One of the many elegant canal houses of the Dutch Golden Age is now the Museum Van Loon. Built in the 1600s, the house was originally the residence of artist Ferdinand Bol, a student of Rembrandt’s, and in 1884, it became the home of the Van Loon family, descendents of VOC co-founder Willem van Loon.
Amsterdam’s grachtengordel (canal district) is lined with rows of canal houses, symbols of the vast wealth accumulated by the bankers and financiers, merchants, traders and artisans. The Van Loon house is one of the grandest properties, sometimes referred to as a stadspaleis. Where the houses along the canals were built ‘back-to-back’ and one house occupied a single plot of land, usually a short, narrow strip (hence the many tall, skinny buildings), the stadspaleis was bigger and grander. These ‘city palaces’ occupied a long, double strip of land, which in actuality consisted of four separate plots.
This allowed the owners to build a doublewide main residence, at the front, and a doublewide ‘coach house’, or carriage house (the garage of the day), at the back; each building with its own façade. In the case of Museum Van Loon, the doublewide main house faces Keizersgracht and the doublewide carriage house (called the koetshuis, in Dutch) faces Kerkstraat. In between these two doublewide buildings is a lush garden offering a bit of quiet and calm in the midst of a bustling city.
The interior of the Van Loon house is also quite lush, with a grand staircase, marble floors
and ornate stuccoed walls and ceilings.
The various rooms you’ll tour include the Blue Drawing Room,
the Red Drawing Room,
the Red Master Bedroom,
the dining room