advertisement

The former home of Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch Old Master artist extraordinaire, was on the edge of the former Jewish quarter and proved to be his downfall. He bought this elegant town house in 1639 when his career as Amsterdam's premier portrait painter was flying but overstretched himself with a massive mortgage that plagued his life for years. The house brought him little personal happiness as his adored first wife Saskia died here in 1642 and subsequently he was declared bankrupt in 1656. Rembrandt's belongings were all sold off and he moved to a smaller house on Rozengracht, where he died in 1669.

This house was re-opened as a museum in 1911, and is furnished faithfully in period thanks to a notary's inventory of his possessions. The layout is typical of the 17th century, with servants' quarters in the basement, and three floors atop that. Rembrandt's hallway served as his gallery, with his dealing room off this, and the family's living quarters are hung with his masterful oil paintings. Upstairs you'll find his cabinet of curiosities and the airy studio where he painted "The Night Watch." Bequests of his prints and paintings continue to grow and in 1998 a new wing was built onto the original house to display them all.