I love bags. No one appreciates that more than my girlfriends, who know that, when confronted with the perfect handbag, I get downright giddy. So the Tassenmuseum Hendrijke (bag and purse museum) in Amsterdam seemed the perfect venue to celebrate both my birthday and my love of handbags.

The museum, located on Amsterdam’s tony Herengracht, displays the history of handbags from the 16th century to the present. The core of the museum’s 4,000+ piece collection is bags and accessories antique collector Hendrijke Ivo has accumulated over 30 years (see Mr. Man, there’s no limit to how many bags a girl can have).

My friends and I were ushered into one of the museum’s opulent period rooms, where we enjoyed the “Grace Kelly” lunch amidst the elaborately painted ceiling, marble mantel and carved wooden and gilded ornaments. Next, the very informative and witty Bianca led us on a private tour of the museum, where we saw the Versace handbag carried by Madonna at the premiere of the movie Evita;
the Fendi “Baguette” shoulder bag which is single-handedly responsible for ushering in the “it” bag craze;
and the bag that started it all: a leather handbag with a tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl cover-sheet. Ivo Hendrijke found the bag at an antique’s fair and became obsessed with finding out its origins. Soon she began adding more bags to her collection, and here we are, 4,000 bags later.
Since no birthday celebration is complete without cake, we returned to the period room where we indulged in a decadent chocolate cake with berries and whipped cream and sipped rosé champagne. Bags, chocolate and rosé champagne.

What more could a girl ask for?

Read more about the Tassenmuseum on my Netherlands Travel & Lifestyle blog.