KattenKabinet: The Curious Cat Museum of Amsterdam

mechelen room
The Cat Museum in Amsterdam.

The Cat Museum in Amsterdam

Cat Museum
J.P. Morgan’s cat

John Pierpont Morgan lived in Amsterdam for 17 years. His house shines in a single petite Palais of the XVII Century. Every room is differently decorated with baroque ceiling frescoes. A wealthy furniture selection, large mirrors, and an extensive fine arts exhibition fulfill his home.

The garden, lifted by a pergola, is the place where he used to hunt and sunbathe in summer. He loved, however, spending afternoons lying on sofas exactly in front of the fireplace during winter.

Visitors used to honor him all the time. They offered gifts, meals, jewels, and collars, among many baubles.

If he was not visible, everyone asked for him. He traveled, ran, climbed, slept, and specially purred. In simple words, JP Morgan was the cat who lived in the Maison between 1966 and 1983.

Cat Museum in Amsterdam

In 1990, in memorial of his JP Morgan, Bob Meijers turned his house into a museum fully devoted to cats. The Cat Cabinet takes place in the old patrician building where they lived.

Abundant pieces of art from around the globe about felines are exposed in multiple expressions. The collection is soberly curated like in a world-class exhibition. But at the same time, trippers unmask emotions of humor, tenderness, curiosity, and surprise.

De KattenKabinet is a superb experience that engages travelers in Amsterdam. It’s not only about cats. They’re just the common thread of the collection.

The house and garden, by themselves, look like a small sample of a French castle. The Cat Cabinet gathers antique relics from Eastern Asia and Egypt.

Classical and modern paintings, followed by a vast number of sculptures, and photographs. All-time movie cat-stars posters, cinema-cat-cheque, and naturally the current jack-hosts of the house. Cool and amusing, John P Morgan welcomes all.

Cats, Arts, & Fun

Bastet and Egyptian cats.
Bastet and Egyptian cats.

The starting walk of the house shows this is an unusual space. Like in a hall of fame, cats are framed on posters where they were movie stars. Celebrity-Cats, and the main characters in ads, and TV series. Hard to believe. There are so many tomcat stars that the longest lounge of the museum is full of them from the floor to the roof.

kattenkabinet

On a journey back in time, before the internet days, cats invited you to have an aperitif and light a cigarette. They could shine your shoes, send you to sleep, or even warn you how to become a good neighbor.

The posters’ gallery also displays when cats used to be the protagonists in circuses, live gigs, and cabarets. The first approach within the Cat-Cabinet illustrates the exact spirit of the one-in-the-kind attraction.

The cat museum in Amsterdam has five saloons in two stages. The garden is available to visit in summer. Every room reveals a sensitive taste of a wealthy environment.

They’re individually decorated with antique ceiling lamps, large mirrors, velvet rouge curtains, and oak furniture. Tourists, however, miss the detail of the individual frescoes.

Like in French Palais, the ceilings have a baroque body colored with flowers, heavens, and angels. There’s an open piano in the cinema, and divans to make you feel part of the family.

Cat Mummies and Replicas

The exhibition is as huge as appealing. The KattenKabinet delivers samples of cats for exposure. There are real cat mummies from Ancient Egypt. Replicas of Bastet, the cat goddess for warriors.

Moreover, the Eastern is also present at the museum. Fine porcelains, sculptures, and tiny art crafts that came from Japan, and China are present to honor JP Morgan at home.

Ball Room
 

Wealth breeds wealth. Maneki-Neko, also known as the ‘lucky beckoning cat’, is in size and origin everywhere in the Maison. However, the ‘Lucky Cat’ flipper made of these numerous cats is a charming installation that visually entertains and sonorously engages.

The cat paintings are priceless. Kittens rolling a wool ball, cats chasing mice, sleeping, deeply yawning, eating. They’re in canvas, watercolors, pencils, oils. Baroque, abstract, cubist, psychedelic, collage, and many artistic expressions of cats as well as arts.

Worldwide creators portrayed felines in multiple thinkable motions, gestures, and visages. The cat museum collection exhibits pieces of art made from diverse artistic backgrounds.

In Mechelen Room are featured two emblematic portrayals. First, an original Rembrandt engraving. The Virgin with Child, Cat and Snake (1654). A drawing in black and white scales discloses a cat looking steadily at the biblical snake, assumably in order to assault it, beneath the feet of Mary.

In the same space appears Pablo Picasso. Le Chat (1940) is a drawing that shows a fluffy kitty sitting. Its mustache is slightly stretched. Its visible tongue aims at a target that only the feline’s dilated pupils and the Spanish master know.

Among hundred creations cat committees, nobility societies, and feline interactions are born from the cat creatives’ imagination of painters.

On the other hand, it wouldn’t be freaky to adopt sculptures. They’re so cute, sweet, funny, naughty, and actively realistic that mesmerize. Cats in bronze, glass, ceramics, wood, ivory, and terracotta, too.

Relaxing, hunting, or fighting. Apart from the cat-statue paraphernalia, there’s a unique collection of cutleries, a set of dishes, and kettles, followed by the original course menu of the mythical Parisian cabaret Le Chat Noir.

We Trust No Dog * John P Morgan Cat One-Dollar note

John Pierpont Morgan was the cat of the Meijer family. He was a ginger jack who reaped buddies and admirers in Amsterdam. He spent his nine lives of 17 years in this house.

JP was the prettiest famed guy of the Maison. He used to receive special gifts for his birthdays. In his first five years celebration, the cat was gifted with his portrait.

Like a Lord, he’s wearing a coat surrounded by laurels. By the age of ten, he modeled for a bronze sculpture. But some envious hands stole it before opening the museum. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. An outrageous prize came when he came to his 15-year-old party. The first one cat one-dollar note issued with his face portrait. The greatest tribute to a cat for his birthday ever. Absolutely, we trust no dog.

Seven years after JP passed away, his owner and householder, Bob Meijers, founded the cat museum to commemorate his fellow. Today, on the upper floors his family is still living at the Maison. The Katten Kabinet is partnered with the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, as a sustainable tourist attraction of the city.

As an art and historic space, The Cat Cabinet is awesome. It’s an unusual experience within an endless European capital. All ages enjoy the cat museum. According to the extensive collection, the selective taste of disclosing cats, and the creativity of the artists, this is definitely the exhibition that John P Morgan deserves. A unique place to discover one more secret of Amsterdam.

KattenKabinet

Herengracht 497. 1017BT. Amsterdam
(+31) 020.626.9040

In the area of Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam downtown, it’s easy to find it. The KattenKabinet is surrounded by the area of the big square along with pubs and restaurants. Just behind it, in front of the canal.

Gabriel Dupen

 

Gabriel Dupén, is a writer who tells stories throughout Europe. He shares the experience of unusual spots he visits. Nomad lifestyle. He’s lived in five countries and speaks five languages. With a degree in tourism, he’s a travel agent who already explored between 30-40 countries. Here is his Instagram.

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