28 March 2008

museum willet-holthuysen

me and my new hair got up early this morning to get ready for a day in the city. i was super excited because i had planned to go see the museum willet-holthuysen. this museum was formerly the home to mr. & mrs. willet-holthuysen, who willed it, along with all the the art and possessions in it, to the city of amsterdam on the condition that it be turned into a museum for the public. i was dying to see inside the houses on the canal, and herengracht where this museum is, hosts the grandest all of the houses in amsterdam. i have always loved touring grand houses! i just love them.

the weather. the weather in amsterdam sucks right now. it's cold and windy and it rains just about everyday. i left my umbrella on the bench at centraal the other day (super annoying...) so i didn't have one today and it was awful out. my new hair was now just wet hair. anyway, after getting incredibly turned around on the way there, i finally found it just as i was beginning to get discouraged and upset about being so lost and wet.

once in the house i was reassured that all the walking had been worth it. the house was magnificent (i found this fabulous slide-show of many of the rooms in the house) it was quite an experience to look around a house with the same possessions it held in 1895...it made is all the more authentic and iteresting.

the other reason i wanted to go to this particular museum today was that the temporary exhibit, dress to impress 1750-1914 is about to end. i've always loved all things french an i was excited to see mrs. willet-holthuysen's collection of french fashion prints. she had hundreds of them, in all different sizes, along with a selection of her very own dresses...oh the lace! oh the silk!! they were fantastic and i now have a new obsession!!

it was pretty amazing to see the scale of luxury the wealthy lived with back then. one thing that struck me, though, was that even though the house was big and grand, it still felt smaller and more intimate than a lot of "mac mansions" being build today. it seems like back then, the money went into the lasting details of the homes...the marble floors, and ornate woodwork, and grand wrought iron staircases, and art, and fine china. unlike today when (some) people only seem to interested in big, bigger, and biggest.

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