Bags and purses

Bag Museum (2)This post was long overdue… a post about the Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam. Such a beautiful place, such a lovely things to see. As the name says… they have bags. Lots and lots of them. And they are in the prettiest building you can image. Where you can have tea, coffee and lunch. Please click on the link to read more about this splendid place, as my skills of showing you its beauty, are limited.

The museum holds a collection of 4,000 bags, pouches, cases, purses and accessories, dating back to 1600. It is the most extensive and most specialised museum of its kind in the world. I have been there three times and I can go back another 14 times. Every time you will notice different things as there is so much. I took these photos when Daniela visited me in Amsterdam. As Ron (my husband for those who don’t know), picked us up with his boat for a cruise around the canals, it started to rain quite heavily. It is no fun to be in a boat when it rains. So, after ten minutes, he dropped us off at the Museum of Bags and Purses. Poor soul had to take the boat back to the harbour in the rain.

Well girls… here they come…

Below: when you were rich, like for instance a lady of the castle, you might have worn this around your waist. I think….  Don’t start asking me questions like “what is it?”, “what was it for?” or “from what date is it?”…. I don’t know. There were so many items, I could not write it all down.Bag Museum (12)Bag Museum (14)

Bag Museum (13)

Bag Museum (11)

Bag Museum (10)Below: I love this one.Bag Museum (20)

Bag Museum (1)Below: we would still wear this one, wouldn’t we? (Actually I wouldn’t mind any of them..)Bag Museum (15)

Bag Museum (16)

Bag Museum (18)Below: they also get bags donated which were worn by famous people, like Imelda Marcos, or as below: Madonna. Next to the bag is her picture while wearing it.Bag Museum (19)Below: they usually have a changing exhibition on one of their floors as well. This time the theme was travelling.Bag Museum (9)

Bag Museum (8)Below: OK, now for the building…..Bag Museum (3)

Bag Museum (4)Below: in this room you can actually sit and have coffee or tea. How magnificent is that?Bag Museum (5)Below: the closed veranda is a very popular place to have lunch.Bag Museum (6)Below: as I said, it rained that day. Still I managed to take one picture of the garden, completely in style with the house.Bag Museum (7)Hope you enjoyed it. If you are ever in Amsterdam, do visit this place. Even if the sun is shining brightly.


No Fear of Fashion




  1. 12 October 2014 / 19:05

    Ooooh, I collect bags and purses…I could spend all day in this museum, I’m sure! As you say, even the building and the garden are beautiful! Love the travel carpet bag!

    • Greetje
      12 October 2014 / 21:29

      They used to use these carpet bag in coach travels (I remember that). You might have to “pop over” to Amsterdam dear. And yes you can easily spend all day there.

  2. Rosemary
    12 October 2014 / 21:01

    Oh Greetje, how incredible! I LOVE this place! (Yet another reason for me to come to Amsterdam again.) I have been to the shoe museum in Northampton, and loved that too. Now we just need a museum for shoes and bags and hats together!

    Much love from England,
    Rosemary from

  3. Rosemary
    12 October 2014 / 21:07

    Forgot to mention, your first photo in your pictures of handbags is of a chatelaine (I believe.) It was worn around the waist (or neck) of the lady of the house (or castle) and had her keys and other things she would need, like a scissors or some other small tools.

    Much love from England,
    Rosemary from

    • Greetje
      12 October 2014 / 21:34

      I wasn’t far off then.

  4. 12 October 2014 / 21:35

    Absolutely wonderful, that’s just the kind of museum I could happily spend a few hours wandering around! We have some good ones in the UK, apparently there’s a whole museum dedicated to shoes in Northampton, but I’ve never been. I loved the more ‘Deco’ style bags in this selection, they are to die for! Thanks for sharing the pics x

    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:12

      OK, if you like shoes, than maybe you will like this post about shoes too. I bet you haven’t seen it on my blog:

      But this was just a temporary exhibition. The Bag Museum is a permanent thing.

  5. Shawna
    12 October 2014 / 22:38

    Wow what an amazing selection of bags. I tend to like my bags to be very practical and easy to carry so the cross body is my favourite style. I’d like that set of golden dangly bits as it looks like it could double as a weapon but I don’t think I could fit my novel or a notebook in it. I do love handbags as art even if they aren’t what I would personally use.

    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:15

      I bet it won’t be that hard to find a similar (perhaps less beautiful) set of golden dangly bits (haha). But where do you put your smartphone?
      I have purchached a few tiny but oh so beautiful bags through eBay. And of course never use them as I carry the world with me.

  6. 13 October 2014 / 02:32

    What a beautiful experience. I love taking in museums like this. The second picture is a Chatelaine. I remember this from my Evolution of Apparel class at FIDM. It was worn around the waist of the housekeeper or servant in a castle during the 19th century. Hanging from it are all sorts of things that would be useful. It’s almost like a man having a swiss army knife on his person.

