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Discover 500 years of history of the Western ladies bag in a beautiful, displayed in an historic canal house from 1666.
The Museum of Bags and Purses shows the history of the western (hand) bag from the 15th century right up to the present. The museum holds a collection of 4,000 bags, pouches, cases, purses and accessories and is the most extensive and most specialised museum of its kind in the world.
The Museum started as a private bag collection of Hendrikje Ivo, who collected bags for more than 35 years. What started out as a personal fascination grew to this unique collection and museum.
Hendrikje Ivo’s interest and love for bags started when she found a leather handbag from 1820 with tortoiseshell capping near Norwich, England. Her interest in bags was aroused, and she started researching bags and their history.
In 1996 she opened the doors of her home in Amstelveen to allow the public to admire her remarkable collection of bags. After 10 years, the location in Amstelveen became too small for the continually expanding collection and the increasing flow of visitors. With the help from an anonymous donor the move was made possible in 2007 to the Herengracht.
The collection shows that bags have fulfilled a range of functions over the centuries. Together they weave the story of trends in fashion, women’s emancipation, and the use of new techniques and materials.