We initially had trouble finding where to buy the Museumkaart, since we followed the instructions from what turned out to be an obsolete web post about a tourist centre in Leidseplein that sold it. Despite covering every inch of this busy restaurant and shopping area and asking multiple people, we were not able to find it. Finally someone told us that it had closed down and we had to go to one of the larger participating museums in order to purchase it. Not wanting to brave the lineups at the most popular museums, we chose the Van Loon House where we were able to walk right in to make our purchase. This led us further afield on our first jet-lagged day than we had originally planned, but the end result was worth it since we secured this valuable card that we used for the rest of our stay.
Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassenmuseum), started by Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo. Located in a 17th Century former mayor’s residence on the prestigious Herengracht canal, the museum holds over 5000 bags, purses, pouches, suitcases, wallets and matching accessories. The exhibit starts with an impressive collection of bags from the 1500-1700s. Some interesting ones include a pouch made from goat leather that contains 18 secret compartments (1500s), letter wallets used to store love letters or other important documents (1600s), gaming purses that have a stiff bottom which stands upright for easy access to gambling chips or coins (1600s), egg-shaped wedding purses usually engraved with the faces of the bride and groom (1700s), and chatelaines which are decorative hooks worn at the waist that are attached to a set of chains holding small utility items such as scissors, sewing kits, a perfumed ball and keys (1700-1800s).
KattenKabinet, in commemoration. There is even a J.P. Morgan Shrine with memorabilia related to the cat, including the birthday presents that he would receive every 5th year. These included a painting, a sculpture, a book of limericks, and for his 15th, he received “Cat Money” printed from “De Bank de Pierpont Morgan” with his face on the bills, and the adage “We Trust No Dogs”.
It was quite incredible to see the entire bottom level of a large canal house covered floor to ceiling with cat art. There were cat sculptures in every shape, size and material including tall, thin bronze cats, fat cats, the Chinese waving cat with paw in the air, colourful ceramic cats, cats poised to pounce, and even a mannequin dressed in a costume from the musical Cats.
There are pipes made of clay, porcelain, ivory, bone, stone, glass, metal, hard rubber, and even wood, although it took many times of trial and error before the proper wood was found that did not burn–this being briarwood. As the pipes went through their variations over time, the length of the handle became longer or shorter until the optimum length was found that is still used in today’s pipes. One display case contained opium pipes from China and other countries, while another contained water pipes from various parts of the world. Some pipes had covers or carrying cases.
We visited many more quirky museums in Amsterdam, but this blog is getting too long as it is, so the rest will have to wait for the next entry ... stay tuned!