One of Europe's greatest museums, the Mauritshuis reopened in 2014 following a major renovation that created a new underground lobby and a new wing across the street with a café, museum shop, education area, library, and auditorium. Even before the reboot, the old Mauritshuis offered an incomparable feast of art, including no fewer than 14 Rembrandts, 10 Jan Steens, and three Vermeers. The latter's remarkable View of Delft takes pride of place; its rediscovery in the late 19th century assured the artist's eternal fame. In the same room is Vermeer's (1632–75) most haunting work, Girl with a Pearl Earring, which inspired Tracy Chevalier's 1999 best-selling novel as well as the 2003 film. For something completely different, look to Jan Steen (1626–79), who portrayed the daily life of ordinary people in 17th-century Netherlands. His painting The Way You Hear It Is the Way You Sing It is particularly telling. Don't miss local boy Paulus Potter's vast canvas The
Bull, complete with steaming cow dung; the 7-foot-by-11-foot painting leaves nothing to be said on the subject of beef on the hoof.
As an added treat, the original building itself is worthy of a 17th-century master's brush: a cream-color mansion tucked into a corner behind the Parliament complex and overlooking the Hofvijver river. It was built around 1640 for one Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen and governor-general of Dutch Brazil. The pair behind its creation, Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post, were the two most important Dutch architects of their era. Now brought beautifully into the 21st century, this truly is one of the finest museums in Europe.