    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:17

      I thought there there were two different ones. The one that the housekeeper carried and fashionable ones with scissors and perfume, the upper class ladies carried.
      But I could be mistaken.

  7. Happiness at Mid Life
    13 October 2014 / 07:52

    What a great museum! I am sure there’s some type of fashion related museum here in Los Angeles but I ‘ve never searched for any. Thank you for sharing!


    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:18

      It is just something you suddenly discover and then fall in love with it. Which I did.

  8. 13 October 2014 / 09:24

    That was a wonderful day for me and I can remember every single moment of it ( including the journey on Ron’s boat, which I enjoyed so much despite the bad weather! )
    The museum is situated in a really fantastic building, which deserves to be visited for itself. I remember the very beautiful spiral staircase and the delightful cafe where we had one of our many cappuccinos!
    The exibition is amazing and, for a bag lover as I am, it has been very interesting!!
    Don’t forget to tell Ron he gifted me a very special journey!

    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:19

      I will tell Ron. He will like that.

  9. myemptybag
    13 October 2014 / 14:20

    WoW! how original place and bags, 4000 ???? too much!
    great post Gretje!


    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:20

      Well, there are 4.000 bags, purses, pouches and accessories….. But yes, it is a lot, which is why I can go back many times and see different things. As you cannot take it all in, in just a few hours.

  10. 13 October 2014 / 15:13

    Looks like a place I would go to often! I would love to spend hours perusing purses…and the setting is stunning. What a fun outing.

    • Greetje
      13 October 2014 / 15:22

      You might think it is just for tourists, but it is not. It is a lovely place. And as I have a year-round access pass, I can go anytime.

  11. 14 October 2014 / 13:18

    Great that there are still some treasures for me to discover! I have never been so i guess you’ll just have to go another time and take me!

  12. 15 October 2014 / 15:02

    I adore that travel carpet bag. I’ve been looking for one of those forever.

    After seeing these pics I’m kind of disappointed we didn’t go. Ah well….next time : )


    • Greetje
      15 October 2014 / 15:25

      Definitely… if and when you come back to my little country, I will take you to the museum. In the meantime you might want to take a tour through their website? Their timeline gives you nice examples.

  13. Elle
    16 October 2014 / 02:09

    Wow, what a fabulous collection! This was better than eating fudge!
    I love this bags, the details, craftsmanship, and obvious glamour they impart!
    What a fittingly lovely place for the museum, too, and the courtyard is so pretty, what a divine spot to be in!
    On a darker side, it may be that some of the tinier bags in the first shots, might have been used for poison… and of course face powder!
    Thanks for sharing this!
    XX, Elle

    • Greetje
      16 October 2014 / 05:50

      Poison eh? I heard they used rings with hidden compartments for that purpose too.
      If you like my post, you should click on the links to the museum site. They show more and better bags with time information.

      • Elle
        16 October 2014 / 22:21

        Maybe Rosemary is right, tools sound more common place and i think the term is correct,
        I will have a peek at the links, so i can see more.
        XX, Elle

  14. 16 October 2014 / 17:32

    Great post, Greetje, so interesting to see all those beautiful old and not so old bags, bravo!

    • Greetje
      16 October 2014 / 19:02

      Thanks Patrizia. If you click on the links in this post, you will see more bags and better photos of them.

  15. lorna mai
    19 October 2014 / 00:49

    Such a beautiful collection of handbags. What an amazing place to visit. I simply love that garden!

    • Greetje
      19 October 2014 / 15:27

      Hi Lorna, thanks for leaving a comment. The garden is bigger than the pictures showes and is so lovely and quiet. I have also been there when the sun was out…too good to be true.

  16. 23 October 2014 / 09:44

    Great article and I have still not visited this museum. Have to plan it when I am back in the Netherlands.

    How cool that you were allowed to take pics. I was not allowed to take any pictures in the wonderful bag museum Simone in Seoul, Korea.

    • Greetje
      23 October 2014 / 18:28

      I remember your post. If I remember correctly, the building was stunning as well, but then modern.
      They let you photograph but not use flashlight. As it is quite dark inside (to protect the bags), it is not easy to take pictures, but I managed (and absolutely did not use flashlight).
      That is another reason why I included a link to their website. They have far better photos.

    • Greetje
      18 November 2014 / 15:46

      I left a comment on her blog. Thanks for letting me know.

  17. cristina
    10 March 2016 / 20:12

    That’s amazing!!!! I adore vintage bags and i could spend all my life in this museum!
    Great post!
    Thank you so much Greetje!

    • Greetje
      10 March 2016 / 20:33

      Many women who were visiting the museum said the same: “I could live in this house” as it is a fantastic building. And then every day you get the take one of those bags out with you hahaha.

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