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 years earlier.

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 magistracy.

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.

Wealthy Heiress

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.

Period Rooms

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 Napoleonic Empire.

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 office building.

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 Foundation

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
Herengracht 518
1017 CC Amsterdam
telephone 020-6390747
fax 020-6242541

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