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While we were visiting The Hague a few weeks ago, my favorite place was the M.C. Escher Museum. We’ve all seen his stuff: those crazy drawings of reptiles turning into birds, or hands drawing themselves. I had no idea he was Dutch!

The museum is in the former royal palace, used by Queen Emma as a Winter Palace until 1934, then by Queen Beatrix for her offices. It now holds a great exhibit on Escher’s life and inspiration, chock full of drawings, woodcuts, prints, and quirky things.

Escher was born in 1898 and stayed active in printing and drawing until his death in 1972. He was initially inspired by nature, and in his later years he used mathematical inspiration for repeating patterns, even trying to draw the idea of infinity. The way he played with perspective is famous, shown in the popular Waterfall print, below, from 1961. It’s impossible, and yet it’s there! I can say honestly that these pictures were the best part of my high school math classes.

The museum itself was a maze of rooms and staircases, a glimpse of a royal palace. Jesse cleverly wondered, if we walked all the way to the top, would we end up in the basement? So Escher-esque.

The top floor had a series of rooms where you could interact a bit more with perspective. That’s where we snapped this photo of Jesse imitating the artist (complete with mustache).

Another room was built with one side tall, the other side short, painted in a checkerboard pattern. When you look at it on a screen, it changes the perspective enough to make people look like giants and dwarves! The pictures cost €5, which is why you don’t see one here. We’re thrifty. (Either that, or we were hungry, and frites sounded better than a photo.)

A refreshing change from sometimes-stuffy Dutch art in bigger museums, the Escher museum was a great afternoon. I highly recommend it!

Museum website and info here.