The Van Loons: a noble merchant familyThe museum is named after the Van Loon family, the last residents of the house and founders of the museum. The family originates from the town of Loon op Zand, near the city of ís Hertogenbosch in the south of the Netherlands. In the 17th century, they moved to Amsterdam, and from then on were involved in commerce and city governance, like other leading families in the Golden Age. In 1602 Willem van Loon was a founding member of the V.O.C., the Dutch East India Company, and his grandson was the first Van Loon to become mayor of Amsterdam. The Van Loons were raised to the peerage in the 19th century.
The canal house came into possession of the family in 1884, when the Honourable Hendrik van Loon purchased it for his son Willem as a wedding present. The familyís rich history can be gleaned from the large collection of portraits in the museum, the oldest dating back to the 16th century.