Two historic locations
Edam Museum is one of the oldest museums in North Holland. It tells the story of the rich history of Edam at two historic locations in the city centre: shipbuilding, ceramics industry, architecture, notable families and everyday life. The collection is very diverse and consists of classical and modern paintings, ceramics, archaeological finds, furniture, and all kinds of other curiosities. In short, everything related to the history of Edam.
Edam Museum is located in two buildings:
The ‘Stone Merchant’s house’
The beautiful late Gothic merchant’s house is the oldest brick-built house in Edam and was built between 1540 -1550. In 1893, Edam city council decided to buy the building. Following an extensive restoration overseen by Pierre Cuypers and Victor de Stuers, it was opened in 1895 as a museum that still exists today.
Edam Town Hall
The Museum’s second location is on the first floor of Edam’s old town hall, dating from 1737. This space, including the historic Mayor’s Chamber, is the setting for regular short term exhibitions.
About the Merchant’s house
The building was renovated in the seventeenth century furnished with a luxurious new interior. Since when this interior has hardly changed. When you set foot over the threshold, you step back into the “golden age”.
Edam city council purchased the then very neglected building in 1893. The well-known Pierre Cuypers, architect of Amsterdam Central Station and of the Rijksmuseum, was appointed to lead the restoration. The restoration was completed in 1895, and the building became the first museum in Edam. Bot the city council W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, one of Edam’s most famous artists played an active role in establishing the museum.
A second restoration took place in the 1950s. Carried out this time by the chief architect for the conservation of monuments, Kees Roogaards. The ‘medieval’-looking decorations, including pinnacles on the stepped gable, implemented by Cuypers, were removed and the building was restored to its ’original’ appearance. By the beginning of the 21st century the building was once again in need of restoration, having subsided considerably, and essential underpinning of the foundations was carried out.
You enter the museum directly into the front room, a majestic space with high ceilings and heavy wooden beams with gothic corbels decorated with rosettes. This room was originally the merchant’s shop. From the upstairs room, in office, the merchant had a good view of activities in the shop. There are bedsteads in the both the front and back of the upstairs room.
A narrow corridor leads to the rear of the house and a chic garden room. This is a seventeenth century addition. Originally the corridor ran all the way to a door in the rear wall and access to the garden room was though a side door. This space was altered in one of the later restorations and the wall removed. The room is now single open area and the rear door has been moved to the other side.
In the middle of the house, under the bedrooms and office, is the kitchen. A few steps lead down to this tiled room, equipped with a sink with pump and a large fire pit for cooking.
The floating cellar is a famous feature of Edam Museum. It is a loose container which floats on the groundwater. Due to ebb and flow of the sea (Edam museum is located on Dam Square, where there used to be a (sea) lock) the Zuiderzee influenced the level of the groundwater level. Because the basement moved with the water, it never flooded. Floating cellars are not unique. Many were to be found in Edam and especially in Amsterdam. However, the floating cellar in Edam Museum is the only one in the Netherlands which is publicly accessible and therefore unique!
There is an amusing legend about this cellar. It is said that one of the owners of the property was captain who had the cellar built because he missed the sea so much. The floating cellar enabled him to feel the movement of the water and the noise of the sea whenever he was in the basement.
The first and second floors served as storage for merchandise. During the restoration between 1893 – 1895, a house was created in the attic for the director of the then Stads Teekenschool [Technical drawing school], which was located near the Grote Kerk. The fixed display cabinets in the attic were made by W.O.J. Nieuwenkamp, an Edam-based artist and one of the founders of the museum.
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