What Makes The Mauritshuis A Unique Museum?

Photo of author
Latest update:

Although many museums in The Netherlands are beautiful and impressive, one museum stands out. This museum is unique in its collection, building, and location.

The Mauritshuis is a unique museum because of its masterpieces of Dutch and Flemish painters of the 17th century. The Mauritshuis is located in an impressive building in a beautiful location adjacent to the parliamentary and governmental buildings.

The small tower to the right of the Mauritshuis in the picture below is the office of the Prime Minister of The Netherlands. It is too bad that there are no windows in that office on the side of the Mauritshuis to have a look at what our Prime Minister is doing, but, at the very least, you will have been very close to him.

What Are The Most Famous Paintings In The Mauritshuis?

The collection of the Mauritshuis contains a breathtaking number of masterpieces of Dutch painters of the seventeenth century. World-renowned paintings such as Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and Potter’s The Bull are exhibited permanently.

Add to this the best work of Jan Steen, the magnificent landscapes by Jacob van Ruisdael, and fabulous portraits of Rubens, and you may start to understand my enthusiasm for the Mauritshuis.

The Mauritshuis shows the best of Dutch painting

from the time of Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Around 200 paintings are exhibited in The Mauritshuis, so it is not huge. However, the quality of the paintings is so good that you walk from room to room, amazed that this collection exists, and you eagerly anticipate what will be waiting in the next room for you.

Which Rembrandt Paintings Are Exhibited In The Mauritshuis?

The Mauritshuis in The Hague owns 11 paintings of Rembrandt, among them.

  1. The anatomy lesson
  2. Simeon in the temple
  3. Andromeda
  4. Self-portrait from 1669

Which Vermeer Paintings Are Exhibited In The Mauritshuis?

The Mauritshuis in The Hague owns three paintings of Johannes Vermeer:

  1. The girl with the pearl earring
  2. View on Delft
  3. Diana and her nymphs

The video below has been viewed more than 3,2 million times on Youtube. The video helps you to understand in 4 four minutes why Vermeer’s best-known masterpiece, “Girl with the pearl earring,” is so outstanding that it is considered one of the best paintings ever.

What Is The Mauritshuis Virtual Tour?

The Mauritshuis virtual tour shows you all paintings of the Mauritshuis.

Why Is The Building Of The Mauritshuis Unique?

The museum is located in a unique building. The Mauritshuis was built between 1633 and 1644 as a residence for Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen, the military commander and governor of the Dutch colony in Brazil, for eight years.

The architect of the Mauritshuis was Jacob van Campen who created one of the first and finest examples of Dutch classicism. The symmetry, grand pilasters, and tympana give the building its monumentality. The interior is intimate with its silk wall covering, sparkling chandeliers, and monumental painted ceilings of huge halls inside the building. Overall, the Mauritshuis is a tasteful combination of building and collection.

The Mauritshuis has been used as a museum since 1822 and has been renovated several times over the years. The latest renovation has created a lot of room underground in front of the Mauritshuis. The entrance, ticket desk, and souvenir desk are all located there to free up the original Mauritshuis in its entirety for the collection of paintings.

Where Is The Mauritshuis Museum?

The Mauritshuis is located in the heart of The Hague. The House of Parliament, the Senate, the prime minister’s office, and the office of the King of the Netherlands are literally around the corner. I have previously written an article about what makes The Hague a unique city if you want to know more about The Hague.

In the map below, you can find the highlights’ locations in the neighborhood of the Mauritshuis. By clicking on each number, you will access their websites and find more information about the building and its role in the Dutch parliamentary system.

Left of the Mauritshuis (1) is the Cabinet of the King (2), our King’s office to support him in his constitutional role. If you leave the Mauritshuis and turn immediately right, you can see the prime minister of The Netherlands’ office (3), the little tower at the waterfront on your right hand. If you walk through the gate, you will enter a square called Binnenhof (4), which is the heart of our parliamentary democracy.

At your right, immediately after you have come through the gate, is the department of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. The Senate’s building is at the back end of the square to your right (5).

The most monumental building at the Binnenhof is the Ridderzaal (6, Knights Hall), used once a year to open the parliamentary year on the third Tuesday of September by our King Willem-Alexander.

The Knights Hall is one of the best reminders that the entire complex of the Binnenhof originated from a castle built in the 13th century by count Willem II and his son Floris V. The Ridderzaal is from 1292. However, it still stands proudly as a symbol of our democracy.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Republic of the Seven Provinces’ government continued to meet in The Hague because The Hague was considered neutral territory.

If you go left on the Binnenhof and leave it through the gate, you will immediately stand in front of the Tweede Kamer (7), the House of Representatives in The Netherlands.

What Is The Large Square In Front Of The Mauritshuis

If you turn left instead of right, when you exit the Mauritshuis, you will immediately enter a vast square called Plein (8), which will be full of terraces when the weather is a little bit better.

Plein is a beautiful place for drinks, lunch, or dinner, depending upon the time of the day and your preference. The two sides at the other end of Plein are entirely occupied with restaurants and bars. I don’t have a favorite restaurant or bar at Plein.

Other Highlights In The Neighborhood Of The Mauritshuis?

The Hague is our government and Parliament’s location, but the capital of The Netherlands is Amsterdam. That makes The Hague an exception in the western world. The Hague never received formal city rights in the middle ages and was therefore never allowed to build city walls to defend itself.

Consequently, The Hague developed an open and tolerant culture that is, to this day, reflected in the presence of buildings like the Peace Palace. The Peace Palace is the International Court of Justice seat, and it can be visited if you are interested.

The Mauritshuis may be a unique museum, but there are more beautiful museums in The Hague.

Another highlight in the neighborhood of the Mauritshuis is the museum of Escherlocated in a previous palace of the Royal House of the Netherlands at Lange Voorhout.

Panorama Mesdag will give you a unique view of our cultural heritage – the oldest 19th-century panorama in the world of the fishing village of Scheveningen, the sea, and the dunes. More than 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference, this cylindrical painting is the largest in The Netherlands.

Hendrik Willem Mesdag painted it with help from his friends. We advise you to check out their website to determine if this may be of interest to you.

Photo of author
Pim Tijburg
Pim has lived his entire life in The Netherlands and he enjoys writing this blog about his home country. His mission is to make you like The Netherlands as much as he does.