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The Mauritshuis with paintings such as the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer and the Anatomical Lesson by Rembrandt is a key tourist attraction in The Hague. But in actual fact the Mauritshuis is nothing more than a large residence that was too small to be able to display its sizeable collection. Expanding the building had long been impossible. The museum is wedged between the Prime Minister’s office referred to as the Little Tower, the Hofvijver – a small pond – and the De Witte Literary Society. However, when a portion of the De Witte building became vacant, this proved to be a unique opportunity for the Mauritshuis. The question was how to connect the two buildings. They are separated from each other by the Korte Vijverberg street. Going underground proved to be the unavoidable as well as technically complicated solution.
The new entrance in the design produced by Hans van Heeswijk is formed by an underground plaza that has been constructed below the original forecourt. There was already an entrance built here at some time in the past, but because the large doors caused too many climate fluctuations in the museum, the entrance was moved to the side of the building. Since the renovation has been executed, visitors first go down to the underground entrance where the cloakroom, the museum shop and the washrooms are located, and can then continue on to the Mauritshuis or turn off towards Plein 26.