Bridge in Laan van Meerdervoort over the Verversingskanaal (Drain Channel) in between Conradkade and Suezkade, usually called Conradbrug (Conrad Bridge).
In 1937 this bridge was built to give a more solid base for the increasing and heavier car traffic in The Hague’s main western thoroughfare.
The bridge was designed by Antoon Pet (1885-1954) who, as a structural engineer and architect, was a civil servant in The Hague from 1919 until 1951.
It is a very robust bridge and at the time it was the biggest bridge (at a hundred feet) in The Hague.
It is still a local landmark, as are the two modernist buildings at the north side of the bridge: Cornerhouse (Jan Grijpma, 1929) and Panoramaflat (Piet Zanstra, 1962).
The bridge is embellished with different features, like a strange place inscribed with MANNEN (MEN), which may remind you of a forgotten war monument, but which are probably the remains of a public toilet. [Scroll down for a reaction by Casper de Weerd]
The bridge has also been provided with some sculptures, which was a fine tradition before WWII.
At the north side is a sculpture by Joop van Lunteren (1882-1958) of a boy with a toy sailboat made of a Dutch clog.
Wooden shoes were still in common use by the time.
A boy making a toy sailboat can be seen as a symbol of human, in particular Dutch and male endeavour.
It adds to the symbolism of the then modern bridge as well.
In the middle of the bridge is a monumental granite sculpture by Dirk Wolbers (1890-1957) called Veilig in’t verkeer (Safe in Traffic).
It represents a mother ready to steer her daughter and son through the busy traffic.
The traffic itself is symbolised by two small toy-like cars.
She stands there as an attractive young mother preparing her children for life in modern traffic in particular and in modern times in general.
As such they cross the bridge towards the future.
As for Wolbers himself: he died in a car crash.
At the south side of the bridge is another sculpture by Van Lunteren, representing a girl with a rabbit.
As a pendant of the boy with the sailboat at the other side, she obviously symbolises feminine compassion with creatures that need our care.
As such the whole bridge has become a symbol of modernity with traditions that have changed as a result of that modernity.
© Villa Next Door 2021
All pictures were taken in March 2017.
Façades of The Hague from #72 onwards: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/
Façades of The Hague #1 – 71: https://villanextdoor.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/
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