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The Mauritshuis in 2010
Established 1822[1]
Location Korte Vijverberg 8
The Hague, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°04′50″N 4°18′52″E / 52.080556°N 4.314444°E / 52.080556; 4.314444
Type Art museum
Visitors 231,795 (2010)[2]

The Mauritshuis (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɔurɪtsɦœys], Maurice House) is a major pictorial art museum in The Hague, Netherlands, housing the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. This consists of about 800 paintings, primarily Dutch Golden Age paintings by, among others, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans Hals, as well as several works of the German painter Hans Holbein the Younger. Originally the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, the 17th century building of the Mauritshuis is the property of the government of the Netherlands, and is listed in the top 100 Dutch heritage sites.


Prince John Maurice, namesake of the Mauritshuis, portrayed by Jan de Baen.
The Mauritshuis in 1825.

In 1631, John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, a cousin of stadtholder Frederick Henry, bought a plot bordering the Binnenhof and the adjacent Hofvijver pond in the The Hague,[3] at that time the political centre of the Dutch Republic. On the plot, the Mauritshuis was built between 1636 and 1641, during John Maurice's governorship of Dutch Brazil. The Dutch Classicist building was designed by the Dutch architects Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post.[4] The two-storey building is strictly symmetrical and contained four apartments and a great hall. Each apartment was designed with an antechamber, a chamber, a cabinet, and a cloakroom. Originally, the building had a cupola, which was destroyed in a fire in 1704.[5]

After the death of Prince John Maurice in 1679, the house was owned by the Maes family, who leased the house to the Dutch government. In 1704, most of the interior of the Mauritshuis was destroyed by fire. The building was restored between 1708 and 1718.[6] In 1820, the Mauritshuis was bought by the Dutch state for the purpose of housing the Royal Cabinet of Paintings.[7] In 1822, the Mauritshuis was opened to the public and housed the Royal Cabinet of Paintings and the Royal Cabinet of Rarities. In 1875, the entire museum became available for paintings.[1]

The Mauritshuis was privatised in 1995. The foundation set up at that time took charge of both the building and the collection, which it was given on long-term loan. This building, which is the property of the state, is rented by the museum. In 2007, the museum had nearly 250,000 visitors.[2] The same year, the museum announced its desire to expand. In 2010, the definitive design was presented.[8] The museum would occupy a part of the nearby Sociëteit de Witte building. The two buildings would be connected via an underground tunnel, running underneath the Korte Vijverberg.[9] Construction started in 2012. The project is still ongoing, and is expected to finish mid-2014.[10][11] During the renovation, about 100 of the museum's paintings are displayed in the Gemeentemuseum in the Highlights Mauritshuis exhibition.[12] About 50 other paintings, including the Girl With the Pearl Earring, are on loan to exhibitions in the United States and Japan. Following a major renovation the museum will open on 27 June 2014.


The collection of paintings of stadtholder William V, Prince of Orange was presented to the Dutch state by his son, King William I. This collection formed the basis of the Royal Cabinet of Paintings of around 200 paintings. The collection is currently called the Royal Picture Gallery. The current collection consists of almost 800 paintings[13] and focusses on Dutch and Flemish artists, such as Pieter Brueghel, Paulus Potter, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jacob van Ruisdael, Johannes Vermeer, and Rogier van der Weyden. There are also works of Hans Holbein in the collection in the Mauritshuis.[14][15][16]

Famous works[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Mauritshuis is turned into a museum". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  2. ^ a b (Dutch) Den Haag in Cijfers
  3. ^ "Location and garden". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  4. ^ "The building". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  5. ^ "The 17th-century interior". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  6. ^ "Fire and restoration". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  7. ^ "The Mauritshuis is turned into a museum". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  8. ^ (Dutch) "Mauritshuis presenteert voorlopig ontwerp". 22 June 2010. 
  9. ^ (Dutch) "Mauritshuis aast op De Witte". Den Haag Centraal. 3 August 2007. 
  10. ^ (Dutch) "Mauritshuis vanaf morgen voor twee jaar gesloten". Trouw. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  11. ^ (Dutch) "Mauritshuis wordt nooit een hal". De Volkskrant. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Highlights Mauritshuis". Gemeentemuseum. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "History of the collection". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  14. ^ "Prince Willem V". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  15. ^ "Royal acquisitions". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  16. ^ "Acquisitions policy". Mauritshuis. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 

External links[edit]