Interactive Panorama Rotterdam

Digital 360ยบ city-viewer shows mariners resistance 1940

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Mariners Museum: Interactive city viewer presents Panorama Rotterdam

When you think of Rotterdam and the Second World War, you think of the German terror bombardment of 14 May 1940. On that date the truce of the unyielding Dutch Mariners was broken, and the Netherlands quickly capitulated.


Historical photos and recognizable locations of today

Much of the old Rotterdam has disappeared. This interactive installation shows the visitor the photos of the past in recognizable places of the present. Sporadically, locations can be found that look back on Rotterdam shortly after the battle of the mariners and the bombing. This modern city viewer tells about Rotterdam and the May days of 1940 in combination with the street scene of today.

The development of the Augmented Reality City Viewer:

(Sorry for the Dutch subtitles)


This special experience has been created in collaboration with various specialists in the field of archive research and mariners history, concept developers, metal workers, welders, electronics specialists, Audio design, 360 degree photography, engineering, 3D designers, 3D printers, programmers, UX specialists, animators, financiers, employees of the Mariners Museum, stage builders, graphic designers and so on.

Interactive panorama of the May days of 1940

For this special project, numerous 360-degree recordings have been brought together in a digital city viewer. A team of specialists worked on it for 6 months. Not only the hardware of the steel city viewer itself, but also all integrated electronic and digital equipment and composite archive images contribute to a new experience of Rotterdam today.

Historical awareness

If you look towards the Laurenskerk and the Markthal from the White House, you look at the situation in May 1940, it looked slightly different. By turning the touch screen, you as a visitor can view various recognizable locations in 360 degrees and realize what it looked like back then.

Interactive Panorama Rotterdam

A digital beach viewer has been developed for this project. The steel construction, the substantive panorama technique and interactive visualisations tells the story of the resistance of the Dutch Mariners in the May days of 1940 and places it in the environment of today.


A 360 degree rotatable screen shows an antique map of Rotterdam. The map contains historical photos and 3D models of important locations such as the Maas bridges, the Laurenskerk, the Town Hall, the Erasmus building and places such as those of the market hall and the cube houses. We have taken 360 degree photos on various roofs that visitors to the museum can visit digitally. Some panoramas and photos have been mixed with historical visual archive material to create a mixed picture of what Rotterdam looked like at the time. By combining old and new, a realization arises that the city has a dark past.

A digitally calibrated compass shows Rotterdam 1940 in 360 degrees

The steel console and the experience are calibrated to 360 degrees. The visitor starts in a 3D designed panorama calibrated like a compass in 360 degrees. In this 3D landscape, clouds glide by and German bombers fly overhead. You see the animated plumes of smoke and there are numerous 3D models of (still) existing and destroyed buildings. This 3D landscape is on a historical map that represented the old and the new city in the 1950s.

You look through walls

If you turn the console on its axis, you will see a protractor and the environment on the touchscreen move with it. You can visit various locations in Rotterdam via links. These locations consist of current 360 photography taken from various rooftops in Rotterdam. The panoramas are mixed with footage from 1940. The installation is located in a room inside the mariners museum, but you can see through the walls, as it were.

… welding the digital console

A very extensive project that is designed, developed, designed, supervised and implemented by ArtiShock! The archive images mounted in the cityscape of today force you to take a closer look, only then do we realize what happened at the time in places that we now unsuspectingly pass by – perhaps every day.

Historical photos mounted in current cityscape

More than 100 old photos have been collected and the content of each photo has been retrieved on location. New photos were taken from the same perspective. The old images have been reassembled there.

All locations and archive photos have been incorporated into an interactive story about the battle of the Dutch Mariners and the devastating response of the Germans to their unshakable resistance.

six months of research and development

See the photos below for a glimpse of six months of archival research into photos and locations of the May 1940 bombing. Concept development of the interactive steel installation, graphic design work and interface and technical development.

Concept sketches Virtual City Viewer
Working out the technical way things should work
Hardware we developed ourselves
Drawings and materials needed
The research team on the rooftops of rotterdam
Team history research with Hans and Nathalie
Cristian and Xander on top of the Erasmusgebuilding in Rotterdam
The team 360 degree photography with Marcel Massing en Xander Berkenhagen
The first sight of the steel console, cool!
A little glimpse into the content we've created for the console
Finetunening with Willem van Dam
Willem welds the interior into the steel construction
The Museum logo is nicely cut out in the steel frame
The rotate function is equipped with a sliding contact
The equipment is used for the first time
Willem, Nathan and Ivo check the touchscreen in the Interactive City Viewer
Now we let the City Viewer rust ouitside for a couple of day's
After-treatment with this substance prevents dirt and rust on the clothes
Logo is nicely cut out
After the console has been assembled and runs nicely, the electronics are tested again
Nathan shows principle operation with a magnetic turning mechanism.
The stage is designed according the interactive design
Graphic design of the floor that is also used in the experience
The steel console is mounted in the podium
Ivo is putting the finishing touches to the steel console
The rotating steel interactive installation is ready for use in the museum
The ominous home screen of the interactive experience!
3D design by Davey Boy Hoek
Graphic design of the map avn rotterdam after the bombing and the construction afterwards

More information

Do you want to know whether such an installation suits your purpose, such as an Augmented Reality city viewer on location, or does the method of information transfer appeal to you for other purposes?

Please contact us: 078-6314375 or mail to