Updated: Jun 19
In the heart of Amsterdam, among the canal houses hides a little gem that managed to compress every crazy cat lady's fantasy into a tiny deviation zone. The KattenKabinet is not your typical Dutch museum with the quiet admiration for the most well known artists and the fancy lattes at the entrance. Instead, it's a chaotic little fool's paradise, with weird kitty-art from all around the globe and a cat sitting on top of the reception. It's all about cats, stuffed with cat posters, cat porcelain figures, cat mannequins and Russian cat animations.
Everything is cluttered up in four cramped rooms and smells a lot like cats. The atmosphere most resembles a fever dream of Edgar Allan Poe with the dim spaces, the painted ceilings, the broken picture frames, the empty Dubonnet bottles and the 19th century Cuban mahogany interior. They charm you with the promise of a garden filled with more posters that turns out to be a hidden oasis not accessible to the hoi polloi. The creators of Ocean's Twelve captured part of the magic when they shot some scenes of the movie there.
The owner, just like his late cat in whose memory he opened the
museum, is “one of a kind”. He gave his pet, J.P.Morgan a special
present every five years. One of them was the banker-named kitty’s
dollar bill. Another was a book of limericks titled "A Cocky Cat from
Toulouse and Other Cat Nonsense”.
The selection is full of bizarre artwork, such as the picture of a black cat preaching next to some skeins in a circle of men. This turns out to be commercial artwork for the Lana Gatto yarn brand. The Lucky Cat pinball machine doesn’t let you lose. Your prize is good fortune every time you play it. You can even see the soft side of Lenin cuddling his furry little buddy. Still, somehow Rembrandt, Sal Meijer, Toulouse-Lautrec, and even Géza Faragó managed to slide their way into the collection.
The KattenKabinet is a bitter sweet mix of madness where portraits of lovely – or mean, sometimes downright evil – felines of all sorts are hoarded. Petting the resident kitties is a nice bonus.