Remarkable exhibitions in
the Museum of Bags and Purses

Each year, the Museum of Bags and Purses expanded their permanent collection with two large, high-profile exhibitions and seven smaller exhibits of contemporary handbag designers and crafts.

A small overview
of the exhibitions

Some of the museum’s unusual exhibitions:

Beasty Bags, the animal as inspiration (2009)- bags in the shape of animals or made from animal materials.

Welcome on board (2014) – the history of traveling bags and suitcases.

Ugly – A Dispute about Tastes (2015) – a discussion about originality, creativity and quality of bags and purses.

2015 – Happy Birthday Chanel! 60 Years of the 2.55 –  dedicated to a singular handbag and its influence on fashion since its release.

Street Couture (2016) – the area of tension between haute couture and global street fashion.

The Bead goes on (2016) – focusing on the versatility of beads and showing bags, purses and accessories made of beads from the 18th century onward.

Trunk Show (2020) – with remarkable and fascinating items from the Menko ten Cate collection.

More remarkable exhibitions

For its striking exhibition Accessories are a Girl’s Best Friend (2017) the museum joined forces with Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum: the absolute highlights of the Rijksmuseum’s accessory collection were temporarily showcased in the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje.

The year 2017 had another remarkable major exhibition: It’s a Man’s World. With its overview of the history of gentlemen’s bags and purses this exhibit was unique, since no other museum had ever paid attention to the history of men’s bags and purses.

Unparalleled was the 2016 exhibit Royal Bags highlighting the style of some of Europe’s most iconic kings, queens and princesses. For this exhibition Queen Maxima of the Netherlands personally selected three purses from the private collection of the Dutch Royal Family. The British Queen Elizabeth II also happily cooperated: she sent six of her personal handbags to be showcased in the Amsterdam Museum of Bags and Purses.

‘Since its opening in 1996 I never visited the Museum Hendrikje. But I absolutely did not want to miss the Royal Bags exhibition. The collection is truly exceptional, and I learned a lot about the history of handbags and purses. The Royal Bags exhibit was very interesting because many royal families participated in it. I am looking forward to the next exhibition: It’s a Man’s World.’ (Visitor from Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

The former Empress of Austria, better known as Sisi, was represented with her personal handbags on loan from the Sisi Museum in Vienna. Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco’s famous Kelly Bag, designed by Hermès, was also on display.

In addition, the Royal Bags exhibition presented an overview of royal fashion, etiquette, travels, and the functions of the royal purses and bags.

All these exhibitions brought the Museum of Bags and Purses, also known as Museum Hendrikje, lots of free publicity worth almost 1.9 million Euros annually. The publicity department of this boutique museum closely rivaled that of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum.