The Rembrandt House Museum

Museum Het Rembrandthuis—in English, the Rembrandt House Museum—is located between Oude Kerk and the Jewish Cultural Quarter, a quick eight-minute walk northwest of Hortus Botanicus and ARTIS Royal Zoo. The Rembrandt House Museum is the historic seventeenth-century home where the legendary painter Rembrandt van Rijn lived and worked for almost 20 years. Visitors to the Rembrandt House Museum can tour Rembrandt’s art studio and living quarters, experience interactive exhibits that share insights into the artist’s life and times, and see many of his paintings, drawings, and etchings up close and personal.

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History of the Rembrandt House Museum

The historic structure occupied by the Rembrandt House Museum today was built in 1606 (coincidentally the exact year of Rembrandt’s birth). It’s believed that around the year 1627 the house was expanded and remodeled by the acclaimed architect Jacob van Campen. Rembrandt purchased the property in early 1639, and moved his family into the home later that same year. He would live and work here for the next two decades, until his ongoing financial troubles culminated in a bankruptcy that saw him forced to sell the house at an auction in 1658.

Over the next 250 years, the property would change hands many times, and its condition would deteriorate significantly. In 1906, as part of the celebrations surrounding the 300th anniversary of the artist’s birth, the city of Amsterdam purchased the building and plans were made to establish a museum on the site. The home was restored by the Dutch artist and designer Karel de Bazel, and in 1911 the Rembrandt House Museum opened to the public. A contemporary exhibition annex was built next to the original house in 1998, and today the Rembrandt House Museum is the only building in which the artist lived and worked that remains standing.

Rembrandt House Museum Highlights

The highlight of a trip to the Rembrandt House Museum is the opportunity to walk in the great artist’s footsteps while learning more about his everyday life and work habits. The house has been extensively refurbished, outfitted with furniture, art, and household objects from the time period, and no art lover will want to miss the chance to tour Rembrandt’s studio. This magical space is where Rembrandt created many of his most famous works, and the museum is even in possession of several pots it’s believed he used when mixing his painting pigments.

The Rembrandt House Museum owns an impressive collection of artworks by Rembrandt, as well as a number of important pieces created by contemporaries and pupils of Rembrandt. The museum’s collection includes a variety of paintings and drawings—many of which are on display throughout the attraction on a regular basis—and almost every single etching made by Rembrandt.

Throughout the year, the Rembrandt House Museum hosts a series of special exhibitions devoted to showcasing the work of Rembrandt and a number of painters who would have been in his mid-seventeenth-century orbit. By their very nature, these temporary exhibitions are ever-changing, but recent offerings here include such shows as The Art of Drawing, a collection of 74 drawings by Rembrandt, Bol, Maes, and more on loan to Museum Het Rembrandthuis from the Peck Collection; Rembrandt and Love, which pulls together a curated selection of love-themed etchings from the museum’s permanent collection; and Framing Rembrandt, an exhibit that examines nearly 400 years of biographical depictions of Rembrandt in art, literature, theatre, and cinema.

More to See and Do at the Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum is an essential destination for many Amsterdam visitors. Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you plan your visit.

*In addition to its rotating temporary exhibitions, the Rembrandt House Museum routinely sponsors a number of special, one-off activities. From art classes to residencies by renowned tattoo artists, there’s often something unexpected (and fun) going on here. For more information about what type of programs might be happening when you’re planning on being in town, check out the Rembrandt House Museum official website.

•Every visitor’s admission to the Rembrandt House Museum entitles them to a complimentary multimedia guide. This audio tour is available in ten languages and is a useful way to learn more about the attraction as you move through its different spaces.

•Guided group tours of the Rembrandt House Museum are available upon request. These guided tours must be booked in advance through the museum’s website, but for guests who have a trip to Rembrandt’s House at the top of their Amsterdam to-do list, they’re a terrific way to get even more out of your visit.

•Those families visiting the Rembrandt House Museum with children under the age of ten years old will want to download an assortment of activities suitable for kids from the museum’s website. These “Young Explorer” activities are a neat way for the little ones to learn more about Rembrandt and art in an interactive fashion.

Why the Rembrandt House Museum Should Be on Your Must-See List

Rembrandt occupies a prominent position near the top of many people’s “Best Artist Ever” lists, and his powerful artistic legacy still looms large today some four centuries after he lived and worked. Perhaps nowhere is that powerful artistic legacy felt more strongly than here in Amsterdam, and any visitor with a passion for art or an interest in learning about one of the city’s most famous residents will want to experience the Rembrandt House Museum for themselves. It’s a unique place lets guests encounter Rembrandt as an artist, father, husband, and citizen of the world—all under one roof where he really went about his everyday business for two decades.