Of all of Amsterdam's unique and unusual museums and attractions, the Kattenkabinet is perhaps the one that warms the most hearts, as a testament of one man's dedication to the memory of his beloved cat. (Others, such as the Museum Vrolik, are bound to leave visitors as cold as the lifeless specimens it preserves in the name of science.) The Kattenkabinet, Dutch for 'Cat Cabinet', is a temple to cat-themed art, started in commemoration of founder Bob Meijer's late tomcat, J.P. Morgan (indeed named after famous American banker J.P. Morgan).
The collection encompasses both tributes to J.P. Morgan as well as other feline-themed art from diverse artists, some household names and some lesser-known. As is often the case in smaller-scale Dutch museums, there is a certain emphasis on artists from the Netherlands, such as Sal Meijer, an Amsterdam-based painter of Jewish descent who was dubbed the "Raphael of Cats"; his works have also been exhibited at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Swiss artist Théophile Steinlen, whose name is little-known despite the ubiquity of his poster "Le Chat Noir", also has several pieces in the museum, which has an excellent collection of commercial poster art in which cats are the stars. Gifts to J.P. Morgan round out the collection; the tomcat was feted by artists every five years of his life, and particularly on his 15th birthday. Several felines still slink around the premises of the Kattenkabinet, which in addition to a museum of feline art is also a fantastic specimen of a patrician canal house, set on Amsterdam's most opulent stretch of canal, the Gouden Bocht ('Golden Bend').
Kattenkabinet Visitor Information:
1017 BT Amsterdam
- Mon - Fri 10 - 5 p.m., Sat - Sun 12 - 5 p.m. Holidays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Closed December 25 - 26 & 31, January 1 and April 30.
- Adults: € 6
- Children 4 to 12: € 3
- N.B.: "I amsterdam" cards and Hollandpasses are not honored at the Kattenkabinet.
- Take tram 4, 9, 14, 16, 24 or 25 to the Muntplein stop. Cross Muntplein and continue south on Vijzelstraat; turn right onto Herengracht.
Call +31 (0)20 626 9040, or visit the Kattenkabinet web site.