The Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

A former orphanage and elderly home for man preceded the Frans Hals Museum is this building that houses the largest Frans Hals collection in the world. For the Regenten van het Oude Mannenhuis from 1664 alone, a visit to the museum is justified. The collection provides a beautiful overview of the development of Dutch painting from the early 16th to the 18th century.

Frans Hals was 82 when he delivered the painting to his clients. Baffled by the rude nature of the work, the regenten thought his vision had deteriorated or that he had lost his mind; that the work was not finished yet. The story goes that Hals kindly replied that he did not need glasses and was extremely satisfied with the result.

Just like Rembrandt, Hals developed into a master of illusion by means of direct but loose brushwork with expressionistic traits. Hals never left Haarlem.