Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 27, 2012

Rembrandt was here

The house that Rembrandt lived and painted in for 20 years of his life is now a museum. He purchased the Amsterdam house in 1639 ( the same year he was commissioned to paint Night Watch ) for the enormous sum of 13,000 guilders. He didn’t pay the entire sum at once, opting to pay in installments. In 1656 he lost the house when he was unable to keep up the payments.

The property and everything in it was sold. Because of the inventory and sketches the artist made, it has been possible to fill the house with furniture and items that could have been in the house during the years that Rembrandt lived there.

I found it fascinating to wander through the house. It was as though Rembrandt had just left for a moment and could return to his paints at any time.

The tour starts in the kitchen, which I thought looked very stylish.






The kitchen also had a strange box bed. It looked quite small, but it was explained that people used to sleep in a half seated position at the time, as they believed that lying flat would cause a rush of blood to the head.


The next room was up a spiral staircase to the ground floor, and was the entrance hall.


Rembrandt’s front door.

The room was quite small and filled with art. Rembrandt was an art dealer as well as a painter and this served as a small showroom for his own, and other art pieces.


From this room clients would be taken into a small sitting room, where there was more art on display….and another bed, where clients might stay overnight.



The next room we went into was the room where etchings were produced.






We moved on to the artist’s bedroom.




There was another spiral staircase up to the artist’s studio.


The studio was the biggest in the house.






The room next door was filled with things Rembrandt liked to collect to help him with his art.





Finally, there was a room filled with the master’s etchings.






Here is a little bit of Rembrandt from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


The museum is in Jodenbreestraat at number 4.


  1. I’ve been there some years ago and I have loved it. Really fascinating!

    • It is a wonderful museum….very well put together.

  2. Now that looks like a truly amazing museum. It’s now on my list for when I revisit Amsterdam.

    • It’s great. It was fairly crowded. I would have liked to spend more time in each room, but we had to move along quickly.

  3. The box bed in the kitchen reminds me of the one featured in the film “The girl with the pearl hearing”. Girl servants had to sleep there.Well, at least they were warm….

    • The film would have been set in roughly the same era, which would explain the beds.

  4. Thank you very much for the tour of Rembrandt’s home, it’s very generous of you… !

    • It is a wonderful museum. They have done a great job making everything look authentic.

  5. Interesting tour and a refresher on the history of Rembrandt. Thank you Deb

    • I think he is my favourite of the Dutch painters.

  6. We were quite spoilt when we saw this home. Fred’s nephew organised a private tour for Fred’s 80th b’day to see paintings from that time at the Rijksmuseum with the museum’s Rembrandt expert followed by a visit to R’s home. (Ferdinand Bol was a pupil of Rembrandt’s and in contrast to Rembrandt, became v. wealthy from painting flattering portraits of the wealthy Dutch merchants and their families). I’m wondering if you saw the Museum Our Lord in the Attic while in Amsterdam – fascinating RC Church incorprating upper floors over 2 or 3 homes. The Dutch didn’t persecute the RC’s but they couldn’t hold public services, hence the hidden church.

    • Lucky you! We saw paintings of Ferdinand Bol at Rijksmuseum and I have photos, which I will post later. I thought it had to be a relation of Fred.

  7. Wonderful, Debra. I love the photos of his studio. Thanks so much
    for sharing this story.

    • The studio was full of light…a wonderful place to paint.

  8. Fantastic! Thank you dear Debra, as if I went to there too… Love, nia

    • I was lucky I was able to take photographs. It is not always allowed.

  9. Just beautiful. I love the box beds…I used to live in Amsterdam and I remember being struck when I got there how such a relatively tall people (the Dutch are TALL!) could live with such tiny steep staircases. Funny. But what a graceful, soulful place. Makes me want to reconsider my living space…the colors…the light. Thank you so much.

    • When these houses and beds were built people were generally much smaller. Those steps are very steep.

  10. Great virtual tour. Ilove the box beds, they look so cosy, I think I’d like one here for winter, albeit a bit larger!

    • Or you could learn to sleep sitting up.

  11. What a fascinating museum. I love the way they have given you a feeling of what is was like in Rembrandt’s day…even down to the paint pots.Thankyou.

    • I thought it was very well done. All the museums we went to in Amsterdam were excellent.

  12. Gosh, Deb, this looks like an incredibly fascinating place to visit. I’m especially intrigued by the beds–and the studio, of course. Well, the kitchen, also. Guess, I just loved it all. Great post!

    • I wouldn’t mind that kitchen….with running water, of course.

  13. Your pictures brought a rush of memories of our time browsing through Rembrandt’s home. Lovely to see a glimpse of his past as well as a reflection of you in the panelled kitchen windows – you could easily be part of an old Dutch painting, even a Flemish one. Van Dyk was famous for his mirror reflections. One can almost dip into those powdered paints in the joy of experimenting with the colours and the oils. I was interested in the rope railings as we climbed the tiny stairs to the top floor. Rembrandt would not exactly be a thin man then, so, it must have been a tight squeeze up those steps. We felt fortunate we visited this well-preserved museum.

  14. What a wonderful place – brings him so alive to the imagination! I love this kind of museum. And the front door. And the tucked away beds…

  15. I’m very glad you got to this museum, Debra. I find its intimacy makes it more fun than the grand Rijksmuseum, and it is even quite moving to be in Rembrandt’s studio.

    • We liked the Rijksmuseum too, but this was special.

  16. O I know what you mean about the kitchen Debra…. I love it too!!! What a beautiful contemporary feel about the house. The eye of the artist I suppose.

    • I thought the kitchen was surprisingly modern and quite user friendly.

  17. Very interesting. I’ve never been to Amsterdam. Friends are going there in June, but only have two days there. Is this a must see for first-time visitors?

    • Amsterdam ia a great city. It is not too big and the people are very friendly and helpful. Rembrandt House is great, the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh nearby. The Anne Frank museum is a must see, but go early because there are always long queues.
      Just wandering through the city is fun, there is lots to see and list of good places to eat. Vondel Park is beautiful. Take a canal ride…..2 days is barely enough.

  18. What a beautiful house, befits an artist only too well. I loved the box beds, they’d be so cozy if only a little longer. And fascinating they slept in a half sitting position at some point!

    • It was also thought to help with digestion to sleep in a half sitting position. I think the beds would have been stuffy and hot and probably didn’t smell all that good.

  19. That’s what I love about Europe. I was recently in France and saw the bed that Leonardo da Vinci passed away in and saw a house that Joan of Arc stayed at!

  20. Such an intriguing and inspiring bit of history. Thru your eyes and camera’s lens – I can see and feel how Rembrandt must have lived and created there. Thank-you!

  21. I didn’t get to Rembrandt’s house when I was in Amsterdam last month, so I’m happy to see it vicariously through your visit. I loved the pots of color in his studio. Fascinating!
    We did go to the Rijksmuseum where I saw The Night Watch. I still can’t believe that they let you take photos of it.

  22. How amazing that all this existed more than a hundred years before the First Fleet arrived in Australia! Great photos, thanks Deb!

  23. It’s so lovely being in your pocket on these visits – that house is really lovely, I do like the kitchen. Celia’s comment gives it a whole new perspective when you think that was a 100 years before the First Fleet arrived in Aus. I’d love to go to the Anne Frank museum.

  24. What a fascinating place. Those pictures are truly exquisite…if you had one on your wall, surely you would just keep looking at it forever, discovering yet another complex corner to scrutinise.

    • There is so much life in these paintings, you could stand in front of them for hours

  25. I loved the house. i love Amsterdam!

    • We loved Amsterdam too. I will definitely return one day.

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