Princessehof Ceramics Museum

Princessehof Ceramics Museum
Keramiekmuseum Princessehof

The Keramik-Museum Berlin in 2011

Princessehof Ceramics Museum
Established 1917 (1917)
Coordinates 53°12′10.76″N 5°47′31.72″E / 53.2029889°N 5.7921444°E / 53.2029889; 5.7921444
Type Art museum
Collections Ceramic art
President Saskia Bak
Curator Frank van der Velden, Eva Ströber, Karin Gaillard

Princessehof Ceramics Museum (in Dutch: Keramiekmuseum Princessehof) is a city museum of ceramics in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. The museum's name comes from one of two buildings in which it is housed: a small palace built in 1693 and later occupied by Marie Louise, dowager Princess of Orange. The other annexed building is the Papinga stins, a former stronghold from the 15th century. The museum is of interest for its buildings, but also for its collection of tiles, pottery, and ceramic sculpture.[1]

History of the building

In 1731, the building was purchased by Marie Louise (known in Leeuwarden as Marijke Meu, 'Aunt Mary'), who had been a widow since 1711 and acted as regent for her son William IV up to that year, when he came of age. She moved in and began a collection of ceramics, and her collection forms part of the museum's collection, most notably in the Nassaukamer, a period dining room in Baroque style. After she died, the building was split into three houses, and one of these later came into the hands of the Leeuwarden notary and art collectors Nanne Ottema (1874–1955) and his wife Grietje Kingma, who founded the museum during their lifetime in 1917.

The Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints, was born in the middle house in 1898.[2]


Porcelain painting on a mantelpiece in the museum collection.

The Ottema-Kingma Stichting keeps the tradition of the founders alive with an online database for the collection and associated library.[3] This Stichting is also the formal owner of the Asian ceramics collection with items ranging from 2800 BC up to the 20th century.[4] Besides the Asian collection, there is also a wide range of European and some Islamic ceramics.


The museum has a café and often hosts visiting art exhibitions. The museum also permanently exhibits the former studio of the Dutch ceramist Jan van der Vaart.[5]

Selection of work from the pertinent collection:[6]

Dutch Rijksmonument 24177


  1. George McDonald (2011). Frommer's Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. p. 398.
  2. Maurits Cornelis Escher, Flip Bool, J. L. Locher (1982). M.C. Escher, his life and complete graphic work. p. 10
  3. Nina Simon (2010). The Participatory Museum. p. 107
  4. Asian ceramics, Rijksmuseum.
  5. Museum Princessehof | Studio Jan van der Vaart Interactive spatial concept at Accessed 15.06.2015.
  6. For more images, see Category:Collection of Keramiekmuseum Princessehof
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