Mauritshuis Museum

Mauritshuis Museum HagueIf you are interested in fine art, especially the Dutch Golden Age, there is no better place to visit in the Hague than the Mauritshuis Royal Art Gallery. This splendid museum of fine art in the Hague was once the home of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen. He had the residence built in the 1630s by Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post, the best architects of the time. The residence was to be a luxurious haven while staying in the Netherlands, away from his colony in Brazil. The Dutch state purchased the residence in 1820 specifically for displaying the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. In 1822, the building was officially opened to the public.

The Royal Cabinet of Paintings was collected by Willem V between 1748 and 1806. After the Napoleonic invasion in 1795, the collection was removed from the Netherlands and hung for a time in the Louvre. Most of the paintings were returned to the Dutch state in 1815. The Mauritshuis Royal Art Gallery is home to some of the most famous Dutch and Flemish paintings in the world. Perhaps the most well-known is Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a pearl earring.” Equally important paintings include Rembrandt van Rijn’s “The anatomy lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp,” his self-portrait, as well as Carel Fabritius’ “The goldfinch,” all marvelous works of the Dutch Golden Age in art. When the museum first opened, it housed 200 great paintings. Today, through both private donation and purchases made to round-out the collection, it houses almost 800. Whether you are in town for business or pleasure, if you have any appreciation for history and fine art, the Mauritshuis Royal Art Gallery is the best place to visit if you’re looking for art in the Hague.