Inspirational visits...

Last Thursday I went to Amsterdam to visit two canal house museums.  Oddly enough, I had never been to either museum.  It was a gloriou...


Last Thursday I went to Amsterdam to visit two canal house museums.  Oddly enough, I had never been to either museum.  It was a glorious sunny day,  perfect for strolling though the city.  



 Standing on the Keizersgracht, looking at the famous Westertoren (the tower of the Wester Church).



We started at the Museum Geelvinck, which is said to be a private city palace located on the Herengracht in Amsterdam.  The house did not seem very palatial to me, although the rooms are very nice.  Doesn't this Blue Room remind you of the Blue Salon in my Canal House?  



The garden of the house is beautiful.  It is based on 18th century garden designs.  The brown brick building in the background is the coach house.  



The second canal house we visited was Museum van Loon, located on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam.  The photo above shows the rear facade.  I loved this house.  It was built in 1672 and the first owner was the Dutch painter Ferdinand Bol, a student of Rembrandt.  



This house also has a gorgeous garden based on 18th century design.  The building with the blue pediment in the background is the coach house to the main house.



The coach house is visible from the main house and, to ensure a pleasant view from the house, it was therefore beautifully executed in a classical style.  



When we entered the garden from the kitchen area,  this huge bird house attracted my attention.  The 'Birchhouse for Van Loon'  was made in 2006 by Irene Fortuyn.  It is a 1/24th scale (my guess) reproduction of the van Loon Canal House in birch wood.  




Although the ' Birchhouse'  is not furnished, it has rather lovely detailed interiors which are based on the real house.   I thought it was such a fun structure.   Judging by the slight damage to the house, it looked like it actually had been outside for a while.



The staircase in the van Loon house is beautiful!  Very delicately decorated in Rococo style, it looked like it would charm and impress any visitor.  



The complex design of the stair railing is just gorgeous!  
I loved the splash of colour provided by the wonderful Rococo wall clock and bracket.



I would love a similar clock in the staircase of my Canal House, but I don't think I have ever seen anything like this in miniature.

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38 comments

  1. Wow..wat een prachtige grachtenpanden met verrassende tuinen. Dat bedenk je niet als je op de grachten loopt dat ze zulke mooie tuinen kunnen hebben. Het vogelhuis vind ik ook erg origineel.

    Groetjes Xandra

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    1. Ja mooi he? Er zijn een aantal grachtenmusea waarvan ik weet dat ze zulke mooie tuinen hebben. Deze twee natuurlijk, maar ook museum Willet-Holthuysen en het Bijbels museum. Al deze musea zijn vrij toegankelijk met de museumjaarkaart! Je moet maar eens op Google kijken, dan kan je met die luchtfoto inzoomen op die tuinen en zie je hoeveel groen er is achter die gevels!

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    2. Bedankt voor de tip. Zal ze op Google maps opzoeken en gaan gluren. Ik zet ze op mijn lijstje nog te bezoeken musea en extra leuk dat ze met de museumjaarkaart vrij toegankelijk zijn :)

      Groeten Xandra

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  2. Here is a clock kit very similar to the one real one in your photo! http://cynthiahoweminiatures.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=40_47&products_id=672

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    1. Thank you! I will check out your link!

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  3. Hi Josje,

    Those interiors are my idea of heaven! That birdhouse was delightful, I can see why you were drawn to it. I actually thought that first photo was another shot of your canal house before I read the caption. I will definitely have to see these gorgeous museums when I visit Amsterdam!

    XOXO,
    John

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    1. Hi John, The houses are lovely. They are typically Dutch in that everything is quite understated, showing wealth the Calvinistic way. And as in Holland space is at a premium, the size of the houses is very pleasant. If you ever visit Amsterdam, I hope we'll have a chance to meet up!

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  4. Hi Josje! If I ever get over to Amsterdam I'm be sure to visit those museums, I love history! The birdhouse is glorious!! I have never seen one so complicated before! Thanks for sharing. Kind regards, Brian.

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    1. I hope you do come to Amsterdam Brian! For me the history attached to these houses is very interesting. Not just for the architecture and the interiors, but also the families who lived there and the part they played (both the good and the bad) in Dutch history.
      The birdhouse was fun. I think it may have been an art project or so, although there wasn't any mention of that anywhere.

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  5. Oh, beautiful Josje, I saw your comment on your last post, oh yes, looking forward to visiting the house with you, it will be fun and that garden is just gorgeous, do they have a coffee shop, hopefully no weddings in the garden next year :-)

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    1. Haha yes Elga, they did have tea, coffee and cakes in the coach house! I didn't see any wedding parties Thursday, not even on the canals. But you know how it is, June weddings are popular!
      And by the way...the route to the silk shop from these houses is veeerrrrry easy! ;-)

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  6. Hi Josje
    What a great trip you had and the pictures don't do it all justice, I'm sure. I agree about the clock, what a wonderful colour. Isn't it spooky how similar that blue room is to your one!
    Have a great weekend x

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    1. Hi Simon! I always enjoy my little trips to the city. I should do it more often! In Amsterdam you don't get overwhelmed with grandeur, to me it has an intimate, comfortable feel. It's a big village compared to other big cities ;-)
      I liked seeing that Blue room as it confirmed to me I did it right ;-) I must say I did purposely take the picture from that angle as it reminded me of one of the photos I had taken from my room.

