Amsterdam Historic Museum, Amsterdam

4 out of 5 stars 40 Reviews

Kalverstraat 92 - 1012 PH Amsterdam +31-20-5231822

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  • Exhibits
    Exhibits
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  • Regentenkamer.
    Regentenkamer.
    by breughel
  • Post Office at the Paalhuis 1665.
    Post Office at the Paalhuis 1665.
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    Amsterdam Museum - Renovated.

    by breughel Updated Jun 23, 2013

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    The Nieuwe Brug in 1663.
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    On my previous visit, in 2007, I much liked what was then called the Amsterdam Historisch Museum.
    I wrote several reviews:
    "Generalities"
    "Civic Guard"
    "Regenten"
    "Anatomy"
    in accordance with what I found most essential for the Dutch history, culture and arts. Actually this is for me the Gouden Eeuw 17th c. period.

    On this new visit (May 2013) after the renovation I felt curious to see why the word "historical" had been removed from the name of the museum.
    The curator wrote somewhere "Nu zijn de bezoekers soms al uitgeput als ze bij de twintigste eeuw aanbelanden" = "Now visitors are already exhausted when they arrive in the twentieth century".
    Before there was a grand tour that took several hours and a short one of the highlights.

    The things now have been more divided. There is an "Amsterdam DNA tour" of about 45 minutes with films; a compacted exhibition on the Gouden Eeuw. The displays are more recreational than before and accessible to children.
    Trying a complete chronological visit was a bit confusing for me on my recent visit as one has to go in different parts of the building.
    It seemed to me that the previous organization of the museum was more historically structured (and more tiring to visit). A larger and younger public is now targeted with more recreational displays.

    Photos are allowed in the museum so that I gathered some pics of my favored Dutch paintings.

    Open: Every day 10 - 17 h
    Price museum (2013): 10 €, 5 - 18 yr 5€
    Free with museum card (can be bought here).

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    World War II in Amsterdam.

    by breughel Updated Jun 22, 2013

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    The Liberation of Amsterdam on 8/05/1945.
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    On my last visit I spend more time in the museum department about the city during WW II because during my visit the Liberation of Amsterdam on 7 and 8th May 1945 was remembered.
    The Netherlands were invaded on 10 May 1940 and after a heavy and very destructive bombing of Rotterdam the Dutch forces surrendered on May 14th.
    Amsterdam was not bombed, what explains that in this city there are still many old houses when there are only very few left in Rotterdam.

    During WW II Amsterdam suffered of two major disasters: the deportation of more than 60.000 Jewish residents and the famine of the 1944-1945 winter called the "Hongerwinter". All this is shown in the museum by documents of that period. I must say I was the only visitor of that part.

    The tragic fate of the Jewish community is well known outside Holland because of the Anne Frank diary.
    The diary was published in the Netherlands as "Het Achterhuis" (= annex) in 1947, followed by a second run in 1950. If I remember well I read that book in the late 1950s. Anne Frank made me often think of a Jewish friend from Vienna who staid hidden in Belgium and survived (see my tip on Vienna "Survivors" ).

    The "Hungerwinter" is less known outside Holland and was very tragic when you see that Belgium and the south of the Netherlands were liberated in September 1944 while Amsterdam was only liberated 8 months later on 8 May1945!
    2.300 inhabitants died during that winter 44-45 for lack of food, heating, medicine. People were eating dogs, cats and even tulip bulbs. Electricity fell out.

    Strange enough in the museum I found no mention of who liberated Amsterdam after the five years of occupation! I asked an attendant who did not know but came back later to me telling that according to his research on the web it were the Canadians.

    Actually according to the commemoration plaque on the Berlagebrug it were British Recce's who were the first to enter Amsterdam:
    THE FIRST ALLIED LIBERATORS
    WHO ON 7 MAY ALONG THIS BRIDGE
    ENTERED AMSTERDAM, BELONGED TO THE
    BRITISH 49th W.R. RECONNAISSANCE REGIMENT.
    ON 8 MAY FOLLOWED BY THE
    CANADIAN FORCES.
    I found a photo of them on their Brenguncarriers and a photo of that memorial plaque.

