The National Military Museum in The Netherlands features THE BATTLE AT QUATRE-BRAS by Jan Willem Pieneman. The aim was an open display of this painting from Koninklijke Verzamelingen (Royal collections) though how to avoid people touching the painting?


The collaboration involving The National Military Museum (NMM), Heijmans, and SmartSD was focused on addressing a unique security challenge related to the protection of a large significant painting, "THE BATTLE AT QUATRE-BRAS". Measuring over 4x6 meters, this captivating artwork depicts a crucial Napoleonic-era battle. Owned by the Koninklijke Verzamelingen, the painting is on loan to the museum for 2x 5 years. Heijmans, responsible for constructing the museum and providing integrated facility and security management, leveraged their prior experience in LiDAR detection to play a pivotal role in finding a solution for the optimal display conditions of the painting.

NMM Gallery


Located on a historic military site, the NMM is a modern facility showcasing military artifacts ranging from ancient uniforms and artillery to entire F-16 fighter jets and tanks. The painting by Pieneman is displayed in a spacious gallery hall, serving as a passage to other gallery areas and complemented by historical artifacts matching those depicted in the painting.


Paul van Brakel, the museum conservator, explained that preserving the condition of a painting is prioritized over its financial value. He aimed for an open display to enhance the audience experience, avoiding obstructive barriers or interference with space aesthetics. At the same time this makes the painting vulnerable to damage caused by people touching the painting or even vandalism. This is where the experience of Heijmans came in, as they’ve had great success with an OPTEX LiDAR detector at other sites.


To safeguard the painting, two barriers are in place: a depth structure and a 'do not cross' line on the floor. Heijmans collaborated with SmartSD to install an OPTEX RLS-2020S LiDAR detector, creating an invisible wall matching the painting's size. The detector, with Throw-In mode, can detect small objects like such as fingers, triggering an audible warning and real-time alert to Heijmans Security Control if the restriction line is crossed.

NMM collage


The painting can now be viewed up close for a complete experience, whereas being effectively safeguarded by the implemented solution. Real-time preservation security is managed without the use of extra glass or large obstructive physical barriers, even allowing the passage of people alongside the painting. The collaborative effort among multiple companies yielded a solution that meet the satisfaction of all stakeholders and benefiting the audience.


Both the conserver of NMM as Heijmans expressed their satisfaction with the supplied solution, highlighting its effectiveness in addressing the unique challenges posed by the open display of the painting. During observations, the system proved effective, deterring individuals from approaching the painting too closely.

NMM Facade