Van Bossestraat 4
2613 CR DELFT
Tel. +31 (0) 152122411
Hidden away in a small back street away from the city centre is one of Delft’s hidden gems. To glorify the use and promotion of tobacco in this day and age may seem very unPC but tobacco is like beer – there was a time when everybody used it and it therefore presents a very edifying reflection of society.
The tiny Tabakshistorisch Museum is privately run and owned by Louis Bracco Gartner and his wife in what was formerly the family tobacconist shop. Now in its fifteenth year, the small room is jam-packed with pipes, tobacco tins, ashtrays, point-of-sale material of all sorts, snuff boxes and much more besides, dating back to the seventeenth century. There are fascinating unique items like a small dog pieced together from cut-up Players cigarette packets made by British soldiers in hiding during the war. There are exquisite, intricately carved ivory and meerschaum pipes and hundreds of throw-away clay pipes. If you were rich or important enough you could even have your clay pipes personalised with your portrait sculpted onto the bowl. One of the proprietors is always on hand to explain things or to reveal exhibits which are normally in drawers, out of sight.
The only problem is that the museum is not normally open but Mr Bracco Gartner or his wife will always be happy to open up for you if you contact them in advance and both speak English. Whether you are, or were, a smoker or not, this is a fascinating and beautiful collection of items from around the world and is as much a reflection of the human condition as any museum you will see anywhere. Highly recommended and well worth a phone call or email and a short detour from the normal well-trodden tourist route. Entrance is free – but contributions to the museum’s upkeep are always welcome.