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.
Having said all of that, I thought the Tassenmuseum Hendrikje, the Museum of Bags and Purses, 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 were worn under very full skirts.
Exhibits displayed all sorts of different kinds of bag: 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.
I didn’t stay long.
I just got bored, and regretted the €12.50 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 was the two period rooms downstairs. The museum is housed in 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?
Are you into handbags? If so, please explain why!
This is one of my on-going series on small museums in Amsterdam. Here’s the whole list:
- Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder
- Het Grachtenhuis (canal house museum)
- Museum van Loon
- Rembrandt’s House
- The Handbag Museum
- The Brilmuseum (spectacles)
- Huis Marseille Museum for Photography
- The Dutch Resistance Museum
- Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution
- Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum
- Body Worlds: Museum or Freak Show
- The Sex Museum