Even though we’ve been coming to Amsterdam for nearly 10 years with our boys, we still manage to discover new places to delight the minis on each visit.
And so it was that on the short stroll between two of our very favourite places – Café t’Smalle and Winkel 43 in the Jordaan we happened upon a most wonderful little surprise.
When our sons were young, Marc bought them a book called the Muizenhuis. A beautiful Dutch publication packed with pictures of crocheted mice in an extraordinary papier maché house.
Created by Karina Schaapman the original house is kept at OBA the public library and fills both locals and visitors with wonder when they visit.
Last year Karina opened a shop and studio – the Mouse Mansion or Muizenhuis in the Jordaan. Filled with scenes from her subsequent books, the mice frolic from floor to ceiling in fairground attractions, a circus, a theatre and at a shipyard.
Alongside the dioramas, the little store is filled with the Sam and Julia mice books, including versions in multiple languages and options for both older and younger fans. There are little mice to buy, furniture packs for creative little ones (instructions and further inspiration on YouTube) and free leaflets with miniature jugs and accessories to furnish your very own mouse house at home.
The shop is staffed by Karina or her daughter who share their passion generously, welcoming children and taking them to the back of the studio to show them secret scenes and trade secrets or demoing creative techniques around the wooden table.
Our boys, who are at an age when football is often the only thing that makes their eyes light up, were utterly captivated. They couldn’t get enough of the magical wall and windows packed with mousey scenes to explore, clutching the miniature binoculars on offer to discover hidden wonders
Although the shop is small it was easy to while away half an hour or more exploring its nooks and crannies. We’ll definitely be heading back. If your kids are under 10, or if you or they might appreciate the utterly charming, astonishingly creative artistry of this wonderous place then rush to this glorious little corner of Amsterdam and let your imagination run free.
Practical information: The shop is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and open 11.00 to 18.00 the rest of the week.