Tea at the purse museum

Purse museums aren't necessarily on my bucket list, but we heard that the Tassen Museum Hendrikje had a lovely afternoon tea service. Three of us made reservations a few days ahead and met there after separate morning activities.

Museum of Bags and Purses

I found it easily and the clerk escorted us upstairs to the cafe area.


Tea was delicious. It would recommend it if only the server hadn't disappeared for such long periods of time (we had to go in search of her to point out that our table had been awaiting its second course for long after the tiered tray in front of us was empty) and their assumption that the vegetarian among us would eat tuna.

Tea for three

Afterward we looked at the exhibits and learned about the history of ways that women learned to carry objects with them, from chatelaines, to pockets, to handbags. Included were some informative videos that demonstrated such things as how 17th and 18th century women wore thigh pockets--bags hidden underneath voluminous layers of skirt.


There was a temporary exhibit, The Stories We Carry, addressing the influx of asylum-seekers in the Netherlands. The idea is to tell the story of the refugees through the bags and items they carried. It also talks about a designer on the island of Lesbos, Greece, who teaches refugees to create bags from boats and life jackets that wash ashore there, giving them a useful object and an increased sense of self-worth.

Bags created from refugee lifeboats and life jackets

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