Our first full day in the Netherlands was spent touring The Hague. Having never been to city, I was surprised by the number of museums. We briefly visited three museums on our first day.
A highlight of this first day was an opportunity to enter the Mauritshuis – one of the world’s most celebrated museums – before the museum opened. We were able to walk – alone – and see Vermeer’s masterpiece, Girl with a Pearl Earring. No crowds, no noise, just you and the painting. It was a magical moment. Edwin, The Dutch Travel Advisor, can also make this happen for you!
The Escher Museum
The Escher Museum is about 50 meters from the Hotel Des Indes. Formerly a winter palace for Queen Emma, it now displays the works of the Dutch graphic artist, M.C. Escher. Among the many works of art are world famous prints Air and Water (birds become fish); Belvedere (the inside out of a Folly); Waterfall (where water seems to flow upwards); and Drawing (two hands drawing each other).
The top floor of the museum is dedicated to Optical Illusions. The Escher Room makes you believe that grownups seem to be smaller than their children. The myriad of rooms contain many unusual and thought-provoking displays.
This is the closest beach community to The Hague. Although late September, there were many beach-goers. Due to time restrictions we only had time to drive through the area. Scheveningen features a wide boardwalk and a multitude of restaurants, theaters, surf shops, sporting events, beach clubs, and beach activities. A great getaway – it’s no surprise that Scheveningen is the most popular seaside resort in the Netherlands.
Panorama Mesdag Museum
The most surprising stop of the day was here at the Panorama Mesdag Museum. I have never seen a panorama painting like this. It was simply astounding. The combination of natural lighting and a sandy foreground is so realistic, you feel like you are on the beach. For me, this has become a MUST SEE for folks headed to The Netherlands. The pictures below do not truly project the experience. (Click on any photo to see a close-up view).
And with Edwin’s connections we were able to go UNDER the painting and behind-the-scene. That viewpoint and access made our experience even more substantial. If your are headed to the Panorama Mesdag Museum… we can work through Edwin to get the “full” tour.
The “Panorama” is a cylindrical painting, more than 14 meters high and 12 meters in circumference. This vista of the sea, the dunes and Scheveningen Village where painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag in 1881, with assistance from his wife Sientje Mesdag and several other painters of The Hague School.
It is the oldest 19th century panorama in the world in its original site.
When we first entered this museum, it looked like a public school in the Northeast. I was not immediately impressed by the exterior and entrance way. Then we started walking (and walking), and we encountered many, many art treasures. This museum holds the largest collection of paintings by Piet Mondrian, including his final – unfinished work – Victory Boogie Woogie (seen below) . It also had an incredible Delft display!
Our last stop in The Hague was Madurodam. If you have clients have children this is a must-stop. Where else can you see all of The Netherlands in less than an hour? Delightful for children of all ages, Madurodam is a very detailed “model” of towns and sites all across The Netherlands. Don’t have time to see all of NL, come here. It was so very realistic!
Somehow the airport looked bigger the day before….
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