At the Bible Museum (Bijbels Museum) in Amsterdam, visitors can explore biblical history and geography through a variety of artifacts, images, and installations. The museum is also worth visiting for the rare opportunity to tour a 17th-century canal house.
What to See at Bible Museum
The Bible Museum is housed in twin patrician canal homes (dating from 1662), designed by noted architect Philips Vingboons for the timber merchant Jacob Cromhout.
Most of the museum's Baroque decor dates from later periods, including elegant stucco decoration, a grand elliptical staircase, and magnificent painted ceilings. Covering two ground-floor rooms, these were painted from 1718 and 1750 by Jacob de Wit and depict the four seasons, scenes from ancient mythology, Greco-Roman gods and goddesses, and the signs of the zodiac.
Upper-floor windows provide fine views of the courtyard garden with pond and sculptures, which is open for strolling through.
The museum itself centers around high-quality models of historical and religious scenes. These include a model of the Tabernacle (a tent in the desert containing the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments) made in 1849-65 of wood, fabric and gold leaf.
There are also models of: the Temple of Solomon (from 1725); the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (1879); Jerusalem as it looked in the 1st century AD (1880); and the Temple of Herod (1889).
The museum also displays paintings of biblical scenes and important artifacts from the Holy Land, including clay tablets and fragments of papyrus, that tell the story of how the Bible came into existence and the influence it has had on Dutch society through the ages.
Several historical Bibles are on display, including the first Bible printed in the Low Countries (1477) and the first authorized Dutch translation (1637).
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Map of Bible Museum, Netherlands
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