English version: Paintings collection

E dam museum’s collections of paintings

The Three Miracles of Edam
The ‘Three Miracles’ of each, the Dikke Kastelein [fat innkeeper], Langebaard [long beard] and the Lange Meid [tall girl]
The paintings of the Dikke Kastelein and Langebaard, are two of the most important paintings in the collection. They were originally hung with the painting of the ‘Tall Girl’ in Edam’s Princenhof. Our copies of paintings of the Fat Innkeeper and Longbeard were made in 1635.

The Tall Girl

De ‘Lange Meid’ is possibly the tallest female in history. She was 2.54m (8ft 4 in) when she died, aged 17 in 1633. The portrait in the museum is life size and is displayed in the Town Hall part of the museum along with her original shoes. They are 36cm (14 in) long and equivalent to European size 54.

De Dikke Kastelein: Jan Claeszoon Claes

“I’ll do the course here. I was about 42 years old. I then weighed about 455 ponds” [A pond is ½ kilo]

The Fat Inkeeper was actually called Jan Claeszoon Claes. He was the landlord of the Edam Inn in The Hague. Jan liked a good glass of wine and the painting shows him holding a roemer style glass of wine. The Dutch phrase “Each pond [0.5kg] goes through the mouth” applied here and Jan eventually weighed 455 ponds [227.5 kilos]. He didn’t live to a great age. He died in 1612, 42 years young ….

Longbeard: Pieter Dirkszoon


Longbeard, Pieter Dirkszoon, was born in 1528. He was buried on 4th February 1606 in the Great Church in Edam in Grave number 52 (chancel).

He earned his living as a ship’s carpenter. His beard was 2.5 meters long and he wore it in two braids. Having such a long beard was of course impractical and normally he wore it in a net. It has been said that Longbeard regularly combed his beard on the bridge just outside the Port of Hoorn and his beard touched the water.

He was not unique, as seen in the lithograph below, from 1807, after a drawing by Antoine Francois Lomet. It shows the Judicial Councillor Jean (Hans) Staininger from Braunau am Inn (Austria). It is said that, in 1567, Staininger stumbled over his beard while trying to flee someone and broke his neck.

Given that both bearded men lived in the same century, such beards could be regarded (cautiously) as a fashion of the time.

Print of the art dealer Frans Laurentius Middelburg

The Fat Inkeeper and Longbeard were an attraction. They occasionally travelled the country presenting themselves to the public. Longbeard did not keep the money he had earned, but donated it to the Calvinist orphanage in Edam. In 1583, Longbeard raised 200 guilders from displaying his beard. He donated the money to the orphanage and doubled the amount using his own savings. The original portrait of Longbeard, of which this is a copy, was painted that year. It was possibly ordered by the Calvinist congregation to honour the generous donor.

A year later, Longbeard was appointed as ‘Master of the orphans’, the best reward that he could wish for. He held the office several times, lastly in 1603. In 1606 Longbeard died and was interred in Edam’s Great Church. At his death he could look back on a devout existence and die with the hope that his beard would give him a place in heaven.


The portraits of the knights
As with the Three Miracles, both portraits of the knights previously hung in the Princenhof in Edam. We are certain that the portrait of Frederik Hendrik was painted by Herman Meindertsz Doncker in 1636. Given the portrayal, the brushwork and the decorative function of the painting, the portrait of Prince Maurits, a son by William of Orange, also probably also by Doncker. However, it has no signature. But there is more to this painting …. Read more.

Portrait of Prins Maurits during the Battle of Turnhout in 1597
Portrait of Frederik Hendrik during the Siege of Den Bosch in 1629

Frederik Hendrik (here painted by Herman Meindertsz Doncker) employed, as secretary, from 1625, Constantijn Huygens , who became known as one of the greatest poets of the Golden Age. Read more. (Click for the original document plus English translation).


Other important paintings
Edam Museum has more than 89 paintings in its collection, including a number of exceptional, rare works. The masterpieces are the 3 life-size paintings mentioned above. Another special work is the painting by Jan Molenaar (1682) in which the Edam shipbuilder Jacob Mathijsz Oosterlingh is proudly portrayed alongside 92 ships, built by him and his family.

This painting was loaned to the Amsterdam Museum between 13 December 2012 and August 2013 as part of an exhibition of The Golden Age. It is now back in Edam and can be admired in the Maritime section of the Museum.

A selection from the paintings collection can be seen full screen via the Photo Galleries in the bottom section of this page.

Here is an excerpt, in Dutch, from the movie Chronicles of Edam (see also the DVD, available in English in the Shop).

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