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    Amsterdam Historisch Museum - II. Civic Guard

    by breughel Updated Jun 22, 2013

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    On my previous visit in 2007 I got very much impressed by the esthetical and cultural homogeneity of he "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards’ Gallery, a typical example of the Dutch identity as existed in the Gouden Eeuw (17th c. )
    Since then the Gallery has been "renovated" and is now a mix of different things. My impression was that of seeing a souk!
    In order to show the diversity of the present Amsterdam the floor is covered with a 40 m long carpet with the characteristics of all 179 nationalities present in the city.
    From the Dutch press I read that artist Barbara Broekman designed the carpet from the idea that the diversity of cultures in the city is an asset rather than a problem.
    I wonder if it was a good idea for the museum curator to get involved in the controversial Dutch politics about what is called "multiculti" but the esthetic consequences of his choice are somewhat traumatic for those who saw the "Schuttersgalerij" as it was before the changes.

    ======================

    The "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards’ Gallery of the Amsterdams Historisch Museum, called Amsterdam Museum since 1/01/2011, is a glass-roofed walkway with free access to the public.

    Militia guilds were first formed in the Middle Ages by the civic authorities to be called out in emergencies. Members of the civic guard were well-to-do burghers. They had to buy their own equipment and arms. They held firing practice in shooting galleries known as 'doelen' (= targets). Each civic guard was named after its weapon. There were crossbowmen and longbowmen, and harquebusiers. The latter carried firearms, the harquebus or 'klover' in Dutch.

    The militias regularly commissioned group portraits, so-called militia paintings.
    Today some 125 militia paintings survive. Amsterdam and Haarlem were the major centre of production.
    The famous "Night Watch" of Rembrandt is one among many but is unique because it shows a Civic Guard Company moving, marching on, while the others are mainly static.

    The members of these civic guards had to pay to be portrayed. It is known that in Haarlem the price was about 60 Florin of that time per person. For the "Night Watch "the price was about 100 Florin per person. In the 17th c. a weaver earned about 200 Florin per year.
    Ordinary guardsmen did not appear in a civic guard painting. Having to pay for their own weapons was enough.

    15 huge paintings of the Amsterdam Civic Guards are on (free) display in the "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards’ Gallery which is a glass-roofed walkway (closes at 17 h). Best known is "De Compagnie van kapitein Joan Huydecoper" (1648) by Govert Flick.

    Open: Monday to Friday 10 - 17 h
    Saturday and Sunday 10 - 17 h
    Price museum: 10 €, The "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards’ Gallery is free.
    6 - 18 yr 5€
    Free with museum card (can be bought here).

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    Amsterdam Municipal Archives

    by pieter_jan_v Updated May 5, 2013
    Antique Record: Louis Davids - De Kleine Man

    The Amsterdam Municipal Archives have 35 kilometers of archives. It's a collection of millions of maps, paintains and drawings.
    The library has next to books also a sound and picture/movies archive.

    The archives are housed in the Bazel building; the former headoffice of the "Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM)".

    Guided tours in Englisg are available, but have to be booked in advance at telephone number +31-20-2511619. The themes are: Power in Mokum, Young and old in Amsterdam, Art and Culture, Money and Trade or Religion.

    Visiting hours:
    Mo: Closed
    Tu-Fr: 10AM - 5PM
    Sa-Su: Noon - 5PM

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, Part IV

    by von.otter Written Oct 18, 2012

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, May 2011
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    “I swear that first and above all things I will maintain the constitution of the United Netherlands, and that I will promote, to the utmost of my power, the independence of the state, and the liberty and prosperity of its inhabitants.”
    — The oath taken by William I, first sovereign of the newly united Kingdom of the Netherlands.

    The Amsterdam History Museum is located in an old cloister, which since 1578 served as the city orphanage. It was enlarged by Hendrik de Keyser and Jacob van Campen, architects during Holland’s 17th-century Golden Age; it was then rebuilt in the 18th century following the NeoClassical style. In 1976, this beautiful historical monument was converted to the Amsterdam Historical Museum.

