Since our doors have to stay closed to the public at this moment, we want to offer our visitors a look behind the scenes. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll introduce some of our colleagues through small interviews. They will tell you all about their job at Escher in The Palace and their love for the museum.
Host Wim la Haye
What exactly do you do at Escher in The Palace?
My name is Wim la Haye and I have been fulfilling the role of host in the museum for over 11 years now. Together with the other attendants, I welcome the visitors as they come in or show them the way through the museum. We also answer questions visitors have about the prints, the palace and the furnishings. When the visitors leave the building, I thank them for their visit and I like to hold the door open for them. So they feel a bit like the kings and queens of the palace.
What is your favourite work by Escher?
There are quite a few! I have been working here for quite some time now and my admiration for Escher has grown enormously. I must admit, before I started working at Escher in The Palace, I had never heard of him. The more I walk past his works, the more I see in them. When I walk my rounds through the museum, I like to look at his prints. I always see new things. His works are an endless source of fascination. If I were to be forced to choose, three works stand out the most: Hand with Reflecting Sphere (1935), Relativity (1953) and Waterfall (1961). This is mainly because children get amazed by these prints and ask their parents a lot of questions about them. My personal favourite remains Waterfall (1961). I think it is so special that Escher has the water flow upwards. I have never been able to do that.
What does an ordinary day look like as a host at Escher in The Palace?
In the morning, all the attendants arrive and we get briefed by the building manager on any details for that day over a cup of coffee. Then we check the rooms to ensure that everything looks as it should. We also prepare the quests for the children, although these quests are so good that plenty of adults enjoy doing them too. I am then stationed in various locations in the museum throughout the day. On the ground floor I welcome the people, on the first floor I answer questions and on the second floor I help people with our fantastic photo room, which features an optical illusion. In this room you can take photos in which children are bigger than their parents. People enjoy it so much, which makes it really enjoyable for me too.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’m happiest when other people are having a good time. Many visitors find being immersed in the world of Escher a special experience. Children in particular like talking with their parents about all the impossibilities that Escher puts into his work. Which is why I chose the three prints above, as these are the ones that amaze people the most and capture their attention for longest. I also really like the spontaneity and conviviality in the museum, especially on the more interactive second floor.
You are always busy with the art and the museum’s visitors. Can you share a special memory with us?
Gosh, after all this time here I have so many special memories! People come here from all over the world every day, so many languages, cultures and so many different experiences. Sometimes there are weddings in the palace, which I always find very romantic. Every now and then I help building manager André on receptions or dinners. For example, once there was a President from a country far away in the palace for dinner. He was surrounded by security, of course, but when I welcomed the group—as I always do as a host—the President shook my hand. While he was so heavily guarded! I felt quite special at that moment. But actually every day at Escher in The Palace is special. We have a very nice group of colleagues and visitors are always so enthusiastic about this museum. I enjoy that very much. I hope we can open again soon. We’re really eager to welcome and help visitors again.