The Willet-Holthuysen Museum in Amsterdam houses a wonderful collection of fine paintings, antique furnishings, and decorative pieces. Owned in the 19th century by the Willets, a wealthy family of avid art collectors, today it showcases one of the best examples of 19th-century style and decoration in the city.
Visitors are welcome to look around the 18th- and 19th-century period rooms at their own pace. The carefully restored interiors, decorated in rich blues, gold, and greens, are typical of the indulgent lifestyle of Amsterdam’s prosperous merchant classes. Above the stairs there’s a ballroom, library, dining room, salons, and a bedroom complete with an ornately carved four-poster bed—all kitted out with silverware, silk wallpaper, gold-embellished Meissen porcelain, hand-embroidered curtains, and beautifully crafted furniture. Below stairs in the basement are the servant’s quarters, where the kitchen is plainly furnished for practicality, with a simple tiled fireplace for cooking and rough-hewn furniture. A formal knot garden is tucked away behind the house, where 19th-century ladies would have wandered among the classical statuary.
You can book admission tickets in advance online, and entrance is included with most city passes. Audio tours, included in the entrance fee, can be picked up from the front desk.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Willet-Holthuysen Museum is a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts.
- The historical building’s many stairs and lack of an elevator make it inaccessible to wheelchair users. Chaperones and registered guide dogs, however, are welcome.
- Photography for personal use, without the use of a tripod, is permitted.
- Make sure your phone is set to silent mode when visiting.
- Children under 18 enter free.
How to Get There
Located on Herengracht canal—within the Canal Ring UNESCO World Heritage Site—the museum is accessible by metro lines 51, 53, and 54; get off at Waterlooplein, just across Blauwbrug bridge. Alternatively, take tram 4 or 14 to Rembrandtplein, a few minutes’ walk away, or walk 20 minutes from Amsterdam Centraal train station.
When to Get There
The Willet-Holthuysen Museum is open every day of the week from 10am to 5pm. It is closed Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and King’s Day (April 27). Like most museums, its busiest times are weekends and holidays, so visit early or on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
The Collector’s Room
One of the Willet-Holthuysen Museum’s most interesting rooms is the small, low-ceilinged collector’s room, which Abraham Willet-Holthuysen called his ‘little antiques room.’ Home to such items as medals, figures, and glass objects, the collector’s room is distinct from the rest of the house in that it is furnished in a sober Dutch Renaissance style with dark wood, stained glass windows, and red velvet wall coverings.