    It is possible to visit the rooms where the directors of the orphanage met. The rooms is paneled in rich wood and the walls hung with portraits in the Old Masters tradition. These men, wearing their somber dark clothes accented with a white pleated collar, oversaw the running of the institution.

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, Part III

    by von.otter Written Oct 18, 2012

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, May 2011
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    “Those Dutchmen had hardly any imagination or fantasy, but their good taste and their scientific knowledge of composition were enormous.”
    — Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

    The Amsterdam History Museum would not be complete without including an exhibit on the importance of the bicycle in the city. And this exhibit (see photo #1) is interactive! By sitting on the bike and pedaling a video monitor is activated, playing a video of the streets of Amsterdam, giving the rider the feel of riding through the city.

    A more contemporary piece of history is the Coffeeshop (see photo #2); when spelled as one word, it can only mean that this storefront is meant for selling marijuana in all its forms, as cigarettes and in baked goods.

    Pictured in this grouping are three examples of the city’s coat-of-arms that are on display in the Museum. Photo #3 is a Blood Sash. It was worn by the burgomasters, across their shoulders, during the delivering of the death sentence by the sheriff. The Blood Sash features the triple white crosses, forming the coat-of-arms of the city.

    Photo #4 shows ceramic tiles from the chimney-breast from the 1909 Huize Dentz van Schaick, a private house in the city that was demolished in 1959. The city’s coat-of-arms looks quite grand here.

    Photo #5 is the clay model created by the sculptor Artus Quellinus for the 1651 triangular pediment to new City Hall. The title of the work is “Gods of the Sea pay Tribute to Amsterdam” which is represented by a maiden holding a shield with the triple white crosses of St. Andrew.

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, Part II

    by von.otter Written Oct 18, 2012

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, May 2011
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    “The famous Dutch cleanliness seems to me quite on the level with its reputation, and asserts itself in the most ingenious and ludicrous ways. A rosy serving-maid, redolent of soap-suds from her white cap to her white sabots, stands squirting water from a queer little engine of polished copper over the majestic front of a genteel mansion whose complexion is not a visible shade less immaculate than her own.”
    — Henry James (1843-1916) from his travels of August 1874

    Amsterdams Historisch Museum is located in the center of the city. A visit to this museum can help give the visitor an understanding of Amsterdam’s rich history. In addition to its permanent treasures of art and artifacts, the Museum presents interesting temporary shows, about Amsterdam’s recent history, as well as about its people, arts, fashion and crafts.

    These Figures of the Court (now on display in the Museum) stood in the Viershaar of Amsterdam’s Old City Hall. The Viershaar was a gallery at the front of City Hall; from here the sheriff would deliver a convict’s sentence. The public would follow the proceedings from behind a rail.

    The figures are William IV (1345-1417, see photo #2); Isabella of Portugal (1397-1471/74, see photo #5); Philip the Good (1396-1467, see photo #3) and Jacoba of Bavaria (1401-1436, see photo #4). They are the counts of Holland and their consorts. These figures represented the power of the ruling class in the judicial process.

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, Part I

    by von.otter Written Oct 18, 2012

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    Amsterdam City History Museum, May 2011
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    “And so you wander about, with art and nature playing so assiduously into each other’s hands that your experience of Holland becomes something singularly compact and complete in itself—striking no chords that lead elsewhere, and asking no outside help to unfold itself.”
    — Henry James (1843-1916) from his travels of August 1874

    The Amsterdam History Museum’s (Amsterdams Historisch Museum) permanent collection presents the history of Amsterdam in chronological order. Spread out on three floors, the collection shows off some remarkable paintings and period interiors. This exhibition carefully includes different aspects of the city’s life, from religious traditions to urban folklore.

    The armor (see photo #2) was made about 1580, most likely by Italian craftsman Pompeio della Cesa (1537-1610), based in Milan. This is parade, or show, armor, worn by the Civic Guard. The weapons (see photo #3) also belonged to this guild.

