200 years Mauritshuis
The Hague Municipal Archives, in collaboration with the Mauritshuis, presents the impressive exhibition 200 years of the Mauritshuis in the poster wall of the Hague Municipal Archives in the Atrium in The Hague.
In 2022, the Mauritshuis will be 200 years old. Because it's the Mauritshuis's birthday, the front of the museum is surrounded by a sea of flowers all year round. In the context of this special anniversary, several equally special moments have been planned. One of these is this beautiful exhibition, in which the visitor is taken through 200 years of Mauritshuis history. You can find all activities around 200 Years of the Mauritshuis at https://www.mauritshuis.nl/nu-te-doen/200-jaar-mauritshuis/.
The Mauritshuis, a House full of Stories!
The bonbonniere. The jewelry box. The Sugar Palace. Three nicknames for a museum that has existed for no less than 200 years: since 1822. A museum whose collection has continued to grow ever since, the best paintings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were displayed there. A collection that has been admired by Jan and everyone, to this day. Who didn't come to this city palace in The Hague?
The Sugar Palace
The Mauritshuis is located in one of the oldest places in the center of The Hague, on the Hofvijver, right next to the Binnenhof; the center of Dutch politics. Once built as a residence, it later became a guest house, a library and in 1822 a museum.
The Mauritshuis was built in 1644 for Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen. During construction Johan Maurits gets a new job: as governor of Dutch Brazil he becomes the highest administrator of this colony. Johan Maurits earns his money not only as a governor, but also by trading in people: enslaved Africans who have to work on the sugar plantations. He uses this money, among other things, for the construction of the Mauritshuis. That is why it is also called the Sugar Palace - and that is not intended as a compliment.
Mauritshuis becomes a museum
On January 5, 1822, King Willem I opened the Mauritshuis as a museum and named it Royal Picture Gallery. Willem I inherited the paintings that will be hung there from his father, stadtholder Willem V. When you visited the museum in 1822, you were expected to be “well dressed”. The Government Gazette of Thursday January 3, 1822 states:
From now on, the Royal Cabinet of Paintings in The Hague will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. . . may be used by anyone who is well clothed and has no children with him."
Gallery of Curiosities
The Royal Picture Gallery was initially housed on the top floor of the Mauritshuis. There it is packed with paintings, from ceiling to floor. On the ground floor, visitors can see the historical objects of the Royal Cabinet of Rarities. Here you can see rocks, skeletons, shells and other objects – even an Inuit in a kayak! There's quite a bit of criticism about this messy mishmash of stuff. In 1875, this cabinet of curiosities was moved, so that the entire building became available for the paintings. But it remains full – very different from now!
The Mauritshuis is a museum full of masterpieces by famous Dutch painters from the 17th century. The paintings are not just beautiful or very well painted, you can also see how the Dutch used to live.
The most famous painting for a long time is The Bull by Paulus Potter. People from far and wide come to the Mauritshuis especially for this huge canvas. They admire the realism with which the bull is painted by Potter. Did you know that Potter lived on the Bierkade in The Hague? In a few steps he was in the meadow where his models grazed. Some older Dutch people still recognize the farmer in the painting as Teun of the reading board.
Now the most famous painting is the Girl with a Pearl Earring by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer. It is the only work of art that we address as a person in the museum. All the people who work at the Mauritshuis always talk about "her" or "she".
The exhibition '200 years of the Mauritshuis' can be found in the Atrium in the poster wall of The Hague Municipal Archive, at the entrance of the Study Room. Compilers of 200 years of the Mauritshuis: Faye Cliné, Martine Gosselink, Edwin Buijsen, Maaike Pilgram, Quentin Buvelot.