The Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis is located on the Golden Bend of Amsterdam’s
Herengracht. This canal-side mansion was once the home of Albert Geelvinck
and his wife Sara Hinlopen, who had it built in 1687, together with
the coachhouse on the Keizersgracht. The
construction of the house was a sign of wealth and prosperity, and
crowned the marriage that the couple had entered into seven
The Golden Age
The Golden Age had made both families fabulously wealthy. The Hinlopens
had earned a fortune as co-founders of the Dutch East India Company,
and as traders in cloth and East Indian goods. The Geelvincks had
climbed up from shipmaster, owner of a store for ship supplies and
pirate, to merchants and co-owners of a shipping company. At the
time of the marriage, both families were members of the City Fathers
and held public office and positions in the city government and
Union Is Strength
In the marriages of patricians’ families, economic motives played
a large role. The marriage was an alliance between two families,
meant to maintain their power and wealth, increase it, and pass
it on to descendants. As a reminder of the alliance between the
Geelvincks and the Hinlopens, a wooden medallion was set in the
ceiling of the hall, which also undoubtedly served to impress the
guests with the power of their host and hostess. The family arms
are mounted on one shield and encircled by different attributes
that refer to union, strength and prosperity.
Receiving guests was an important activity for Albert and Sara,
as with all patricians. The making and confirming of agreements,
doing business, arranging alliances, celebrating the most recent
successes in the trade with East and West India, the manoeuvrings
of family members in public office and the setting out of careers;
this all happened in the rooms on the main floor. The front rooms,
located on either side of the entrance hall, were appropriate for
tête-à-têtes and smaller receptions. These are the current library
and Red Room. Large, important receptions were held in the dining
hall, which is now the Blue Room.
The interior of the study, which is now the Chinese Room, dates
back to the middle of the 18th century. It was a private retreat
with a view of the garden. The beamed ceiling, painted in its original
colour, oxblood red, is striking. Chintz with ‘chinoiserie’ are
stretched along the walls. Oriental motifs and decorations were
popularized with the products that the Dutch East India Company
brought back from Asia. There would have been a number of exotic
items in this house. Many of the Geelvincks were administrators
of the East India Company or, like Albert, of the West India Company.
Without doubt the families would have ordered Chinese porcelain
and Japanese lacquer ware. Sara herself spoke of ‘porcelain curios’
in her last will and testament of 1708.
Albert died in his home in 1693 leaving no children. His family
immediately began searching for a suitable marriage partner for
Sara and found one in Jacob Bicker, Albert's cousin. But this marriage
also remained childless. Sara died in 1749 at almost 89 years of
age. This was exceptional, in a time when many did not even reach
60. Her second cousin, Agatha Livina Geelvinck, inherited the house.
Agatha, whose spouse Dirk Trip was very wealthy when he passed away,
decided to adapt the house to the fashion of the day. A straight
cornice with tooled consoles was placed on the house and above this,
a sculpted attic. In the engraving that Casper Philips made in 1768,
the attic can be seen with six vases.
After the death of Agatha Geelvinck, the house was rented to her
brother Nicolaas’ in-laws: Joan Graafland Pieterz. and his family.
Joan was, among other things, an administrator of the Dutch East
and West India Companies.
Around this time, Egbert van Drielst made his famous painted wall
hangings. Five of these from 1788 now adorn the Blue Room. Van Drielst,
also called the ‘Drentse Hobbema’, painted natural landscapes. His
use of light and darkness and eye-level perspectives carry the viewer
into the painting. The Blue Room is decorated in the Dutch Empire
style: the late 18th century style inspired by the fashion of the
The Graafland family were followed by the Van de Poll family, who
were related by marriage. Willem van de Poll had made a brilliant
career for himself. It began with a medal for his involvement in
the battle of the Dogger Bank (as a volunteer during his school
holidays) and ended with memberships of the Upper and Lower Houses
of the Netherlands’ Parliament, a knighthood, and peerage.
Throughout the centuries, shipping and trade played an important
role in the lives of the house’s residents. This was to remain so
up until the end of the 19th century. Worthy of mention are Jan
Hendrik Hackman Asschenberg and his wife Catherine Noel Simon. He
was a wool broker from the firm Van Santen & Asschenberg, agents
and ship-owners. It is known that Jan and Catherine kept a menagerie
in the garden: a collection of live, wild animals.
From the end of the 19th century and into the 20th, the house was
occupied by several banking families until it gradually became an
The present design of the library and the Red Room dates from the
end of the 19th century. During the library’s restoration, a richly
coloured stucco ceiling with decorative oval patterns was discovered
behind the white ceiling. The ceiling and the panelling in the Red
Room are also original. They were inspired by the Louis XV style
with olive green, terracotta red and guilded neo-rococo ornaments.
The room and its extravagant forms are protected as a listed state
and municipal monument.
Behind the house, a large garden extends all the way to the coachhouse.
The garden was designed in the late 1980’s by the landscape architect
Robert Broekema. It is divided into three parts: a classic garden,
a wild garden, and a cottage garden. For the most part, the garden
is symmetrically laid out and has a large variety of plant and flower
sorts. Around the pond in the summer, there bloom about 10 varieties
of old Dutch roses. The garden is decorated with sculpted ornaments.
Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis
The period rooms and the garden are managed by the Geelvinck Hinlopen
Huis Foundation. Both were restored to their full glory by the Ten
Doesschate Buisman Group. This family concern has an entrepreneurial
history (in spices, among other things) that dates back to the 16th
century. In 1995, the Group initiated the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis
Foundation. Its goal is the preservation of cultural heritage.
In addition to the period rooms and the garden of the Museum Geelvinck
Hinlopen Huis, the Foundation manages the collections of Maecenas
The Portfolio N.V. This art fund aims to bridge the gap between
museums and private collectors. It acquires and further develops
privately owned 17th- and 18th-century art and antique collections
that otherwise would be dissolved. The Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen
Huis renders the art collections accessible to the public through
exhibitions and publications. One example is the exhibition ‘Etchings
by Rembrandt: Reflections of the Golden Age’. This exhibition consisted
of the Maecenas collection of etchings and the first results of
the research into the paper used by Rembrandt. This research is
being lead by expert Theo Laurentius. The Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis
Foundation showed the exhibition as an official participant of the
Peter the Great Manifestation: the festivities for the commemoration
of Czar Peter the Great’s visit to the Netherlands three centuries
ago. In addition to the Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, this exhibition
was also on show at the Peter & Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg
in September 1996, and in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum in Moscow
in June 1997.
Receptions Once Again
After the grandiose receptions given by patricians and statesmen
of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, the house is once again open
for large and small private gatherings. The period rooms and the
garden can be visited by appointment. Dinners, lunches and other
occasions can also be arranged. To support the work of the Geelvinck
Hinlopen Huis Foundation, you can make a donation to: ABN AMRO bank
nr. 61 42 54 736
Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Foundation
1017 CC Amsterdam