Panorama Mesdag is a unique experience, It is like stepping back in time to see the fisher village of Scheveningen back in 1881 when H.W. Mesdag painted it. It is the largest still existing circular canvas in Europe.
The Building that surrounds the panorama was purpose built
The museum building houses the panorama and more work of the painter H.W. Mesdag , and it was constructed specially for the painting, which is no less than 120 x 14 meters!
The core of the building is a large dome in which on wodden stills an artificial dune has been created on a roundabout and covered with sand. A bird’s nest viewpoint above the dune is from where visitors get to experience the panorama; it feels as if the visitor is standing on the Seinpost dune on which Mesdag stood when painting in 1881. The large canvas with the panorama painted on it is hanging on a dome like structure shows an impressively painted beach and seaside scene.
A 360° masterpiece full of optical illusions
Back in the 1880s there seem to have been several maritime panoramas similar to Panorama Mesdag, but none of these exist anymore. Panorama Mesdag’s surface area is +/-1680 m2 and it took several local artists together with H.W. Mesdag 4 months to complete it. The roundabout on which the sand dune is has a diameter of 36 metres. The dome that houses the painting has several hidden skylights in the white tent roof these make sure that the canvas always changes.
On a dark grey winter day the painting looks different than on a bright sunny one. The skylights illuminate the dome structure and create the illusion of being part of natural environment. The artificial sand dune that guides the visitors eye towards the painting is angled in such a way that the transition between sand dune and painting is fluid and it appears as one.
THINGS TO DO WHEN VISITING PANORAMA MESDAG
#1 TAKE A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK
When you leave the Panorama you will see some small holes in the wall on the right near the end of the tunnel. Don’t walk by, do take a look. You will see the structure of the dome that houses the painting.
#2 MARVEL AT THE REACTION OF OTHER VISITORS
Whenever I have guests visiting The Hague I take them there and so far everyone has been impressed and was surprised by the paintings magnificence. One of the nicest parts about visiting the Panorama is looking at the faces of the people that see it for the first time once they walk up the staircase leading up to the dome in which the painting is displayed and catch a first glimps of it. Everyone gets a sparkle in their eyes and you can see that they are immediatly drawn into the world that H.W. Mesdag has created in his 360° masterpiece full of optical illusions.
# 3 Enjoy a cup of coffee in the museum cafe
The museum cafe serves delicious Dutch food and it is filled with little quirky details, such as the Panorama Mesdag umbrella lamps.
How to get there?
Panorama Mesdag is right next to the Hilton Hotel in The Hague at Zeestraat 65
Website of Panorama Mesdag: http://www.panorama-mesdag.nl
This blog is part of my Staycation project Being a tourist in your own city -The Hague/The Netherlands, check out our other posts about things to do and see in The Hague on our where we have been page.