Our Lord in the Attic: A Case Study


Cross section of the buildings (museum Our Lord in the Attic)enlarge

Cross section of the main house and the house at the back.

donwload Floor plans( PDF, 2.1MB)

selection for assessment 'Description of area' database (PDF, 664KB)

selection for assessment Database area reference key (XLS, 571KB)

19th Century kitchen (photo: B. Ankersmit)The building has 2 kitchens, the 17th century kitchen in the house at the back and the 19th century kitchen on the ground floor of the main house (as seen on the left). Both kitchens give the visitors the experience of what it would have been like living in these houses throughout the centuries. The tiles in both kitchens are a traditional feature often identified with Dutch culture.


17th Century kitchen

17th Century kitchen (photo: P. Ryan)The 17th century kitchen can be reached by descending from the Leeuwenberg room on steep 17th century stairs. This second house at the back of the main building continued to be lived in until 1952. The kitchen space was reconstructed in style using 17th century materials during restoration in 1954. An unusual aspect of the kitchen is the surviving division into three parts. The front section was a workplace or shop, that could open to the Heintje Hoekssteeg, a narrow alley, which would have had various businesses. To get as much daylight as possible, the windows were built high and continue up to the first floor (which is the Leeuwenberg room). The side windows in the inner room also let in light. The inner section is the actual kitchen which is decorated in seventeenth-century style with tiles and a stone-slab floor. Cooking was done over an open peat fire using an iron grate. Stews or soup would be cooked in a large pot suspended by a chain. This fireplace in the inner room was the center of the house.The back of the kitchen contains a separate space for washing. The basin found here was probably also the only source of water in the house, with a pump drawing water from a well. Water for drinking was bought elsewhere. In the corner is a privy, an old toilet which was flushed with a bucket of water.

For the residents there were only a few square meters in which to live and work. But the space was used efficiently by allowing the door to disappear into a niche when fully opened. The low wall separating the front from the inner room is not original. This would once have been a wooden partition, dividing two bedsteads. The width of the bedsteads can be seen from the niches in the wall.

19th Century kitchen (photo: B. Ankersmit)enlarge

17th Century kitchen.

19th Century kitchen

The kitchen in the main house is not as old as it appears. It was built in 1888 for the then museum concierge. The inner courtyard (to the left upon entering) was joined to the original room to create more space and draw daylight from the skylights. The kitchen looks old because historical materials were used to build it: an early 18th century basin and 17th century tiles. These were obtained from a neighboring building that was demolished in this period.

Dutch tiles (photo: M. Versluijs)Various parts of the house were tiled in the seventeenth century. In the kitchen, besides the white-glazed tiles, many also depicted various blue motifs. These included children playing, animals and putti (angels). All kinds of games are depicted: tops, marbles, kites, swings, hoops, skittles, sleighs, bows and arrows and kolf (a game played with a stick and ball). These tiles were a very popular feature in Dutch interiors.


© J. Paul Getty Trust / Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage / Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder