The History of the Museum

oprichters-heinz-hendrikje-ivo-tassenmuseumIt all started with one single handbag. This one bag turned Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo into passionate collectors – and soon connoisseurs – of handbags. Over the years, they gathered a private collection of such exceptional quality that they wanted to share it with the rest of the world. This was the start of the Museum of Bags and Purses, which now receives over 85.000 visitors a year.

The First Handbag

Hendrikje Ivo had always been a dedicated collector of all kinds of small antiques and curiosities, and had started to trade them as well. One day, in a small English village, Heinz en Hendrikje Ivo found a leather handbag from the 1820’s, with tortoise shell cover plates. Hendrikje Ivo explains: “This amazing beauty immediately threw us into ecstasies and we took it home as a regal showpiece. Fascinated by the beauty of this tortoise bag we started researching the history of the handbag. The collectors were born: we were, so to speak, in the bag.”

The Collectors handtas-schildpad-parelmoer-Tassenmuseum

Collecting bags became serious business for Hendrikje and Heinz Ivo. Hendrikje explains: ”Building a collection of bags is fun and very instructive. Our many trips in search of new items were so exciting! At antique fairs we found these bags, impervious, well-shaped and in flaming colours. Challengingly and beggingly they stared at us. We could not resist the temptation and returned home carrying suitcases full of bags. Since we wanted as many people as possible to share our joy, we came up with a plan to create a small museum in our own house.”

Museum at Home

geschiedenis-amstelveen-exterieur-tassenmuseum

In 1996, Heinz and Hendrikje Ivo opened the doors of their house in Amstelveen to show their collection of handbags to the public. Their daughter, art historian Sigrid Ivo, developed and supported the informative content, which also contributed significantly to the museum’s success. For the next ten years, the Museum of Bags and Purses resided in Amstelveen. During those years the collection grew steadily and more and more enthusiasts found their way to the museum.

To Amsterdam City Centre

The Museum of Bags and Purses Hendrikje remained settled in Amstelveen for ten years. Slowly, however, the museum outgrew the private residence. Thanks to a contribution of an anonymous patron, the museum was able to move to the present location in Amsterdam in 2007. In the meantime, Sigrid Ivo had become both director and curator of the museum. The former 17th century mayor’s residence was renovated and furnished exclusively for the museum. The canal house is part of the UNESCO World heritage Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam. Thus started a new epoch of success for Museum of Bags and Purses Hendrikje. Its splendid location, high-profile exhibitions, outstanding food and spectacular collection resulted in ever-growing visitor numbers and international recognition for this extraordinary Amsterdam Museum.

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