The Mauritshuis is named after the man who commissioned it to be built between 1633 and 1644: Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679), governor-general of Dutch Brazil, and subsequently stadtholder of Cleves. The symmetric mansion is a typical example of the Dutch classicistic architectural style.
Since 1822 the building has been in use as a museum. The collection consisted initially of about 200 paintings, previously owned by stadtholder Prince Willem V (1748-1806), and transferred to the Dutch State. In the meantime the collection has expanded through purchases, donations and bequests to 800 works of art.