The Museum Willet-Holthuysen offers an insight into the life and tastes of one of Amsterdam’s leading families, the coal-trading Holthuysens, who occupied this elegant, late seventeenth-century mansion until the last of the line, Sandra Willet-Holthuysen, gifted her home and its contents to the city in 1895. The museum is entered via the old servants’ door, which leads into the basement, where there’s a small collection of porcelain and earthenware on display. Above are the family rooms, most memorably the Blue Room, which has been returned to its eighteenth-century Rococo appearance – a flashy and ornate style that the Dutch merchants of the day held to be the epitome of refinement and good taste. The Ballroom, all creams and gilt, is similarly opulent and the Dining Room is laid out for dinner as of 1865 complete with the family’s original Meissen dinner set. The top floor displays the fine and applied art collection assembled by Sandra’s husband, Abraham Willet, principally Dutch ceramics, pewter and silverware. Behind the house are the formal gardens, a neat pattern of miniature hedges graced by the occasional stone statue, and framed by the old coach house.
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