Artwork Data


Monument Eerste ballonvaart


Piet Donk






h. 205 cm

Artwork Location


Paleistuin, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.080552120727, 4.3041998939746 View on map

Artwork Description


He took off in a balloon from the garden of the Noordeinde palace. Not much later, he landed in Zevenhuizen. There, the French balloonist Pierre Blanchard was attacked by 'a boorish, brutal farmer', as he wrote himself, who tore up his 'Schuitje' and 'Bol' and also demanded ten ducats for damage to his meadow. Perhaps Blanchard wished that two years after his first flight over France he had chosen another country for his second attempt. But in 1785, the Netherlands could boast of its first balloon flight over its own territory.

To commemorate this fact, 175 years later the aeronautical study association 'Leonardo da Vinci' of Delft Technical College donated a monument to the municipality of The Hague. The concrete statue of a hot air balloon was unveiled on 24 October 1960: in the palace garden, of course.

The nice thing about the image is that the balloon is not represented, but is suggested by three enveloping shapes. The spherical shape has been cut out and therefore consists of air instead of tangible matter - appropriately. On the inside of the three leaf-like forms are intersecting lines. They represent the net that used to be stretched around the balloon. The design is by Piet Donk, professor at the Technical College. Donk was a sculptor and painter. Among other things, he made murals and sculptures of metal and concrete. His imagery ranged from naturalistic to abstract. He left the actual realisation of the monument to sculptor Martin van den Burgh, who also worked at the Technical College in the modelling department. Van den Burgh worked there under the supervision of extraordinary professor of sculpture Oswald Wenckebach (1895-1962), known for his 'Monsieur Jacques' at the entrance to the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.