Amsterdam museum of Bags and Purses

I fully intended this to be a delightful post about vintage shops in Amsterdam, but unfortunately i found the vintage shops severely lacking. Yes, Amsterdam had lots of cool independent shops, but almost all of the vintage stores were incredibly samey offering little other than what i would refer to as “student vintage” (printed shirts, novelty jumpers, cut off levi’s…that kind of thing). So instead i’ll offer a review of one of the museums I visited whilst I was there, and boy it was good.

Amsterdam Museum of bags and purses

This delightful museum is located in one of the imposingly tall canal houses that cover Amsterdam. The handbag museum not only contains amazing bags and purses but is also housed within a completely stunning building.

The museum itself is spread over 4 floors. You start at the top and work your way down. Starting with 16th-19th century bags and purses on the 4th floor ( here there were some truly show stopping early examples including beaded reticules and pockets). On the 3rd floor is 20th-21st century handbags with some of the most jaw dropping art deco bags I have ever seen and a crazy collection of lucite bags too. The 2nd floor is a temporary exhibition space which currently is “out on the twon” showcasing a delightful selection of shoes, bags and hats. All of the shoes on display were loaned by Northampton shoe museum, making me even more desperate to go! The museum finishes on the ground floor with a great shop which sells some spectacular designer handbags.

One of my favourite pieces in the collection

Leather clutch ‘Normandie’, France, 1935

First-class passengers received this clutch on the maiden voyage of the Normandie, the most luxurious cruise ship of the time which sailed from Le Havre via Southampton to New York.

Another highlight. I remember seeing one of these in black go for crazy money on ebay a few years back.

Leather handbag, Annemarie of France, France, the 1940s (20th century)

Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli caused a stir in the 1930s with her surrealistic fashion accessories and bags. From the 1940s, the designers Enid Collins and Anne-Marie of France started designing striking bags.

I would highly recommend a visit to this museum. Not only do they have some amazing objects on display but the showcases are fantastically well laid out, allowing you to really see the items on display and there is text available in English.

If you want to find out more about the museum this is their website

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