Schilderij met zicht op stad en planten
Go to content

Our collection

The 17th century viewed from different angles

At the moment, our museum is undergoing renovation and is closed. Our collection has been housed in an external depot that meets strict climate and safety requirements, and can be admired again when the renewed museum opens. For our Collections department this means that they are unable to handle research inquiries, documentation inquiries, appraisals, loan requests, and internship applications until mid-2024.

Our current collection comprises some 38,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, jewellery and utensils. Together they tell the story of the most dynamic period in the history of Hoorn and of the Netherlands: the one between 1500 and 1800, with in between the era we called the Golden Age, until recently.

As a society, we are increasingly realising that this gold did not only have a shiny side. Therefore, in the new layout of our museum, we want to tell the story of this period from different angles.

To this end, we will also ask contemporary artists to depict their view of the 17th century. This will create a conversation between the objects of the past and the present. Sometimes this will feel like a warm bath and sometimes like sandpaper.


Temporarily stored, soon to be seen again

All the objects in our renovated museum will soon tell their own story – whether it is a historical work or something newly made. In our treasure chamber of 17th-century objects, we have a number of masterpieces that are being safely stored during the renovation, but you will be able to admire them again after the reopening.

Beker van Bossu

Bossu’s goblet

This beautifully gilded, silver cup belonged to the Count de Bossu. As admiral, he was commander of the Spanish fleet that battled the Sea Beggars and the West Frisians in the Hoorn Hop on October 11th 1573. This naval battle is known as the Battle of the Zuiderzee. The Spaniards lost and they surrendered a day later. This cup was captured as a war trophy in the process. The rim reads ‘Rien ou Comtes’, which is French for ‘Nothing or Count’. It ended up being nothing. De Bossu was captured and was not released until three years later. He died in Antwerp on December 21st, 1578, and at the time he was only 36 years old.

Dubbelportret Sonck vrouw

Double portrait of the Sonck couple

These two paintings (oil on panel) are believed to have been made by portrait painter Jan Claesz from Enkhuizen. He lived from 1570 to around 1618 and was known for his many family and children’s portraits. Broadly speaking, these all have the same design. This double portrait was painted in 1602.

Rariteitenkabinet voorkant

Cabinet of curiosities

A cabinet of curiosities – also called an art cabinet – was very popular in the 17th century with kings and rich merchants, but also with scientists trying to understand the new world. In this cabinet, they stored exotic art treasures and special items that came with them from journeys to the East. These included shells, stuffed animals, Roman coins, precious stones and, for example, an ostrich egg. These were put in different drawers, behind different doors and sometimes in secret compartments. Usually, this cabinet was put in a special ‘Art and cabinet of Curiosities’ as a showpiece.

Portret van twee schutters

Portrait of two civic guards

This portrait (oil on linen) shows two men at a table, in distinguished black clothes. One has an axe in his hand, the other a parchment cover with papers in it. In front of him are items for writing and he his arm is leaning on a document box. The note protruding from one of the books says that the man is 35. The age of the man with the axe is also known. The piece of paper left on the table reads: ‘In deser gestalt I am 44 years alt’. On the wall between the two men is the number 1589, which is the year the painting was made.

Portret van bewindhebbers

Portrait of the directors

The proud men behind the table in the painting above the fireplace were the directors of the VOC Chamber in Hoorn. These were men who held power and they wanted to show that too! Their status was abundantly clear: expensive clothes, wigs, maps, navigation instruments and maps of forts. This was their way of showing that they had the world at their feet. In the middle of the table is the most important thing of all: the ‘Banckboek’ in which the profits were recorded. The portrait was painted by Johan de Baen in 1682.


Justice panel

This triptych comes from the old Hoorn town hall. When that building was demolished and the town council moved to the Statenpoort on Nieuwstraat (1796), the triptych moved with it. The painting always hung behind the judge and on it you could see the principles of justice. When our museum was founded in 1876, the triptych was given a place here.

Beker van Bossu
Dubbelportret Sonck vrouw
Rariteitenkabinet voorkant
Portret van twee schutters
Portret van bewindhebbers


Our most recent acquisitions

We regularly get the opportunity to acquire works offered at international auctions. This is made possible by contributions from, among others, the Friends of the Westfries Museum Foundation, the Kerkmeijer De Regt Foundation and the Le Cocq D’Armandville Plancken Fund. View our most recent acquisition below.

Afbeelding C. van Wittel, Gezicht op Hoorn
June 2022: ‘View of Hoorn’ by Caspar van Wittel

Stolen paintings

The story of the stolen paintings

Our museum was hit by a high-profile art theft in 2005. Of the 24 stolen masterpieces, In 2016, five were eventually recovered badly damaged in Ukraine. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, they were restored beautifully and shone in our exhibition Looted Art’. Several times the story of the art robbery got national media coverage.

Image bank

Find your favourite work in our collection
We have digital images in our image bank of a large part of our collection (more than 5,000 objects). Search and view your favourite work again at your leisure.


Go to our image bank
Schilderij met zicht op stad en planten

Collection Department

Our museum is currently undergoing major renovation. As a result, the availability and accessibility of our Collection Department is not as you are used to from us. The department is unable to handle research inquiries, documentation inquiries, appraisals, loan requests, and internship applications until mid-2024. We apologise for this and hope for your understanding.

Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

No, unfortunately this is not possible at the moment. Nor can we take questions about objects in our collection or about antique objects you have yourself.
No. It is best to go to a sworn valuer or an antique dealer. Certified valuers can be found in the register of the Federation of Valuers, Brokers and Auctioneers in movable property. Go to the Register: https://www.federatie-tmv.nl/vind-een-waarde-expert/.
Until 31 December 2024, we cannot process loan requests.
Our collection focuses mainly on the period 1450-1800 (the ‘New Period’) and the period 1800-1900, insofar as it looks back to the New Period. In most cases, our objects have a clear relationship with West Friesland. If you have one or more objects that meet these criteria, we would like to receive a description and some good photographs. We would also like to know whether you want to donate, sell or give a long-term loan of this or these objects. If you want to sell, we would appreciate an indicative price. In case of a long-term loan, we would like to hear the insured value of the object. Please email us at collectie@wfm.nl. We do ask you for some patience with regard to the handling of your offer. Due to the renovation, offers will not be processed until mid-2024.
No, unfortunately this is not possible during the renovation.

Contact with the Collection Department

The Westfries Museum will be extensively renovated. The entire collection will be moved for this purpose. For the employees of the Collection department, this means, among other things, that they are temporarily unable to provide museum support and public service as they are used to. They apologize for this inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding.

Contact Form

Privacy statement(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Schilderij met zicht op stad en planten