    The items in photos #4 & #5 were also Civic Guard pieces, used for ceremonial purposes. One such ceremony was called Shooting the Parrot. It was a competition between Guard members. The birds on the chains are parrots.

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    Amsterdam Historisch Museum - I. Generalities

    by breughel Updated Sep 23, 2012

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    The museum changed name on 1/01/2011 and is now called Amsterdam Museum.

    This is a quite interesting museum especially now that the Rijksmuseum shows only one fifth of its collections.
    The Historic Museum combines history and arts over 3 periods in 24 rooms of the former Civic Orphanage:
    Period 1350-1550 at rooms 1-3 showing the story of the small settlement on the river Amstel.
    Surprising are the excavated objects found in cesspits such as clay pipe fragments. The AHM has 200.000 archaeological objects of all kinds found in Amsterdam.

    Period 1550-1815 is certainly the most interesting with rooms 4-12 who show a large number of art works of this period which includes the Golden Century.
    Most interesting are models of shipyards and maritime paintings showing the Dutch maritime power of that age. Famous is the painting of Willem van de Velde the Younger "The Gouden Leeuw on the IJ at Amsterdam", (1686). This was once the former flagship of Admiral Cornelis Tromp.
    Interesting is the model (1742) of an eastindiaman from the VOC (Dutch East India Company) being transported on a ship's camel. These were long caissons that encased the ship's hull. When full of air they raised the ship out of the water. The Amsterdam harbour was difficult for deep vessels to enter due to sandbanks.

    From this period are also on display a large number of good paintings with landscapes, winter landscapes, town views, church interiors, still life and the famous civic guard paintings on which I will come back.

    Period 1815-2000 with rooms 13-24 starts at the end of the French rule under Napoleon. The visitor will find here a beautiful doll-house as well as paintings from the very good Dutch Impressionist School.
    It shows the happy times as well as the drama's (the terrible winter of 1944) of the modern Amsterdam.

    There is a grand tour and a short one of the highlights.

    Open: Monday to Friday 10 - 17 h
    Saturday and Sunday 11 - 17 h
    Price (2012): 10 €,
    6 - 18 yr 5€
    Free with museum card (can be bought here).
    Photos are allowed.

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    Amsterdam Museum

    by mickeyboy07 Written Mar 20, 2012

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    Museum entrance
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    Up until 2011 The Amsterdam Museum was called'Amsterdams Historisch Museum',it is a museum on the history of Amsterdam.Since 1975 it has been located in the old city orphanage between 'Kalverstraat and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal'.The Museum exhibits various items from the Middle Ages to the present time.Many of the original furnishings of the city orphanage are on display,as are artifacts relating to the 'Rasp' House,the former house of correction in Amsterdam where the prisoners were forced to rasp wood to make sawdust.As of 2012 the museum manages 70,000 objects kept in various buildings and storage areas.There are plenty of paintings,photographs,models,archeological findings and other objects displayed all across the museum.Several headphones are located with video screens showing the history of the city and these are available in a language of your choice,there is also a museum shop,cafe and courtyard here.
    Open everyday 10am till 5pm,Entry is 10 Euros per adult,5 Euros under 18's,Free for under 5's.

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    International Art Exhibits Worth a Trip

    by csordila Written Mar 12, 2012

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    International Art Exhibits

    From Degas at the Musée d'Orsay to Kandinsky at Amsterdam's++
    Van Gogh Museum, new art exhibits are already heralding the start
    of spring. And what better way to fuel an art-inspired escape than by
    wrapping your travels around one of these five shows? Just book a
    ticket, and let our itinerary guide your getaway.
    Go Now »

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    The History of Amsterdam

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Feb 5, 2012

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    Orphanage gable stone
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    The Amsterdam Museum (former Amsterdam Historic Museum) is housed in the former orphanage founded around 1520 in a house on Kalverstraat. In 1579 the institute moved to the former St Lucy's convent that once stood on the site of the present museum. This medieval building was gradually demolished and in the course of the seventeenth century a new complex emerged.

    The museum has exhibitons, a permanent collection & library and a movie theater.

