The KattenKabinet, a delightful museum dedicated to all things feline in the heart of Amsterdam, appears to have found the purr-fect security guard for its space (I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist the pun).
Shirley the cat keeps a check on every visitor yet blends into the background with such ease one would be forgiven for not noticing that she was there at all.
A short walk west of Rembrandtplein, the KattenKabinet is one of the more unusual museums to be found in the Netherlands’ capital. Yet, the “Cat Cabinet” feels more like a worship-place to cat memorabilia than a museum or gallery. Lovely though it is, I got the distinct impression from the complete lack of information about anything on display that every artefact at the KattenKabinet was there simply because it was a lovely and often comical representation of a cat.
The KattenKabinet began from an original collection inspired by a rather special feline – John Pierpont Morgan. Named after the American financier, J.P. Morgan was the feline companion of wealthy and eccentric Dutch businessman Bob Meijer. Meijer adored his cat so much he commissioned J.P-themed artefacts throughout the cat’s life. These items included a portrait of Morgan in evening attire, a bronze statue of the cat, a book of cat-limericks dedicated to J.P. and a special dollar bill designed by Dutch cartoonist Aart Clerxkz.
When J.P. died in 1983, Meijer used his eccentricity (and wealth) to overcome his grief. He turned the ground and first floors of his seventeenth century Dutch canal house into the KattenKabinet and dedicated it to his beloved ginger tom.
The KattenKabinet is an unashamedly self-indulgent celebration of all things ‘cat’ and is not intended to be taken seriously. Even for non-cat lovers the stunning baroque interior of Meijer’s home is worth the entrance-fee alone. One word of advice though if visiting the space: watch out for the litter tray.
More information on the KattenKabinet including opening times and location, can be found at the official website here.
TLT (purrrrr) x
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