I burned through the Miniaturist. This charming book about the Dutch Golden Age will transport you to Amsterdam. When I heard that the book was being transformed into a miniseries, I was quite excited. This guide to locations inspired by and shown in the miniseries will allow you to step into Petronella Oortman’s world. Keep reading for the Miniaturist filming locations in the Netherlands!
Although the Miniaturist was set in Amsterdam, Amsterdam is a difficult setting to shoot films in as many of the historic buildings have been modernized. As a result, many productions choose to shoot in other Dutch cities. This is the reason that the Miniaturist was shot in Leiden. Leiden is a stunning university town just thirty minutes from Amsterdam that has perfectly preserved architecture, picturesque canals, and fewer tourists.
Miniaturist filming locations
Leiden is a short hop from my home in the Hague, so I headed to Leiden armed with screenshots from the miniseries to locate where Nella’s house was supposed to be located. Leiden has one of the best preserved seventeenth century city centers in the Netherlands and it’s not surprising that the filmmakers chose to film in Leiden.
Rapenburg is one of the most beautiful canals in Leiden with elaborate homes and wide canals. After a long walk along Rapenburg, I finally ended up finding the address that served as the view out the front door of Nella’s house: 48 Rapenburg.
I shot these photos in early fall, however it’s clear that the filming took place in winter. It’s clear from comparing the screenshot to the real thing that there was some editing to remove the bike racks, lamp post, and to simplify the facade of the brown and white building in the distance. (The brown and white building is student housing!)
One of the main filming locations in the Netherlands was the Pieterskerk. This stunning late-Gothic church was where Nella attended services in the miniseries. The church was converted into a Protestant church in 1572.
It costs three euros to enter the Pieterskerk, now an events space, and you might have more luck than me in terms of seeing the church without furniture. While inside the church, you can view the grave of Willebrord Snellius, who is credited for discovering pi.
Other filming locations for the Miniaturist
Unfortunately, many of the filming locations were shot in the UK. Much of the interior was shot inside of the Langleybury Mansion in London. Similarly, the trial was shot at Fulham Palace and the execution was shot in Gosport.
Locations inspired by the Miniaturist
The dollhouse that inspired the Miniaturist
Not everyone realizes that Petronella Oortman was a real person who lived in Amsterdam. You can visit the dollhouse that inspired it all at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This intricate dollhouse belonged to the real Petronella Oortman, who was married to a Johannes Brandt. The dollhouse was made in Amsterdam out of tortoiseshell with items perfectly sized for the dollhouse.
The street that the real Petronella Oortman lived on
If you wish to see where she lived, you can stroll along Warmooestraat, which sits in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District today. Today, the block is full of sex shops as well as coffee shops, but it’s still worth walking down her street to try to imagine her life.
A glimpse into Amsterdam’s merchant class at the time
For a glimpse into Amsterdam during this period, I recommend strolling down Herengracht, one of the most beautiful canals in Amsterdam with numerous stately homes from this period. Some of the homes have been converted into museums that have been perfectly preserved including the furniture. I recommend heading to the Museum Willet-Holthuysen.
This house was built in 1685 for one of Amsterdam’s mayors. The interior was redesigned a little later, but the many descriptions of the rooms and the lives of both the servants as well as the owners might be fascinating for those interested in learning more about this period in history.