Our Lord in the Attic: A Case Study

Other rooms in the historic house museum

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

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

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The steps outside (photo: P. Ryan)The entrance to the museum is a seventeenth-century oak doorway at the top of a few stone steps. The marble-floored entrance corridor immediately behind the door is arched and flanked by two semi-pilasters crowned with a capitol based on the classical orders. A second door to the right leads to the antechamber.

Cash registrer in the antechamber (photo: P. Ryan)enlarge

The cash register and museum shop in the reception area.

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Antechamber, as seen from the cash registrer (photo: F. Boersma)The antechamber is the first room the visitor enters after climbing up the stairs at the front of the house and entering the house through the front hallway. The antechamber now houses the museum’s reception. This is the area were visitors enter and exit the museum. The reception extends to the back of the antechamber and houses the cash register, lockers and a small museum shop.

The antechamber, referred to sometimes as the inner room, is one of the oldest parts of the museum, with beams dating from around 1620. This room was used as a shop in the 17th century and was only extended and incorporated as part of the house around 1770, from which time the gray marble chimneypiece survives.  It has a central decorative asymmetrical shell ornament, which is characteristic of the Rococo or Louis XV style. The room was later refurbished in the period 1850-1860. What you see today is a meticulous reconstruction of the decoration of the room in 1888, when the house first became a museum. The reproduced wallpaper was made according to a small sample that survived from that time.

Apart from a new bench for visitors to sit on, the room is empty, allowing some space for visitors to gather before starting or after finishing the museum route.

The 17th century staircase (behind the cash registrar and adjacent to the Heintje Hoekssteeg) is straight rather than spiral and leads to the other residential areas of the house and eventually to the church in the attic. These are the stairs that the visitors take to start their visit of the museum.

Entrance to the chaplain's room (photo: P. Ryan)enlarge

Entrance to chaplain's room on the top of the stairs that also lead to the canal room.

Chaplain's room

Box bed in the chaplain's room (photo: F. Boersma)At the top of the 17th century stairs is the so-called chaplain\x92s room. The same stairs also lead into the canal room.

It is thought that in the late 19th century, this tiny secluded room was used by the chaplain as a bedroom. The room cannot be entered by the public, but viewed through a window from the adjacent hallway. Through this window, it is possible to gain an impression of how the chaplain would have lived at that time. To accentuate the religious character of the room, a small seventeenth-century print of a skull hangs on the left of the bedstead: a memento mori or \x91reminder of death\x92.

Leeuwenberg room, facing the Heintje Hoekssteeg.

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Leeuwenberg room

Leeuwenberg room, facing away from the Heintje Hoekssteeg (photo: P. Ryan)The main room in the second house at the back is the so-called Jaap Leeuwenberg room, named after the former director of the museum and patron of the arts, Jaap Leeuwenberg. Before it was restored in 1954‑1961 this room was actually two rooms. The wooden planks and stone tiles of the floor reveal the former division. The 17th century black-and-white stone floor tiles were discovered under the planks in 1960.

At the back of the room, the location of the box bed can still be seen. At the other side of the room is a balustrade, installed during the restoration in 1954. The worn, narrow spiral stairs lead to the 17th-century kitchen below.

The room is now used for exhibiting paintings. Some of these are clearly inspired by Catholic themes.


Exhibition rooms

Apart from the period rooms, there are several rooms used for special exhibitions, such as two rooms in the house furthest at the back: on the first floor there is an exhibition about the 'Miracle of Amsterdam' and on the second floor there is the prints and drawings room.

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