From the outside this house may not seem unique, but step inside and you be transported back in time. This museum was the home of the banker and collector Simon van Gijn, who lived in it from 1864 until he died in 1922. Upon his death Van Gijn left his home and most of his collections to the Old Dordrecht Society, with the stipulation that they be made publicly available and the house’s interior maintained as close to its original state as possible. The rooms are richly decorated, with lush wall tapestries and woodwork, hand-embossed leather wallpaper, the first indoor toilet, and beautiful furnishings on all three floors.
The museum recently underwent an extensive restoration to return the building to the state it was during Van Gijn’s life, making it easy to imagine what upper-class living around the year 1900 was like — the house looks as though the owner may come home at any moment! Alongside interiors dating back several centuries, the museum has a wonderful collection of arts and crafts, an extensive toy collection that fills the attic, and a large collection of history prints and drawings, known as the Van Gijn Atlas.
A free guidebook is available with plenty of information about the rooms, their artifacts, and the house’s significant paintings. Audio guides are also available for purchase and there is a reasonably priced cafeteria on the ground floor with nice views of the garden.