About the former museum

A museum in a stately
Amsterdam canal house

Founded in 1997 the Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassenmuseum Hendrikje) moved in 2007 to the new and chic premises of Herengracht 573, Amsterdam. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the museum had to close in 2020. During the thirteen years of its existence an estimated 70,000 to 85,000 people frequented the museum each year.

The elegant presentation, the warm and welcoming interior and the historic aspects of the beautiful building on one of Amsterdam’s exclusive canals made a visit of the Museum of Bags and Purses a completely unique experience. The building itself and the luxurious interior were a bonus to the exquisite collection and added to the experience of a museum visit.

‘Not only the collection, but the museum’s atmosphere in general is truly exceptional. Like a 5-star hotel.’ (Visitor to the Museum of Bags and Purses Hendrikje).

The new museum created an elegant ambience that did justice to the purses made from so many fine materials. The founders, Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo, wanted visitors to feel relaxed and enjoy a day out with a partner, mother, daughter, sister or friends.

On two floors of the building visitors could trace the history of purses from the 16th century to the present day. There were also galleries for temporary exhibitions with historic themes or for those highlighting modern purse design.

Stylish combination
of antique and modern

The first residents of the museum building were the De Graeff family who built the house in 1666. The De Graeffs and their descendants transformed two rooms employing beautiful historical features such as painted ceilings and fireplaces from the 17th and 18th centuries. These historic elements have been carefully restored.

As a contrast to the period rooms the interior designer Jantien Nunnikhoven created a contemporary and convivial feel for the foyer and museum café at the rear. She did a splendid job decorating the house: an extremely stylish combination of antique and modern. Thus, in addition to the fine period features there were modern elements and specially designed lamps.

‘The museum is a must-see even for men. It is housed in a splendid canalside house and has beautiful period rooms. The collection is extremely comprehensive.’ (Visitor to the Museum of Bags and Purses Hendrikje, 2013)

A superb view of the lush and flower-filled garden made the foyer and the museum café a perfect venue. The well-known landscape architect Robert Broekema redesigned the garden, incorporating sleek lines, box hedges and water features characteristic of 18th-century baroque city gardens.
Visitors needing a break could sit in the museum café and enjoy a tempting array of tasty snacks, lunches or tea-time treats. The front of the café faced the historic canal while the rear overlooked the elegant 18th-century style garden, giving guests a choice of two interesting views.