Abraham Willet was the son of a famous Amsterdam doctor. At a young age Abraham developed great interest in art and antiques. He was already active as a collector even before his marriage to the wealthy Louisa Holthuysen in 1861. He mainly bought paintings of contemporary artists but sold this collection before he moved to the canal house at Herengracht 605.
It was at the Herengracht where Abraham Willet became a passionate collector again with a broad interest in almost every field of arts and crafts. His collection included ceramics, glassware, silver, furniture, expensive trinkets, paintings, prints, drawings and photographs. He also collected statues and had put up a library at the canal house.