Architect Hans van Heeswijk (one to watch) has doubled the museum space without making noticeable changes to the original house. How? By building a luminous, Louvre-style underground foyer, and carving a new wing out of an existing nextdoor building. There, you'll find a new exhibition gallery, brasserie, shop, and education space - all accessible from the foyer.
The museum's dynamic young director Emilie Gordenker and her staff are bracing for a frenzy around Vermeer's Girl, now a Gaga-like global celebrity thanks to the novel (by Tracy Chevalier) and movie. Only 30 visitors at a time can crowd around her, yet flashless photography is authorized. So expect an explosion of selfies as soon as the museum reopens on June 27.
Hanging between two windows in Room 14 is another masterpiece namechecked by a bestseller: Carel Fabritius's The Goldfinch. A separate visitor onslaught is expected on account of the Donna Tartt novel, so the museum has hung the work on a wall by itself.
The Mauritshuis is not the first museum to acknowledge novel/movie tie-ins. The Louvre embraced The Da Vinci Code to the point of allowing the blockbuster to be filmed in its galleries.
Still, there is SO much in the Mauritshuis besides a goldfinch and a pearl earring! Two roomfuls of Rembrandts that will knock your socks off, not to mention Rubens portraits, a wall of Holbeins, saucy genre paintings by Jan Steen...Here are a couple of fabulous Rembrandts to whet your appetite: