New House Museum in Amsterdam: Het Grachtenhuis

Posted in on site by Editor on May 19, 2011

The seventeenth century in the Netherlands — the ‘Dutch Golden Age’ — overshadows the history of the United Provinces in the eighteenth century, and it’s easy to forget that the built environment of a city like Amsterdam continued to play a vital role in international politics. The opening this past April of Het Grachtenhuis (The Canal House Museum) offers a useful reminder. As noted at Holland’s official website:

Het Grachtenhuis is a 17th-century mansion located at Herengracht 386 in Amsterdam, designed by Philips Vingboons, the most famous Dutch architect in the Golden Age. The owner of this home was the banker Jan Willink, who gathered the loans that President John Adams used to build New York City and help win the War of Independence against the British. President Adams visited to this canal house in Holland to collect the loans that totaled 29 million Dutch florins (the Dutch currency at the time) from Mr. Willink several times, and used the Dutch funds to establish the foundation for the independence of the United States. John Adams, co-author of the Declaration of Independence and later president of the United States of America, lived in Amsterdam on the nearby Keizersgracht between 1780 and 1782.

The house is now used to introduce visitors to the history of the canals over the past 400 years. Since 1613 marks the year when this extraordinary ring canal expansion began, we’re likely to hear much more in the coming months.

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