The Rembrandt House

The Rembrandt House

Biblical subjects account for about one-third of Rembrandt’s entire production. In The house where famous Dutch painter Rembrandt Van Rijn lived and worked from 1639 to 1658 has been transformed into a museum: the Rembrandt museum. The following describes the course of events that led to this transformation.


The building was constructed in 1606 and 1607 on two lots in the eastern part of Amsterdam city. It was an impressive two-storey dwelling located on Joden Breestrat street with a stepped gable. In about 1627-1628, the house was significantly remodelled with a new façade, a triangular corniced pediment(the height of modernity at the time), and another storey was added. Many rich merchants and artists would settle in this new part of town.

1639 – 1658

Rembrandt House

1639 – 1658

In 1639, Rembrandt signed a contract governing the payment for the purchase of the house on Joden Breestrat. The price was thirteen thousand guilders (a small fortune back then) and was to be paid off in instalments as Rembrandt could not come up with the entire sum of money. His financial downfall was due to his inability to pay off his debt (mortgage) to his creditors and hence, was forced into bankruptcy. Rembrandt’s house was auctioned in 1658 and his property, household effects and collection of art were inventoried and also auctioned to the public.

1658 – 1911

Between 1660 and 1662, Rembrandt’s former house was remodeled and split into two. It was still a place of residence up until the end of the nineteenth century, at which time it had deteriorated and become uninhabitable. It was thanks to its former occupant that the house was not demolished. In 1906, the city of Amsterdam bought the building and shortly afterwards handed it over to the Rembrandt foundation which wasset up in 1907. The trustees restored the house to its original condition in 1911 and it became known as the Rembrandt museum.

1911 – to the Present

In the 1990’s, the trustees of the Rembrandt foundation succeeded in acquiring the adjacent premises, enabling them to build an extension to the Rembrandt museum. This new wing holds Rembrandt’s art collection which is viewed by many visitors each day. It is now possible to restore Rembrandt’s house to its original setting due largely to the inventory compiled in the 1656 bankruptcy.

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