For the sake of full transparency and before I describe my impressions of Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, the Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam, I need to explain my relationship to handbags.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission on anything you buy through clicking the links. This will not affect your price.
I know some people are really into handbags. They have huge collections of handbags, preferably designer, and they coordinate their bag with whatever they’re wearing each day.
I don’t. I carry one bag. Occasionally I change handbags when the one I have wears out (This takes years.) or I find one that suits my needs better.
I bought my current handbag for two reasons. Like my old one, it looks like a respectable handbag when I need it to, but converts very easily to a backpack, which is useful going to or from work on my bike. I had another one that did that too, but was not big enough to hold my tablet. So I bought this one. I paid something like 160 euros (it was a half-price sale) which was more than I’d ever spent for a bag. I’ll probably use it till it breaks and, given the high quality materials, that’ll take a long time.
The Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam
Nevertheless, despite my general indifference to handbags, I thought the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam might be worth a look, if only for the ridiculousness of a whole museum devoted to purses.
It was indeed ridiculous, in my view. But that wasn’t enough to save me from the boredom of the exhibits.
I have to say they were very well-presented: dramatically lit, not too crowded, with signs in both Dutch and English explaining the materials, purposes and so on of the bags on display.
I freely admit that many of the bags were very pretty, and some of the historical information was quite interesting, about how bags changed as fashions forced them to change: hip bags, for example, that women wore under very full skirts.
You might also enjoy these articles from my small museums in Amsterdam series:
- Is the Erotic Museum in Amsterdam erotic? A review
- The Cat Cabinet (everything cats!)
- Electric Ladyland (flourescence)
The museum’s collection
Exhibits displayed all sorts of different kinds of bags: leather, beaded, metal, leather, tortoiseshell, ivory and so on. A few display cases contained men’s bags. Some showed accessories of various sorts, as well as wallets and purses, doctor’s bags, school bags and picnic bags, reticules and stocking purses.
One section held a special temporary exhibit called “Black and White: the dresscode of a lifetime.” I suspect that the museum staff just plucked whatever bags they had that were black or white or both and moved them to their temporary exhibit rooms.
What I thought of the museum
I didn’t stay long.
I just got bored, and regretted the €12.50 (now €13.50) I’d spent on admission. At the same time, I know that some of my friends would absolutely adore this museum.
To me, the best part of the Museum of Bags and Purses Amsterdam was the two period rooms downstairs. The museum’s home is a lovely 17th century home on the Herengracht, and the period rooms are part of the museum café, so you can stop and have a snack and enjoy the opulent surroundings. It would be a great spot to enjoy a high tea.
I didn’t spend any time in the shop on the ground floor after looking at just a few bags: 500 euros each? Really? Do people pay that kind of money for a handbag? Why?500 euros each? Really? Do people pay that kind of money for a handbag? #rachelsruminations #tassenmuseum #iamsterdam Click To Tweet
Information for visiting the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam
If you still want to visit the museum after reading this review, click here to buy tickets! Tickets cost about €13.50 or $15.
Address: Herengracht 573 (between Utrechtsestraat and Thorbeckeplein). From the central train station, take tram 4 or 9 to Rembrandtplein and walk from there. The nearest metro stop is Waterlooplein.
Open 10:00-17:00 daily.
Are you into handbags? If so, please explain why!
Sharing is caring! The images below are perfect for Pinterest.