A New Park, a New Panorama: Saint-Lawrence’s Planet

There was a time when I made a lot of spherical and tubular panoramas but the last one, at Kruisplein, dates back to over a year ago.

Spherical panorama of the park in front of Saint Lawrence church in Rotterdam, on a billboard in that same park in front of the church
Rotterdam, Grotekerkplein

There are two reasons for this. First of all, those little planets are actually quite time-consuming. Well, Photoshop takes a lot of work out of your hands, but you still have to work hard to eliminate minor irregularities, fill in missing information, and tweak details.

Secondly, I became a lot more critical in choosing locations. I am looking for special places, geometric shapes, beautiful compositions or other reasons. And I just do not find those very often.

City Park

But a complete redevelopment of an urban space, that is indeed a good reason for making a panorama. The Grotekerkplein, the square in front of Saint-Lawrence’s Church was turned into a city park several months ago. With that transformation the current city council has fulfilled a promise from its coalition agreement. If I wanted to be nasty, I could say that when thinking of a City Park, I envision something bigger. But anyway: it has become very beautiful and green.

Photo of the redecorated square in front of Saint Lawrence's church in Rotterdam on a sunny morning in June
Saint Lawrence’s church on a sunny day

Twelve photos

I went to the park with my camera a couple of times to shoot the base material for a panorama, but there were always reasons why it was not the right time: an odd fellow walking around, a big white van in front of the church, the grass being sprinkled.

On a sunny Tuesday morning in June, it finally made 12 photos. With the incredible Photomerge option in Photoshop, I stitched them together into this 360 degree panorama:

Twelve photos made at the park/square in front of Saint Lawrence's Church in Rotterdam, stitched together with Photomerge in Photoshop in a 360 degrees panorama
Stitched together in Photoshop

Sphere or tube?

Then the following dilemma came up: should I make a spherical or a tubular panorama? I made a rough version of both options, thanks to another miracle of Photoshop: the Polar Coordinates filter:

Rough versions of a tubular and spherical panorama of the park near Saint-Lawrence's Church in Rotterdam
Tubular panorama? No, spherical looks better…

It was immediately clear to me: in the tubular version, the church tower looks very strange. So I decided to further develop the sphere version into the following final product:

Spherical panoarama, or little planet, made of twelve photographs taken at the lawn in the little park in front of Saint Lwarence's Church in Rotterdam
Saint Lawrence’s Planet


Saint Lawrence’s Church is not only the most prominent building on this panorama, it is also by far the oldest. In fact, it is the only medieval building in the inner city of Rotterdam. During the bombing on May 14, 1940, the church was severely damaged. After that there were plans to demolish the building, but ironically that was forbidden by the Germans. There was also an idea to leave the church as a ruin like happened with the Gedächtniskirche in Berlin. It was however decided to restore the church to its former glory, although it took until 1968 before the work was completed.


The other buildings around the square/park are of much more recent date. Bottom left is the pre-war building of the city heating. The buildings left and right as well as below in the background are reconstruction buildings from the nineteen fifties. On the top left we see a residential building called the Hofdame, completed in 2007. The concrete construction at the bottom of the picture is the city stage, built in 2011 to a design by Atelier Kempe Thill.


The Erasmus statue in Rotterdam on a spherical panorama of the park/square in front of Saint Lawrence's Church.
City hero Desiderius Erasmus

On the top left we also see the statue of Rotterdam’s city hero Desiderius Erasmus. He was born in 1466 in a house to the right of the church. That location has recently been marked with a house-like monument, which entered at eight in my Rotterdam Public Sculpture Top 10.


Binnenrotte, the square on the other side of the church, is also being refurbished. When that transformation will be finished in a few months, I will try to make a panorama there too. For a panorama of Coolsingel we will have to wait until 2020, because that’s how long the work on the city’s main boulevard will take.


The Saint-Lawrence Panorama has of course also been added to my online gallery:

Gallery wall with framed prints of spherical panoramas, also known as little planets
Panoramas on a gallery wall

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