19th century.
For around the next 250 years the Rembrandt house had a number of different occupants before being bought by the city council who turned it over to a foundation. The house was renovated between 1908 and 1911 and then opened as a museum dedicated to the artist.
In 1998 a modern new wing was added nextdoor and the main house was restored carefully. The bankruptcy inventory was vital in helping create an authentic recreation of the home.
A visit to the museum takes about 1 hour in a one-way direction. An audio tour is included and is available in 9 languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Russian). There is also a special children’s audio tour in Dutch and English.
Rooms on the tour include the Kitchen, the most comfortable room in the house due to the constant heat from the fireplace. Note the small box-beds of the day where people slept in semi-upright positions for fear of too much blood rushing to their heads.
Visitors arrived into the house via the Entrance Hall which was adorned with paintings for sale by Rembrandt and other masters. There was a small adjacent office where Rembrandt kept his business papers.
The Large Studio was Rembrandt’s main studio where he painted his masterpieces. The room faced north giving optimal light conditions.
Rembrandt’s assistants made up his paints and prepared his canvases.
The Small Studio allowed 4-5 of Rembrandt’s students to work undisturbed in partitioned sections.
The modern wing hosts regular exhibitions about Rembrandt, his predecessors, contemporaries and pupils. It also shows works by contemporary artists inspired by Rembrandt.
There is a shop at the entrance selling various Rembrandt books and reproduction etchings. Access for disabled visitors to the old house is limited due to the narrow staircases.
You must pre-book a ticket and timeslot online in advance.
Rembrandt House Essential Info
|Opening Times||Tue-Sun 1000-1800, closed Mondays. Open since 5 June 2021.|
|Admission Prices (2021)||€15 for adults, €6 for children 6-17. Free entry for children 0-5, Museumkaart and Iamsterdam City Card holders. Note, special exhibitions can attract a small supplement.|
|Getting There||Rembrandt house is located near Waterlooplein, which is served by tram 14 and metro lines 51, 53 and 54 (stop Waterlooplein).|
Rembrandt House Museum, Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 520 0400, rembrandthuis.nl
Last updated 2 September 2021. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.