The Netherlands Theater Institute occupies a group of adjoining 17th-century canal houses, two of which house this imaginative museum. No. 168, known as Het Witte Huis (the White House) for its whitish-gray, neoclassical sandstone facade, was built in 1617 by Hendrick and Pieter Vingboons; it sports the city's first neck gable. Dazzling interior ornamentation from around 1730 includes a spiral staircase, intricate stuccowork, and painted ceilings by Jacob de Wit. The lavish Bartolotti House at no. 170-172, built by Hendrick de Keyser from 1617-18, is famous for its ornate redbrick gable and Dutch Renaissance facade. Its illuminated ceilings and other interior decoration are also by Jacob de Wit. The museum houses costumes, maquettes, masks, puppets, photographs, paintings, miniature theaters, and theatrical backdrops covering all forms of theater, including opera and children's theater. Hands-on exhibits let you create your own stage and sound effects. Book ahead for Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday children's workshops (ages 7-12).
- © Frommer's 2013