One of the greatest art galleries in The Netherlands the Mauritshuis was 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. In recent years, a modern foyer and underground galleries were added to connect the museum with the newer Art Deco-style Royal Dutch Shell Wing, more than doubling exhibition space.
The Mauritshuis houses a stunning collection of 15th- to 18th-century Low Countries art donated to the nation by King Willem I in 1816. More than 200 works are on display by luminaries including 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). Also among the highlights is “The Goldfinch” by the little-known artist and pupil of Rembrandt Carel Fabritius; the miniscule artwork was the basis for Donna Tartt’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name.
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.