The Bag and Purse Museum Amsterdam
A friend of mine recommended I check out the Handbag museum when in Amsterdam. She advised not only was the museum great, but the building the museum is in is beautiful and worth seeing as well. So on a misty New Year’s Eve morning I headed over with a very accommodating N who knows I have a obsession love of great bags and there was no avoiding this museum. Most guys just don’t get the whole bag thing, and Nathan is no exception.
I have many more bags now, since moving to London having become reliant on public transport than when I was a driver in Canada. There is a difference between throwing stuff in a car and driving off and walking around town all day with everything you need on your shoulder. Having a bag for various outings to fit all the gear that might be required is very important!
Anyhow back to the museum. It’s proper name is Tassen Museum or the Museum of Bags and Purses, and it has the largest collection of bags in the world (I’m sure there are a few girls out there who could come close!) some which are 500 years old. As my friend had advised the handbag museum is located in a beautiful building, a 16th century canal house.
After buying our tickets the guide advised that the museum is set up in historical order from the top down. So after checking our bags and jackets up the lift we went to the top floor of the museum. Here the museum shows how bags as we know them today started out. How they went from being part of a dress, tied on underneath the clothes with slits of sorts in the folds of the dress for access to the inner pouches to keep one's valuables safe. Some of the bags on this floor were stunning, and the condition of the bags is amazing considering they were about 400 years old. As today women in the past used their bags to keep their most precious possession with them, below is an example of a bag in which a woman might carry special letters, such as love letters around in.
The next floor covered modern bags as we know and love them today. There is an amazing display of bags from the early 1900’s with some stunning art deco bags, along with some footage of film taken of the current fashion in Paris at the beginning of the 1900’s. I found it absolutely fascinating to see an era that is so rare to see in motion picture, and seeing how the women moved and wore the clothes at the time, rather than the Hollywood version of the time.
The last couple of rooms showed the bags we all know and love today, the Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, and many more. It was a stunning display, some current and some vintage. After these rooms you will find yourself in the lovely cafe where you can relax and have some tea and cakes before heading on. The room the cafe is in is stunning, as are the rooms off of it which are available for events and meetings.
After spending a couple of hours looking at some pretty amazing bags, you will find yourself in the gift shop where there are more lovely bags. I somehow managed to leave empty-handed, possibly having N there had something to do with it!
If you are ever in Amsterdam make sure to take some time to visit the Museum of Bags and Purses, with time for a coffee or tea in the cafe after, it makes a great way to spend a couple of hours enjoying the beautiful things in life.