Are you looking for information about the Mauritshuis Museum in the Hague?
Why should you visit? How to visit? What not to miss?
You’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll answer everything there is to know about the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch).
I have much information to share as someone who loves visiting this museum and has been born and grew up in this area.
The museum is situated in the heart of The Hague, just a short walk from the Binnenhof and the iconic Hofvijver pond.
If you’re looking for more ideas to do in The Hague check out my post here.
The Mauritshuis is home to some of the best of Dutch and Flemish art from the seventeenth century – in the world -.
Yes, Flemish paintings, too, because in the day, that area was known as the Southern Netherlands.
The collection includes masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring.
Even despite its size. Because that is what it is: small. But don’t let that deter you from going. What the museum lacks in physical space, it more than makes up for it with the quality of art inside.
The first time I visited, I was a tiny bit disappointed. I just saw the size of their museum and thought, is this it? But that is not how you should visit.
At a buffet, you eat as much as you want. At a star restaurant, you savor the flavors. The Mauritshuis is the star restaurant among Dutch museums.
It’s home to masterpieces like Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Rembrandts’ Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, and works by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, van Dyck, Jan Brueghel, Hans Holbein The Younger, Rubens, and many more big names.
The collection spans from the early 15th to the late 19th century, including Dutch and Flemish Old Masters, French, Italian, German, and British works. But it’s best known for its Golden Age works.
If you like to see 17th-century art in Amsterdam then check out my Rijksmuseum article.
In this article, I’ll explore what makes the Mauritshuis so unique, the history of the collections, top highlights you don’t want to miss, and practical visitor information like opening hours and tickets.
Table of Contents
So, what makes this small museum so unique?
For one, it’s gorgeous. When you walk inside, well, even before you go inside, you can’t help but say: “wow.”
And despite its small size, the collection ranks among the four most important 17th-century Dutch Golden Age art museums in the world! That is quite something.
It’s also intimate, making the art on display pop even more. It’s an entirely different experience than being, for example, in the enormous, equally fantastic Rijksmuseum, also called my 2nd home.
The house was built between 1633 and 1644 as the private residence of Johan Maurits of Nassau, also known as the Prince of Nassau-Siegen. Its architect, Jacob van Campen, designed it in a classicist style with ornate interiors.
The original house suffered a devastating fire in the early 18th century but was rebuilt afterward. Thank goodness for that.
Until 1820, this was a private house. But in 1820, the Dutch government purchased the Mauritshuis to house King Willem I’s expanding art collection. The building was opened to the public as a royal museum in 1822.
Before that, Prince William V opened a gallery for the public, the Royal Picture Gallery.
Did you know you can still visit the Prince William V Gallery? It’s across the lake from the Mauritshuis (but operated by it). It’s the most unknown part of the museum. Not many people know about it, but now you do.
Between 2012 and 2014, renovations took place to make the museum suitable for the next generation, and while modernizing, they could keep the beautiful old but double the available floor space, including the new underground foyer, more space for exhibitions, the Gift Shop, and more.
The intimate setting allows you to admire breathtaking works up close in an almost homelike interior.
My Favorite Travel Books
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(travel books, art books, language books, and maps)
Top 10 Highlights of the Mauritshuis You Must See
Here are my top 10 favorites that no visit would be complete without:
- Girl with the Pearl Earring – Johannes Vermeer (Get here already, or be prepared to line up, or get lucky, but however busy worth it)
- The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp – Rembrandt van Rijn (not easy to look at, at first, at least I found it difficult, but beautifully done)
- Goldfinch by Fabritius (sadly, Carel Fabritius died early in a disaster in Delft, but this man could paint. This bird is his best-known work)
- Johannes Vermeer’s – View of Delft (One of my favorite paintings by Vermeer because it brings him to the now, that view can still be seen)
- Laughing Boy – Frans Hals (He is known for large portraits and group photos, but this small photo takes your breath; it took mine)
- Old Woman and Boy with Candle Peter Paul Rubens (Most would say Diana and Her Nymphs, but my favorite is this picture by candlelight)
- Ice Scene – Hendrick Avercamp (My favorite winter painter is Avercamp, and a prime example is at the Rijks, but this one is wonderful too)
- Still Life with Books and a Violin – Jan Davidsz de Heem (known for his still life paintings, but this is insane. Look at it. You can read the small print)
- The Bull by Paulus Potter (This painting makes no sense at first; why paint something so normal, so big. Still, the attention to detail is fantastic)
- Mother Combing Her Child’s Hair – Gerard ter Borch (what I find so special about this painting is how completely absorbed they are in what they’re doing)
And there is a lot more to discover. I promise you.
Opening Hours & Tickets
The Mauritshuis is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. And from 1 pm to 6 pm on Mondays. The Prince William V Gallery
is closed on Mondays and is open between noon and 5 pm the rest of the week.
Thus, when you’re early, visit the Mauritshuis first. Both locations are within a few minute’s walking distance, across the lake from each other.
You can book your tickets with a timeslot online for a guaranteed entry.
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How to Get There
It’s easiest to travel by train. The Hague has more than one station. The two main stations served by fast Intercity trains from Amsterdam are The Hague Central Station and The Hague Hollands Spoor Station.
I wrote a separate article about how to get from Amsterdam to the Hague.
You can walk to the museum from both train stations, but Central Station is much closer. So, pick that one.
I recommend buying your train tickets online in advance. If you do so at least four days in advance and you travel off-peak (after 9 am on weekdays and not between 4 pm and 6:30 pm or all-day weekends), you get a nice 20% discount if you do.
Booking Train Tickets at the Official NS Website
Print the tickets with a printer or download them to the train app. Make sure to have internet while you travel when you do.
Visit the intimate royal galleries of the Mauritshuis Museum to discover stunning Dutch Golden Age masterpieces. Its small size makes it one of the most delightful art museums to explore.
The address of the Mauritshuis is:
Plein 29, Den Haag
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Does All Of This Feel Overwhelming?
Planning a trip well is a lot of work and can feel overwhelming. Know I’m here to help when you need assistance with your Netherlands vacation.
I offer Itinerary Consultations where I help you with ideas to improve your itinerary and make your trip planning much faster and less stressful. I also have local insights you don’t get from a guidebook.
What is your painting?
I’d love your thoughts: I'm looking forward to learn which painting is the reason you want to visit the Mauritshuis?. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.
I hope this article helped you decide to travel to this museum.
If you enjoy Dutch and Flemish paintings, then this world-famous collection of 17th-century art will not disappoint you, I promise you.
The Hague offers a lot more to those interested in culture.
The famous Van Mesdag Museum (a 360-degree circular painting of the beach in Scheveningen) is another small museum not to be missed.
Or the Escher Museum, where nothing is what it seems to be, classic sights like the royal palace, the Binnenhof with its seat of government, and of course, the Peace Palace.
Did you do enough museums? You can only have so many museums, then head to Madurodam for a classic display of the Netherlands in miniature.
I can think of worse ways to end the day.
Have a lot of fun. And safe travels.
PS: Here are some more ideas for things to do in the area: