Opened in 2009, this unique Amsterdam museum is one of several satellite exhibition centers of the famed State Museum Hermitage of St. Petersburg Russia. Representing the special bond between the Dutch Royal House of Orange-Nassau and the Romanovs, the Hermitage Amsterdam hosts several temporary exhibits each year, culled from the collections of the original Hermitage and other museums in Russia. With this in mind, if you plan to visit Amsterdam, be sure to check the museum’s website to see what’s showing; it may be a worthwhile exhibition. We were lucky to see a couple of spectacular exhibits.
The museum is situated on the banks of the Amstel River and housed in the historic Amstelhof. Constructed in the 17th century, the building served initially as the Deanery Home for Old Women, a residence for women in need who were members of the Dutch Reformed Church and aged 50 or older. Some time later, with the admittance of men, it was known as the Deanery Home for Old Men and Women, and in modern times would serve as a nursing home. Visible remnants of these early years include:
Ossenpoort (Ox Gate) – this street level doorway, below the steps and facing the river, served as the trademan’s entrance, where deliveries of food and livestock were received. It now serves as one of two main entrances to the museum.
17th Century Church Hall – this long, narrow space served as a chapel and dining hall. It’s said that Sir Winston Churchill dined here in 1946. Of note in the Church Hall are the pipe organ,
the loft, and the view; in place of wooden pews or benches, there are several chairs facing the windows where visitors can enjoy the view looking out over the Amstel River.
Russia Room – located in the Amstel Wing (facing the river), this room houses one of two permanent exhibits. Displayed here are items pertaining to the Dutch-Russian connection.
This includes a family tree and paintings of various royal family members,
as well as busts of William II of the Netherlands
and his wife Anna Pavlovna of Russia.
Amstelhof Room – also located in the Amstel Wing, the permanent exhibition here gives a history of patient and elderly care in Amsterdam. From here venture downstairs into…
The 18th Century Kitchen – located in the vacated cellar this reconstruction of the Amstelhof kitchen, where meals for the residents were prepared, features enormous brick-lined pots.