Welcome to the Collection Catalogue
of Geelvinck Music Museums
This is where you can discover instruments within our Geelvinck, Kolthoorn and Sweelinck collections
The stringed keyboard instrument collection managed by Museum Geelvinck gives a thorough overview of the development of the pianoforte in Europe during the second half of the 18th century and thereafter. There is no comparable Dutch collection of early pianos. The only other Dutch collection, which encompasses some important fortepianos from the same period, is the extensive musical instrument collection which is managed by the Rijksmuseum (formerly, the collection of the Gemeentemuseum The Hague).
A unique feature of Museum Geelvinck’s collection is its sub-collection of over thirty early period pianos which were built in the Netherlands and/or by Dutch pianomakers. Together these give an impression of the development of the early piano-industry in the Netherlands. It is the only collection of its kind worldwide. In 2007 this important sub-collection was designated for listing as National Treasure under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (Wet behoud cultureel erfgoed / Wbc, today part of the Erfgoedwet), however the procedure became dormant due to budget cuts following the financial crisis in 2008 and only in 2020 was the procedure was put forward again.
Since 2004 the museum, then located in an Amsterdam canal mansion from the 17th century, the Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, received several early pianos on loan from the Sweelinck Museum. This musical instrument museum, which in its heydays showed over 120 early period pianos, was situated in the attic of the Sweelinck Conservatory since 1991. However, in 2017 the Sweelinck Museum was closed as the Conservatory of Amsterdam moved to a new building. As a result, the full Sweelinck Collection has been brought under the wings of Museum Geelvinck. To house part of this collection, in 2012 Museum Geelvinck opened another venue, located in the catacombs of the Posthoornkerk in Amsterdam. This venue is mainly being used for educational purposes in collaboration with the conservatory, as well as for a storage depot and for occasional gatherings, performances and concert recordings. In May 2020 the Posthoornkerk venue was scheduled to open for the public as the Geelvinck Early Piano Museum Amsterdam, which had to be postponed until Summer 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The last few years have been especially challenging for Museum Geelvinck, because after moving part of its collection to a new venue in Zutphen in 2016, in late 2019 it was forced to close down its new museum facilities due to municipal budget cuts. Since 2020, Museum Geelvinck is involved in the development of an artist’s house museum near the village of Heerde. There and on several other museum and historical house locations throughout the country, the museum placed working period pianos on loan and manages concert series. In addition, it is in the process of developing its online presence.
Regretfully, due to a structural lack of funding, the far majority of the stringed keyboard instruments under Museum Geelvinck’s stewardship is in storage. Most of these instruments need small to major conservation and/or restoration work. Part of the collection concerns reference objects. However, to keep the immaterial – technical and musical – heritage connected to these instruments alive, it is essential that at least a greater part of the other instruments will be restored to a playable condition for educational purposes or for high-quality public performances. To accomplish such, a museum grading process has been started for making choices to distinguish between the core museum collection on the one hand, and instruments for educational uses and loaning to other institutions on the other. Nevertheless, we will endeavor to allow for as much digital access to the museum collection as possible through this site. If you wish to see an instrument in our storage in person, please contact the museum to arrange an appointment. Museums, historic houses open to the public, educational and heritage institutions, as well as chamber music ensembles and individual, professional fortepianists, interested in receiving an instrument on loan (not being for one-time performances) are invited to contact Museum Geelvinck.