The Mauritshuis museum houses the Royal Cabinet of Paintings which consists of 841 objects, primarily Dutch Golden Age paintings. The collections contains works by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter, Frans Hals, Hans Holbein the Younger, and others. Probably the most famous painting in Mauritshuis is The Girl with a Pearl Earring (ca. 1665), one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's masterworks. It has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague since 1902. The another masterpiece in collection is the Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp painted by Rembrandt van Rijn (ca. 1632).
Originally, the 17th century building was the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau. In 1820, the Mauritshuis was bought by the Dutch state for the purpose of housing the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. In 1822, the Mauritshuis was opened to the public and housed the Royal Cabinet of Paintings and the Royal Cabinet of Rarities. In 1875, the entire museum became available for paintings. It is now the property of the government of the Netherlands and is listed in the top 100 Dutch heritage sites.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.