Rembrandt’s kitchen

IMG_1777I am always very happy when visiting a restored historic house when I find the kitchen open as it tells you even more about the occupants. Rembrandt’s kitchen with its fire burning day and night was the centre of activity in his house in cold Amsterdam.

But it is unlikely Rembrandt himself did any domestic work here. He did eat in the kitchen and it is likely he also slipped into the warm box bed when after his wife died he brought in a housekeeper who became his companion. The kitchen is spick and span today and is utterly charming to my eyes but probably back-breaking like all ancient kitchens, all that bending down and cooking on open fires would dampen even my spirits in the kitchen.

The built in cabinets seem well ahead of his time, even the continuous stone bench and the fitted stone sink I would be happy to work with today. The tap at the top right looks like a modern invention. See the long handle above the tap, it was for pumping water up so that would definitely have saved countless trips to the well and back.IMG_1783

The copper bucket with strainer would have served many purposes.


Wall tiles floor to ceiling, I could work in here. IMG_1776

An enormous fireplace with kitchenalia of the times.


A chair and broom. Brooms have not changed in Amsterdam, we saw identical brooms on the back of a cleaning truck the same day.IMG_1778

Basket, brass and clay were necessary kitchen companions.IMG_1784

The bed in the kitchen – it is short as were the people and they slept more in a seated position than lying flat position.

IMG_1785Objects found outside the kitchen courtyard area – in a former cesspit when the house was renovated in 1997. Before sewers were laid the houses had cesspits. It was for the disposal of household scraps and toilet waste. IMG_1786

A still life painting of the objects.IMG_1779

Elegant glassware, pewter and ceramics of the 17th century.

Rembrandt preferred to buy art rather than pay his house off so he was eventually bankrupted and the contents were sold off. The curators have been able to read the records of the sale catalogue to assess just what would have been in the house, therefore most of the furniture and objects are faithful reproductions or antiques closely resemble his original furniture and objects.


  1. #1 by Paule Caillat on June 14, 2013 - 5:34 am

    Very interesting. When you are in Antwerp, make sure to visit Rubens’ house

    • #2 by tastetravel on June 14, 2013 - 5:37 am

      Not going to Antwerp this time only Ghent but will keep it for another time.

  2. #3 by Debra Kolkka on June 14, 2013 - 5:35 am

    I loved this kitchen…and the rest of the house.

  3. #4 by malcolmenright on June 14, 2013 - 6:10 am

    Roz, sent this on to Michael Allen and Vanessa Roche who will just go nuts!

  4. #5 by Ric & Lorraine James on June 14, 2013 - 7:41 am

    Love your travel updates Roz. – most informative!

    Lorraine James

  5. #6 by Lisa the Gourmet Wog on June 14, 2013 - 11:49 am

    A bed in the kitchen!! Genius!!

  6. #8 by Gwen on June 15, 2013 - 7:11 pm

    Roz, Takes me back years to my family farm in Wales. Chair shape, stone and ceramics, memories…. WOW!!
    Bring back the old days.

  1. Rembrandt’s House Amsterdam | Tastetravel

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