I am not really a person who is into paintings and other graphic arts, but without spoiling this review too much, I have to say that the visit at Museum Panorama Mesdag in The Hague and my first visit to a (painted) panorama really changed my attitude. It has been one of the most fascinating things I saw, so that I definitely wanted to share it with you. Here is my tour to a very different kind of painting.
Museum Panorama Mesdag – Location & Admission
Panorama Mesdag is located at Zeestraat in The Hague. The museum is neighbor of the Hilton The Hague Hotel at the Northwestern edge of the heart of the city center. The easiest way to reach the museum is to take a tram to Mauritskade.
Adult admission for the panorama is 15 Euro, which is quite an aggressive pricing, but worth it. However, the museum is included in the Dutch Museumkaart, so that you do not pay admission fees if you own it. The museum is open daily (apart from few holidays), 10:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Museum Panorama Mesdag – Exhibition
Before you enter the panorama, you enter an exhibition giving the historic background of the 360 degrees painting. This part of the museum is available in Dutch and English. The original idea of panoramic paintings was patented by Robert Barker in 1787 and it used to be a very popular form of arts in the 18th and 19th century. Hendrik Willem Meesdag is the main creator of this piece of arts, but his wife Sientje as well as three other painters helped him to do the panorama. They managed to roughly do a performance of 14 square meters per day. Some of the scenes have been replaced by the painter over time, e.g. in order to have different kind of weather. The panorama displays the beach of Scheveningen as at 1881. The total painting time was four months.
There are also some temporary exhibition spaces. During our visit in August 2020, the museum showed Candid, a collection of photographs of Scheveningen Beach by several local photographers. We felt that it was quite a nicely fitting add-on to the panorama.
Museum Panorama Mesdag – The Panorama
A panorama is a 360 painting. You in from one side on the bottom and walk up stairs towards the center of the cylinder, which is lit. The Panorama Mesdag is impressive by its immense size: the diameter of the painting is 35 meters, which leads to a total length of the painting of 120 meters. Its height is 14 meters, leading to a total size of 1680 square meters, roughly 18,000 square feet. You watch the painting from a platform in the center, which has a diameter of seven meters – which vice versa means that you are at least 14 meters away from the painting itself. the space in between is partially filled with sand, which leads to an even better illusion of in fact being at the beach.
The panorama gives a nicely detailed and very atmopsheric vew of life in Scheveningen in 1880. There are a lot of small side stories to explore, driven by the fact that the painting also features a lot of people during different actitivies (e.g. enjoying the city, but also military). You see on the (partially quite magnified) sections of the paintings, how beautiful the level of detail is. Due to Covid-19 regulations, you should at most stay fifteen minutes – I could have easily stayed longer in the place, just as it is so fascinating to watch and enjoy all the scenery.
Museum Panorama Mesdag – Services
In the entrance / exit area, the museum features a small cafe, which also sells basic snacks. In addition, the museum drives quite a vast souvenir store.
Museum Panorama Mesdag – My View
As already said in the introduction: visiting the Panorama Mesdag in The Hague was simply breathtaking. I absolutely love to enjoy this kind of arts – which by the way also seems to be very fascinating when you travel with your minor ones. If you are in the region, I just can highly recommend to visit this lovely place.
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