The Mauritshuis is an emblem of the Hague, and this model of the building is made of sugar, symbolising the source of Johan Maurits’ wealth. He was the Governor-General of the colony Dutch Brazil, and involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In his lifetime he was so famous for his wealth that one nickname for the Mauritshuis was “The Sugar House”. The current exhibition Shifting Image – In search of Johan Maurits examines how we might view Maurits today, and how our views of him might have changed.
The paintings in the exhibition each present commentary from different perspectives.
It’s a great way of giving a range of modern views to Dutch history, and I admit I didn’t realise there had been an Afro-Dutch community in Amsterdam during Rembrandt’s lifetime.
The museum has created this exhibition as part of ongoing research, and includes an invitation for participation. It’s the first time I’ve seen an exhibition dedicated to examining the Dutch role in slavery in a major museum here, often mentions of slavery are obfuscated with passive language. It’s necessary.
The exhibition is on until 7 July, and includes a range of extra activities. It’s well worth a visit. Book now!