    Visiting hours:
    Daily: 10AM - 5PM

    Admission: Euro 10.00

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    amsterdam historisch museum

    by doug48 Updated Jul 10, 2011

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    amsterdam history museum

    the amsterdam history museum is located in 16th century orphanage. the museum has many displays and maps depicting the the development of the city. the museum also has a number of works of art by famous amsterdam artists. a couple of examples, rembrandt, "the anatomy lesson of dr. jan deijman", gerrit berckheyde, "the flower market", nicolaas van der waay, "girls from the civic orphanage" and d.d. van santvoort's "the regentesses and the two housemistresses of the spinhuis". an interesting museum to visit. open daily.

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    Amsterdams Historisch Museum - III. Regenten.

    by breughel Updated Apr 23, 2011

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    Regenten-Governors,  C. Moyaert
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    The museum changed name on 1/01/2011 and is now called Amsterdam Museum.

    Being housed in the former civic orphanage, the Amsterdam Historical Museum kept the "Regenten kamer", where the governors of the "Burgersweeshuis" orphanage held their meetings, as it was at the end of the 19th.c. with furniture and paintings of the 17th.c.
    The museum has a number of items, mainly paintings, on display concerning this aspect of the "social security" in Amsterdam some centuries ago. At this civic orphanage were only admitted children from "poorters" or burghers of the city.
    Other children were accommodated in the many religious orphanages.
    Plague epidemics in those times left many orphans. A numbers of paintings show how they were dressed in a red and black uniform, fed, their daily life.
    Surprising is too see that children did drink beer at table. It was a beer with a very low alcohol degree, by the brewing process and cooking of the grain most bacteria's present in the water were destroyed so that it was less dangerous for health to drink beer than just water. The orphans' diet was generous and there was low mortality.
    The orphanages were run by a set of regents or regentesses who were almost without exception individuals appointed from the Amsterdam elite. Matrons were responsible for the daily running.

    A number of large paintings show the regents or regentessen. Remarkable are the paintings "Clothing the Orphans in the Deaconate Orphanage" 1657 by Jan Victors and "Regenten" by Cl. Moyaert.

    Open: Monday to Friday 10 - 17 h
    Saturday and Sunday 11 - 17 h
    Price (2011): 10 €,
    6 - 18 yr 5€
    Free with museum card (can be bought here).

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    Amsterdams (historisch) Museum

    by dila Updated Apr 10, 2011

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    museum

    Its called now Amsterdam Museum
    Before it was an orphanage.

    Since 1926 the Amsterdam (Historical) Museum has provided a home for the city's art collection. This has been accumulated since the seventeenth century when a gallery was first opened at the town hall on Dam Square. Over the years many objects from urban institutions were added to this, including militia portraits, and portraits of governors, the guild silver collection and the David and Goliath statues.

    Opening hours 2011
    Monday to Friday 10.00 - 17.00
    Weekends and national holidays 11.00 - 17.00 hour

    Closed on 1 January, 30 April (Queens Day) and 25 December.
    Closing time on 4 May (Remembrance Day) is 14.00 hour.
    Closing time on 5, 24 and 31 December is 16.00 hour.

    prices 2011

    Adult €10,-
    Child between 6 and 18 year €5,-
    Child under 6 free
    Holland Pass, CCEurope, CJP, Cultuurkaart, ISIC, ITIC, IYTC
    Cards €7.50
    University of Amsterdam Student Card €5,-

    Stadspas, I Amsterdam Card, I amsterdam Congress Card, Vereniging Rembrandt, ICOM, Museumkaart free entrance

    Audio tours
    Highlight Audio tour €4,-
    The two museum entrances can be accessed from Kalverstraat 92, Sint Luciënsteeg 27 and Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357. The museum is a twelve-minute walk from Amsterdam's Central Station, via Damrak, Dam Square and Kalverstraat.

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Comments (1)

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Jun 21, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Beste Pieter Jan,
    The photo (by dough48) appearing as first for the Amsterdam Museum (former Amsterdam Historisch Museum) is that of the Palace on the Dam ! This photo is on the wrong place.

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