Amsterdam is justifiably famous for its picturesque canals and cultural attractions such as the Rijksmuseum. Yet if you look further, there are some fantastic lesser-known sights that you really shouldn’t miss. Museum Van Loon is one of the best Amsterdam hidden gems. Let’s take a virtual tour that will no doubt entice you to visit.

Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam

With an enviable location on Keizersgracht, this canalside private residence was designed by architect Adriaan Dortsman in 1672. He is known for his work on the Walenweeshuis, formerly an orphanage and now the French consulate, as well as the distinctive round Lutheran Church.

The house is topped by four sculptures representing Ceres, Mars, Minerva and Vulcan. They symbolize agriculture, war, justice and fire, which the original owner considered to be sources of his wealth.

Museum Van Loon, a charming Amsterdam canal house

History of Museum Van Loon

The Van Loon Museum was one of a pair of adjacent townhouses commissioned by Jeremias van Raey, a Flanders merchant who lived in one of the houses. He rented what is now Museum Van Loon to the 17th century painter Ferdinand Bol, who was one of Rembrandt’s pupils.

There was a recent exhibition dedicated to the artist in the coach house of the museum until 8 January 2018. He was one of the best known painters of the Dutch Golden Age and 25 paintings from private collections and international museums are on display.

They’re not just his own works, as he and his second wife Anna were collectors of paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Ruisdael. It’s nice to think that the works are once again be on show in the place where they were originally displayed.

In the main house, there is a fantastic collection of art, like this painting of two little girls.

A stunning painting of two girls at Museum Van Loon in Amsterdam, Holland

Interior of Museum Van Loon

The interiors and staircase were renovated by the Van Hagen family who lived here at the end of the 18 century. Today, Museum Van Loon is a great insight into what an Amsterdam private house would have looked like.

The basement kitchen, where staff would have prepared meals for the family living here, has a gleaming set of copper pans and cooking equipment.

The kitchen at the Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, Holland

If you’re wondering how the museum got its unusual name, it’s in honour of the last residents, the Van Loon family. They came from the town of Loon op Zand, and Willem van Loon was one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company.

This painting of him as a child is by the artist Dirck Dircksz. van Santvoort and dates from 1636. This artwork has an unusual octagonal frame that really draws your eye in.

Museum Van Loon paintings in Amsterdam

In 1884, the honorable Hendrik van Loon bought the house for his son Willem Hendrik as a wedding gift. Willem Hendrik was an accomplished historian, children’s book author and illustrator.

He lived here with his 2 children and wife Thora, who was lady in waiting to Queen Wilhelmina. Family photographs are dotted around the house, and that’s what makes this dwelling so charming. Their descendants still own the house today and have offices here.

Museu Van Loon, a canal house museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands

The bedrooms boast stucco work and colourful silk wall hangings. When you visit, keep an eye out for the bedroom doors.

The real doors have been painted to blend in with the wall colourings, and fake doors have been created instead to ensure symmetry of design.

One of the best hidden gems in Amsterdam - Van Loon Museum Amsterdam

This vibrant bedroom has a floral theme and a lovely chandelier. There’s also some ornate furniture on display.

A bedroom at the Van Loon Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Van Loon Garden and Coach House

Museum Van Loon is unique in being the only museum in the Netherlands where the original canal house, coach house and garden can be viewed as a whole. The garden has a classical design and is a lovely haven of peace, with benches to relax on.

At the end of the garden, you’ll see the coach house, also created by Adriaan Dortsman. When the house was first built, the coaches would go in through Kerkstraat and be stored there.

The Museum Van Loon and private Amsterdam garden

After the Van Loon family acquired the house, they built up a great collection of carriages and harnesses. These can be viewed when the coach house is not hosting an exhibition, like this one: Ferdinand Bol: the house, the collection, the artist.

Visiting Museum Van Loon

Museum Van Loon is one of the many great attractions that you can visit for free with the I amsterdam City Card. Billing itself as “the card that offers more than you can visit (but you can try)”, it gives you free entrance to cultural attractions such as museums, unlimited public transport and a free canal cruise.

This handy city pass also offers  a range of discounts on bicycle and boat rental as well as at restaurants and bars. The City Cards vary in length from 24 hours to 96 hours, can be ordered online and delivered to your home or collected at the airport or train station.

