The Escher Museum (Escher in the Palace) is a museum featuring the works of the Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher. The museum is housed in a former palace Lange Voorhout Palace dating from the 18th century. Queen Emma (Emma of Waldeck Pyrmont) bought the stately house in 1896. She used it as a winter palace from March 1901 till her death in March 1934. Four Dutch Queens used the palace for their business offices, till Queen Beatrix moved the office to Paleis Noordeinde, about 10 minutes walk from Escher in Het Paleis. In all the former 'Royal Rooms' first and second floor there are window shades with information about the interior in Emma's time. There are two rooms dedicated to Emma's period and often there are photo enlargements or other information about Queen Mother Emma on display besides the never-ending Escher exhibition.
The museum features a permanent display of a large number of woodcuts and lithographs by Escher, among them the world famous prints Air and Water, Belvedere and Waterfall. Escher in Het Paleis shows the early lovely Italian landscapes, the many mirror prints and a choice from the tesselation drawings, further the three versions of the Metamorphosis, from the first small one to the third of 7 meters. This one is shown in a circle. It underlines the new vision of the museum on the work of M.C. Escher.
The third floor of the museum is dedicated to the Optical Illusion, besides the famous Escher Room in which grownups seem to be smaller than their children one's eyes will be tricked by multiple interactive dispays.
In the rooms of the museum are fifteen chandeliers made by the Rotterdam artist Hans van Bentem. The artist designed these especially for the museum, with some references to the work of Escher and the Palace. In the ballroom, a star chandelier is endlessly reflected in the two mirrors. In other rooms there are chandeliers such as a shark, a skull, spiders, and a sea horse.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.