Amsterdam is justifiably famous for its picturesque canals and cultural attractions such as the Rijksmuseum. Yet if you look further, there are some fantastic lesser-known sights that you really shouldn’t miss. Museum Van Loon is one of our favourite Amsterdam hidden gems, so let’s go on a virtual tour that will hopefully entice you to visit! With an enviable location on Keizersgracht, this canalside private residence was designed by architect Adriaen Dortsman in 1672. He is known for his work on the Walenweeshuis, formerly an orphanage and now the French consulate, as well as the distinctive round Lutheran Church. The house is topped by four sculptures representing Ceres, Mars, Minerva and Vulcan. They symbolize agriculture, war, justice and fire, which the original owner considered to be sources of his wealth.
During our recent stay at another canalside townhouse, Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam, we were fortunate to visit Museum Van Loon. It was one of a pair of adjacent townhouses commissioned by Jeremias van Raey, a Flanders merchant who lived in one of the houses. He rented what is now Museum Van Loon to the 17th century painter Ferdinand Bol, who was one of Rembrandt’s pupils. There’s an exhibition dedicated to the artist in the coach house of the museum until 8 January 2018. He was one of the best known painters of the Dutch Golden Age and 25 paintings from private collections and international museums are on display. They’re not just his own works, as he and his second wife Anna were collectors of paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Ruisdael. It’s nice to think that the works will once again be on show in the place where they were originally displayed! In the main house, there is a fantastic collection of art, like this painting of two little girls.