Once the residence of Count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, a scion of the ruling House of Orange, this small but delightful neoclassical mansion from 1637 sits astride the Hofvijver lake just outside the Binnenhof complex. One of the greatest art galleries in The Netherlands, it was completed in 1644 to the designs of Jacob van Campen. The main facade of the Mauritshuis was extensively refashioned according to his original specs, and the pediments and delicate plasterwork are once more gleaming. A new foyer and underground galleries now connect the museum with the Art Deco-style Royal Dutch Shell Wing, more than doubling exhibition space.
Mauritshuis’s collections previously included a stunning collection of 15th- to 18th-century Low Countries art donated to the nation by King Willem I in 1816. Great names to look out for include Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Jan Vermeer, Jan Steen, Peter Paul Rubens, and Hans Holbein. The standout pieces from a standout collection are Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” (1632), Vermeer’s meticulous “View of Delft” (ca. 1660), and his iconic “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (ca. 1660).
The Galerij Prins Willem V (Buitenhof 33; [tel] 070/302-3435; Tues–Sun noon–5pm) is a separate annex to the Mauritshuis. There are few internationally known works, but look out for Jan Steen’s shiver-inducing “The Toothpuller” (1651), and give thanks for modern dentistry techniques.