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  7. Sono rimasta realmente stupita da quella birdhouse! Pensavo che fosse una Dollhouse dei vecchi abitanti della casa sul canale! Ah, che fortunati uccelli!

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  8. Que casa tan bonita, y la casita de pájaros, ¡que original! Espero que encuentres un reloj parecido al de la foto para tu casa... y ¡gracias por compartir estas imágenes!.

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    1. Yes that would be really nice, but I haven't even started on the staircase yet, so I still have time ;-)

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  9. Dear Josje,
    Thank you for sharing Amsterdam with us. I didn't know that these houses existed. I did know the canal houses existed but I didn't know you could visit them.
    Hugs Dorien

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    1. There are several canal house museums which have free entry with the museumjaarkaart: Willet-Holthuysen, Geelvinck, Van Loon en Bijbels Museum. There is another one I haven't visited yet, Museum Het Grachtenhuis (a private museum so no free entrywith MJK) which also has a 12th scale Canal House! I want to visit that one next time.

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  10. Hi Josje,
    The Von Loon house interior is quite astounding and i have to agree that clock stands out perfectly against the interior decoration. Did you also know that Ferdinand Bol was a Draughtsman, i love his brown ink drawings and just like Rembrandt he had many students too, a place i would love to visit someday.

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    1. Hi Tony, Yes I knew about Ferdinand Bol. Even though he was the first occupant of the house, you don't find any (at least I didn't spot any) evidence of that in the Van Loon museum. It is presented as the Van Loon family house. Plenty of Bol art in other Museums though! ;-)

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  11. Wow! What Gorgeous interiors! It reminds me that you really can't judge a building from the exterior at all... so much delicacy and detail and grace in the interior! And the scale of the ceilings... how tall are they? At first when looking at that blue room... I thought it was a picture of your canal house! But that staircase is Stunning!!! And the interiors of that Birch house....!!! Magnificent atmosphere!!!

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    1. Hi Betsy, The rear of the house is quite plain, isn't it? Which is surprising considering the effort they went through with the coach house. I'm not sure how tall the ceilings are on the main floor, but my estimate is around 4.20 to 4.50 meters (about 14 feet or so). As there wasn't a lot of space in Amsterdam to build, the houses are very narrow. But they could build up, so they built tall houses with high ceilings and big windows. The taller the window, the more light would be let into the rooms and that was very important to the people (still is I suppose!).

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  12. Those photos are beautiful. I particularly love the plaster work on the walls and ceiling . Of course the iron work on the stair case is something I was first drawn to. I would love a better look at that.
    It is amazing how much like the blue room is to the one in your canal house.
    With your wax carving skills you might be able to make something very similar to that clock. All those decorative pieces are just added to flat sheet. The curved elements would be easy to form to the curves of the main body of the clock.

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    1. Isn't that hall and staircase beautiful?! It has a set of huge double doors (with balcony) on one side which makes it so beautifully lit, just gorgeous. The iron work is really amazing, a very intricate design. I will definitely go back to have another look at that! For the staircase in my new Canal House I had another example in mind, but that was before I saw this one ;-)

      You are making me think about carving the design from wax. It will be a challenge! I will have to figure out how to cast/have it cast though. And from what material?

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    2. Have it cast in bronze. I am sure Jens Torp would be happy to give you the name of his casting house.

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    3. Yes, you're right. I will ask Jens next week as I am taking another class from him. I'll ask him how I should approach this. Thank you Catherine!

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  13. thank you for the tour, I too really liked that birdhouse the detail was amazing

    Hugs
    marisa

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  14. Hi Josje, Thank you for sharing your adventure to the two canal houses. Always amazes me the age of European buildings as in the "new World" everything is just so new!
    The rococo-style of the stairway bannister in the Von Loon house is remarkable.
    All the best .
    Janine

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    1. Yes we're lucky to still have a lot of these buildings standing! With wars, fires and other misery through the ages it is remarkable how much is still there. I'm sure the 'new World' has other advantages, space for one ;-)

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  15. Hallo Josje, yep, weather has been wonderful ! Love your pictures. Hope you can visit me sometime soon, as I am still basically confined to my house with broken arm :-( . I do play around a lot,though, and have finally time to read on the web, so there is a big silver lining.
    I see that Elga and you are already making plans for next year :-) ....

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    1. Hi Elly, Oh I don't know if Elga is coming over, but if she is I have an itinerary ready, haha!
      I'd love to come visit you! Maybe it would be a good idea to plan it soon as I understand you're at home all day? I will send you an email!

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  16. Beautiful architecture and beautiful photos. Thanks for the post - Troy

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