The biggest art gallery you’ve probably never heard of

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Other paintings by Vermeer include his View of Delft, which shimmers in a haze of soft shadow, deep shadow, watery reflections and bright sunshine and in all there are two rooms full of Rembrandt, including the first painting that made its name in Amsterdam, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaes Tulp. There are several brilliant paintings by Jan Steens, as well as masterpieces by Rubens, Frans Hals, Holbein and Van Dyck.

But for me the real masterpiece is the Mauritshuis itself. It’s the perfect antidote to cultural overload, whether you’re visiting Amsterdam on a day trip or making it the centerpiece of a weekend in The Hague.

The Mauritshuis (mauritshuis.nl/en) is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except Mon; 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.). Admission: €17.50, under 19s free.

Getting to The Hague

The city can be reached by train in just four hours and eight minutes, with a change in Rotterdam. See eurostar.com. For our selection of the best hotels in The Hague, follow this link. For more tips on what to see and do in the city, check out our guide.

What’s new this year

Special exhibits to celebrate the museum’s 200th anniversary include:

In Full Bloom (February 17-June 1) will showcase some of the best and most beautiful flower still lifes of the 17th century, with a particular focus on female artists who were among the genre’s leading proponents.

The Frick Collection (September 29 – January 15, 2023) will be a rare chance to see masterpieces from this New York museum, which, like the Mauritshuis, makes a virtue of its small size and very high collection quality.

Choose paints

Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring (circa 1665)

Another painting that has become cult thanks to a novel and the film that followed. Vermeer’s most famous work is probably not conceived as a portrait but as a “tronie”, an imaginary figure. As with the View of Delft, it’s all about the effects of light: the outlines are blurred and softened, but the pearl’s glow keeps the composition in balance – reflecting the light in her glistening eyes and lips.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait (1669)

It is one of three self-portraits from the last year of Rembrandt’s life – the other two are in London and Florence. All of the artist’s work has been focused on the aging face, with skin tones built up layer upon layer of different colored oils.

Fabritius, The Goldfinch (1654)

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