Behind the 17th-century façade of this palace – formerly the winter home of Queen Emma of the Netherlands – lies a startlingly eccentric collection of works of Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. The palace is located on The Hague’s elegant boulevard of Lange Voorhout and as befits its royal residence, has a series of lavishly appointed rooms plus an ornate Art Nouveau staircase that was installed in 1901 along with glimmering stained-glass windows in the skylights of the main hall.
Maurits Cornelis Escher lived between 1898-1972 and became famous for his slightly demented lithographs, woodcuts and engravings as well as drawings and prints playing with perspective. He travelled right across Europe, living in Italy and Switzerland and drawing on influences as far apart as the Alhambra in Granada and the bucolic landscape of Tuscany.
The museum opened in 2002 and has the world’s largest collection of Escher’s highly eccentric work, which somehow fits perfectly into the opulence of Queen Emma’s palace. Highlights include the vast woodcut Metamorphosis III as well as the ‘In the Eye of Escher’ exhibition on the second story, where games are played with perspective. The permanent displays include his early Italian landscapes, family portraits and many of his ingenious ‘impossible’ optical illusion prints and woodcuts.
There are scavenger hunts and workshops for kids in the school holidays in a ‘lab’ completely decorated with Escher’s confusing perspective patterns, a museum store selling Escher-centric books and prints plus a café.
The museum is open Tue-Sun 11am-5pm; admission is €9. It is easily accessible from Den Haag station by tram or bus.