THE HAGUE.- After a long closure due to national Covid restrictions, the Mauritshuis will once again be opening its doors to the public on Saturday 5 June, from 10 a.m. on. Visitors are requested to purchase an entry ticket with a time slot beforehand via the website. The run of Fleeting – Scents in Colour has been extended, with the exhibition now ending on 29 August.

Martine Gosselink: ‘This was a long time coming, meaning we are even more delighted to once again welcome people to the museum. While our Fleeting exhibition actually opened in February, no one has had the opportunity to view it yet! Similar to last year, we will be adhering to the guidelines set by the Dutch Museums Association. This will ensure that a visit to the Mauritshuis is and remains safe. The Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Goldfinch, View of Delft, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals – they’ve all been anxiously awaiting our visitors’ return. While those from abroad won’t be able to visit us just yet, we naturally hope that travel restrictions within and beyond the EU will be lifted over the course of the summer.’


Jan van der Heyden, View of the Oudezijds Voorburgwal with the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, (ca.1670). Mauritshuis, The Hague.

Fleeting – Scents in Colour, an exhibition about sweet perfumes and foul odours in the 17th century

Until August 29, the Mauritshuis will present the exhibition Fleeting – Scents in Colour. As well as the fresh, clean laundry in an interior by Pieter de Hooch and summer and winter perfumes in silver 17th-century pomanders, visitors will also smell the stench of the Amsterdam canals in a city view by Jan van der Heyden. Fleeting – Scents in Colour explores the portrayal of scent and smell in 17th-century art, the scents of the past, the role of scent in stories, the suggestion of scent in artworks, and sensory perception. There will also be real scents in the exhibition: (COVID-proof) scent dispensers will enable visitors to take in the different smells portrayed in the art – both fragrant and foul.


Pieter de Hooch, Interior with Women in front of a Linen Cupboard (1663). Courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Your visit to the Mauritshuis

For the moment, there will not be a fixed route through the museum. But where necessary, the museum will be introducing ‘one-way traffic’. Those visiting the museum are required to wear a face mask throughout. At this point, you will not be able to use the museum’s audio tour facilities or book a guided tour. You will however be allowed to take an audio tour using your own earbuds or headphones. The museum shop and Brasserie Mauritshuis will also be reopening on 5 June, with due observance of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment guidelines. 


A silver pomander, 1620. Collection of Enschede, Twente National Park

Take a digital tour of the Fleeting exhibition with the Mauritshuis's Fragrance box

For those unable to visit the Mauritshuis (as yet), the museum has produced the world’s first interactive digital look and smell tour. In partnership with sponsor NN Group, the Mauritshuis has developed a fragrance box, which means you can watch the tour from the comfort of your sofa while ‘smelling’ the artworks. During the tour, Dutch culinary journalist Joël Broekaert interviews the exhibition’s organiser, Mauritshuis curator Ariane van Suchtelen. She talks about smells and art of the 17th century, discussing the fleeting world of scent: What did you smell as you left the house? What was the relationship between smell, health and personal hygiene? And does the experience of then differ from today? Some of the scents in the fragrance box will be rather enjoyable, but is that true of them all…? The exclusive box can be ordered via www.mauritshuis.nl/en/fleeting and costs €20 (incl. VAT, excl. delivery costs). The tour is in Dutch with English subtitles.  


 Abraham Mignon, Flowers and Fruit, Mauritshuis. © 2021 Mauritshuis

Take a digital visit to the Mauritshuis

You can also enjoy the Mauritshuis’s permanent collection without having to travel to The Hague. The museum is the first in the world to have been fully digitised in gigapixel format*. By bringing this together with the Mauritshuis’s existing Second Canvas app, the wonderful stories behind the paintings are also revealed and you can zoom in on the brushstrokes. No fewer than 36 masterpieces, including all the Vermeers, four Rembrandts, three Jan Steens, Fabritius’s The Goldfinch and The Bull by Paulus Potter, can all be enjoyed in exquisite detail. Visitors can find the virtual museum on the Mauritshuis website or via the Mauritshuis Second Canvas app. The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.

*Gigapixel format is a gigapixel image of 1000 megapixels, more than 100 times the size of images that can be produced by a smartphone. Thanks to this high quality, a gigapixel image of an artwork offers a new experience of art.  

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Hendrik Goltzius. Five senses: Hearing, circa 1595. Print made by Jan Saenredam.

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Jan Miense Molenaer, The Five Senses: Smell, 1637, Mauritshuis© 2021 Mauritshuis

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Jan Both, Reuk, 1620-1638, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

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Jan Steen, The Doctor's Visit, c. 1665 - 1668, Mauritshuis. © 2021 Mauritshuis

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Adriaen Brouwer, The Smoker, 1630 - 1638.

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 Michaelina Wautier, A Boy Smelling Tobacco, Private collection.