We went for Van Gogh, we found handbags.  Really, whoever thought of the Museum of Bags & Purses was brilliant!  With visions of impressionist artists in our head we were so easily distracted by the handbag museum.

But to those who might be thinking, but art hangs on walls, I implore you to open your mind because what we found in the handbag museum was as creative as any swirling field painting.  There were literally handbags in any design you could imagine.  A teapot, a witches hat, a fish, a telephone (that actually plugged in), a can of Diet Coke, a champagne bucket, even a cruise ship.  And then there was the history of handbag design, the variety of materials used over the years: mother of pearl, beading, embroidery, etc.  This museum traced the history of upper class culture over the years.  So don’t overlook this museum as a throw away for those who think shopping is art.  The Tassenmuseum is a unique look at culture; the culture of accessorizing.

A few notes: at Herengracht 573, a short walk from the Hermitage.  You will need about 30 minutes for the museum, but leave 45 minutes for the shop!  The shop is lovely, lots of handbags, of course, but also key chains, change purses, books, etc.  I was helped by Rinie who was great!  Very knowledgeable and had a back story about every bag.  I settled on a small cowhide purse designed by Hester Van Eeghan, not only do I seem to be in an animal fur phase of handbags (sorry PETA) but how could I resist a bag by an Eeghan?

I thought I had seen it all, until I went to the Cat Museum.

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