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The Hague in Escher style: do-it-yourself package for entrepreneurs festively launched

13 March 2023

In the coming weeks, more and more optical illusions will appear in The Hague's shopping areas. On Monday morning 13 March, the Escher do-it-yourself package for entrepreneurs was launched at the Bijenkorf department store, making The Hague even more the city of Escher.

In the presence of alderman Bruines (finance, economy and culture) and Paul Broekhoff (business director of the Kunstmuseum Den Haag and Escher in Het Paleis), the launch also saw the unveiling of the Bijenkorf's new shop window, entirely in Escher style.

Escher and the Bijenkorf
It is no coincidence that the Escher DIY package was launched at the Bijenkorf. In late 1933, Escher began exploring the possibilities of applying his work to commercial commissions. The first form he considered was designing wrapping paper, which he hoped to sell to a few large department stores.

Escher created patterns with logos and experimented with the names of the department stores by interlocking them in playful ways. Of the four department stores, only Bijenkorf eventually showed any interest. Escher's wrapping paper in which self-designed letters on white and black surfaces blend into each other was taken into production and used.

The Hague in Escher's style
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of artist M. C. Escher. To celebrate, there are numerous exhibitions in The Hague museums and activities in cooperation with schools and neighbourhoods. With the free Escher-do-it-yourself package, entrepreneurs can dress up their shop windows with colourful illusions inspired by the work of the Netherlands' most famous graphic artist. Already 300 packages have been requested.

In addition to storefronts, numerous iconic buildings are also being dressed up in Escher style. Friday 10 March, for instance, saw the first unveiling of City Hall, whose 50-metre-high facade is now shrouded in an optical illusion. This - like the Escher do-it-yourself package and the Escher city banners - was designed by Studio VOLLAERSZWART, an artist duo consisting of Madje Vollaers and Pascal Zwart.