Architect Jacob van Campen
Johan Maurits had his house designed by architect Jacob van Campen, who was assisted by Pieter Post for the interior finishes. Van Campen opted for a design based on Dutch classicism, a building style characterised by the use of elements from classical architecture, such as columns, capitals, cornices and tympanums.
The Mauritshuis is one of the first examples of this architectural style in the Netherlands. The building is free-standing, which allows the symmetry of the four imposing stone façades to really come into its own. Van Campen would later create a furore with Amsterdam’s new town hall, today’s Royal Palace on Dam Square, which is also in the Dutch classicist style.
The cost to build the Mauritshuis is unknown. The mortgage on the building alone amounted to 160,000 guilders in the 1660s, an astronomical sum if you consider that a skilled craftsman at that time earned some 250 guilders a year. In other words, Johan Maurits’s total mortgage was 640 times the annual salary of a craftsman.