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Bust Johan Maurits

Recent media reports have sent mixed messages about the removal of the bust of Johan Maurits from the foyer of the Mauritshuis. We would like to offer some context.

Since the reopening of the Mauritshuis in 2014, we have been engaged with a reassessment of how best to present the history of Johan Maurits of Nassau Siegen in Dutch Brazil, including his role in the history of slavery. We have already made adjustments to this website, the multimedia tour, on-site tours as well as publications. Last year the Mauritshuis made the first steps towards a large-scale research project about the governorship Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen in Brazil and his reputation at the time. The project is a collaboration with researchers at Leiden University.

We have installed works of art related to Johan Maurits in Gallery 13 of the Mauritshuis, which includes an 18th-century terracotta statue of Johan Maurits. This offers us the opportunity to share a nuanced presentation of the history of Johan Maurits, the Dutch colony in Brazil (including the history of slavery) and the connection with the Mauritshuis with our visiting public. We expect that this presentation will continue to evolve over time.

Once we had installed new presentation, we removed the bust of Johan Maurits from the foyer of the Mauritshuis. In the first place, the object is in fact a copy made of plastic in 1986. Furthermore we could not offer the necessary historical context in that location.

The removal of this replica does not mean that we have erased the image of Johan Maurits from the museum. On the contrary, not only have we installed the terracotta statuette in room 13, but the portrait of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen by Jan de Baen has not been moved from its prominent location on the staircase of the Mauritshuis.

More about the history of the Mauritshuis and the collection.

Kabinet Johan Maurits

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