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The most beautiful canal house

The museum Willet-Holthuysen

Amsterdam is famous for its canals including its beautiful canal houses. Many of these houses were built during the Golden Age (17th century). During a Comedy Walk we walk past many stunning canal houses. Can you imagine what the interior of these high-class houses might have looked like in the past? The museum Willet-Holthuysen, named after the owners, could easily be the most beautiful canal house in Amsterdam and in my opinion your best choice to get a taste of what a canal house in the 19th century might have looked like.

The museum Willet-Holthuysen

The museum Willet-Holthuysen

The dining room and garden room

Born in 1824, Louisa Holthuysen, was the only child of an extremely rich trader in British coal and window glass. For a measly € 23.000 her father bought the gorgeous house at Herengracht 605, what is now the Willet-Holthuysen museum. It is beyond doubt that the lady of the house had a natural flair for decorating. My favorite room is the dining room. I could easily picture myself excessively decorating the dining table, although back then probably a task reserved for servants, while my chef cook prepares the foie gras and my other favorite dishes. After dinner, I would have a digestive in my garden room. Other parts of this 19th-century lifestyle, like playing the piano and speaking four foreign languages fluently, probably not so much my thing. Pretty sure the remaining 7 rooms, including the bedroom and ballroom, will also make your jaw drop.

17th Century salon in Amsterdam
Willet-Holthuysen’s dining table decoration ideas

Drinks or lunch at a beautiful canal house?

If the weather permits check out the Willet-Holthuysen museum’s beautifully laid-out garden; there is some garden furniture where you can sit with a coffee taken from the coffee machine in the 19th century kitchen (€ 1). But the best place for a coffee or tea and even lunch is the beautiful enclosed garden of the Cromhouthuis, another Golden Age majestic canal house from the 17th century. Try out their egg salad with sage based on a recipe from a cookery book from Antonius Magirus from 1612!

Typical Dutch weather day? No worries, their garden rooms are equally amazing and don’t forget to peek inside the old kitchen in the room next door. For the moment the restaurant/garden is only accessible with a Cromhouthuis museum ticket.

The Cromhouthuis is a collector’s house with collections of portraits, silver, dinnerware, stuffed birds and other curiosities. It also houses the Biblical Museum.

Cromhoutshuis' garden
Cromhoutshuis’ garden

How do I get there?

Both museums are located in the centre and at walking distance from Central Station. You can find the museum Willet-Holthuysen at the Herengracht 605. The Cromhouthuis is situated at the same canal at Herengracht 366-368.

About the author: Laura Danielle is a co-founder of Comedy Walks: stand-up comedy shows with the city as a stage, or, if you like, city tours with a professional stand-up comedian as a guide. We currently run Comedy Walks in Amsterdam and Washington DC. By far the most fun way to explore a city!

All information in the blog posts is based on personal experiences and commission free (“I rather drink coffee with inspiring entrepreneurs than compete with them for 20 cents commission for our customers’ coffee” – L. Danielle).