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Cat, Mouse and Bears


Cat and Mouse. Photo Jona Lendering. I would never have noticed them if my friend Marlous had not shown them to me: the little cat and mouse on two houses on the Herengracht, number 395 and number 397. You will find them on the stretch between the Huidenstraat and Beulingstraat, or, if you prefer another indication: opposite the Biblical Museum, to the left and right of the small canal that connects the Herengracht to the Singel.

When I made this web page, I did not know who made them. They might have been a set of twentieth-century additions to a couple of old houses, but on the other hand, this is exactly the type of joke that artists of all ages have made. Because I was interested in the story behind these little animals, I invited readers of this page to respond.


Cat and Mouse. Photo Jona Lendering. A bear. Photo Jona Lendering. A bear. Photo Jona Lendering.
Cat and Mouse. Photo Jona Lendering.

In the spring of 2012, six years after I had posted the original page, I received an answer from one of the inhabitants, Mr Christian Braggiotti. He wrote to me that the cat was placed on the house by the late Fred Fraay, who lived at Herengracht 395 for twenty years. In 1986, he moved to the house on the opposite bank of the canal, where he added the mouse.

I would never have noticed them if Mr Braggiotti had not shown them to me: that there is also a bear at the tip of the tower on 395, and another bear on the top ledge of 397. THANKS!

Mice are small, and the cat is not too visible either, so here is a little help. An aerial view is here.

Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 28 June 2012
Livius.Org Germania Inferior Culture of the Netherlands Photos of the Netherlands History of the Netherlands