If you enjoy fashion and design, then take a trip down to Amsterdam’s Canal District to visit the Museum of Bags and Purses (in Dutch: Tassenmuseum Hendrikje). The museum is dedicated to the history (and present) of ladies bags and purses, and it houses the foremost collection of these accessories in the entire world. As one of only 3 museums of its kind in the world, the Tassenmuseum is well worth a visi
The Bag and Purse Museum
The bag and purse collection was started by Hendrikje Ivo more than 35 years ago, after she discovered an unusual, early 19th Century, Germany bag in an English country antiques shop. Having had her interest in bags aroused by this find, she began researching the history of ladies bags and purses, and she gradually began to collect more and more pieces. When she realised that she had amassed a large and interesting collection, she opened her house up to the public, so that they could share her passion. In 2007, with the help of an anonymous donor, Hendrikje was able to move the collection to its present location, where it now receives over 80,000 visitors per year.
The oldest complete pieces in the collection date back to the 16th Century, but there is also an exceedingly rare, 15th Century, gothic bag clasp which was discovered in a riverbed in Belgium over 20 years ago. Whilst the collection primarily focuses on Western style handbags and purses, there are plenty of pieces which show Eastern and Oriental design influence. As well as historical handbags, there are also more recent pieces from some of the world’s most famous fashion designers and contemporary textile artists, including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi and Prada.
The Period Rooms
Some of the rooms in the museum include period décor from the 17th and 18th Century. The murals on the ceilings of the two main period rooms are a real highlight. One of the main murals which was created in 1682, shows the patroness of Amsterdam surrounded by depictions of Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Overlooking the canal, these rooms are sometimes hired out as wedding venues or function suites and may not be open. During summer, the gardens are also open for visitors to stroll around. In the period rooms, it is possible to find information about the history of the house and some of the families who previously lived there
The museum is open daily from 10am until 5pm. Tickets for adults are €9.50, tickets for children aged 13 – 18 are €6, and tickets for children who are 12 years old or under are free. Over 65s and students also get discounted entry with tickets costing €8. Entry is free for Museumkaart holders and Iamsterdam card holders.