Amsterdam City Card - great for getting around the city and visiting the museums

Where to Stay near Museum Van Loon

The Pulitzer Amsterdam is one of our favourite places to stay in Amsterdam. This collection of historic townhouses boasts a huge inner courtyard, stylish decor, a superb restaurant and cocktail bar.

The Art Collector's Suite at Pulitzer Amsterdam, Netherlands

Opening Hours

Museum Van Loon is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. It is closed on 27 April (Kings Day), 25 December and 1 January and will close at 3 pm on 24 December.

Practical Information

Admission is free with the I Amsterdam City Card or  € 9 for adults,  € 7 for students or groups of 10 persons and more, € 5 for children aged 6 to 18 and free for children under 6.

There will be a  € 1 surcharge on all adult tickets during the exhibition Ferdinand Bol: the house, the collection, the artist.

Guided Tours

A 50 minute guided tour of the house, garden and coach house is available for € 79 plus € 7 entry per person. It’s also possible to book guided tours after opening hours for an additional fee, as well as light refreshments.

There are also special tours in Dutch for partially sighted and blind visitors where they can touch certain objects, with a cost per person of € 5 plus the museum entrance fee. All tours must be booked in advance.

Private Hire

The dining room and coach house make a very special venue for meetings, dinners and weddings. They’re a licensed wedding location that can host up to 80 people.

Refreshments

There’s a small but charming cafe in the basement which serves tea, coffee and some tasty looking cakes.

Address

Museum Van Loon, Keizersgracht 672, 1017 ET Amsterdam

We hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the Van Loon Museum, one of the best Amsterdam hidden gems in our opinion. Is this somewhere you’d have liked to live?

Read all our Amsterdam posts. See other worldwide hidden gems below. You might also enjoy:

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Museum Van Loon - One of the Best Hidden Gems in Amsterdam, Netherlands

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8 thoughts on “Museum Van Loon – One of The Top Amsterdam Hidden Gems”

  1. You know how usually the hidden gems are not very hidden and everyone knows about them? Love that yours is actually a genuine one, not just because I haven’t heard of it (I haven’t, but I’m hardly an expert on Amsterdam after a handful of visits) but because I’ve seen so many posts about the city’s museums and this one’s never been included. 😀 Love the architecture and I know I’d enjoy the insight into the life of such a family in the late 18th century. That kitchen fascinates me in particular.

  2. I have been to Amsterdam so many times and have never visited the Van Loon Museum – but it looks like a wonderful example of a family home, and with the advantage of having the coach house attached also, it really does seem like a treasure. I enjoyed the detail about the doors being painted to blend into the walls, with fake doors for symmetry – so whimsical!

  3. It’s a hidden gem indeed because as a Dutchie I had never really heard of this museum before, even though I go to Amsterdam quite regularly. The IAmsterdam city card is indeed a great option for anyone visiting the city!

  4. Wow Luxurious! What an impressive lifestyle they had! The gardens too seem well maintained.
    Nice that it can be visited for free with the card.

  5. Efthimis Kragaris

    Unfortunately while in Amsterdam I didn’t visit the Van Loon museum and I regret it now! It seems like a movie set for a historical film. The ticket price is really cheap considering that the original canal house, coach house and garden can be viewed altogether as a whole!

  6. Jennifer Dombrowski

    Museums aren’t really my cup of tea, but I definitely hadn’t heard of the Van Loon Museum before. And your hotel, Pulitzer Amsterdam, looks really funky and chic. It definitely looks like a fun place to stay and explore the city from!

  7. Museum Van Loon looks quite unique. I am not that interested in this painting style but I would not mind to visit the museum to check how people in Amsterdam lived in the XVIII. Probably I would also take nice pictures of the gardens-

  8. I’ve been to Amsterdam a couple of times but not yet visited Museum Van Loon – thankyou for this virtual tour! I love that they not only exhibit the paintings you would expect from an art collection, but also kept the Van Hagen family’s house preserved – it’s so interesting to have an authentic insight into how people lived throughout recent centuries. Such a rich history and many stories with the families who have owned the house over time. I love the rich décor they have inside.

    Definitely appears to be a hidden gem – and a museum with a difference. thanks for the tip!

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