Block of three white plastered houses with apartments in eclectic style, designed by Johannes Petrus Christiaan Swijser (1809-1885), built around 1860, Kazernestraat corner Nieuwe Schoolstraat.
J.P.C. Swijser, who originally started out as a carpenter and a contractor, was a very active architect in The Hague, designing many apartment blocks, villas and schools and also co-designing the royal stables.
Many features of the façade of the block are original, including the doors.
Façade of a block of apartments, Valkenboskade. Due to the Industrial Revolution the number of inhabitants of The Hague in 1913 had tripled since 1875. Areas of polder and geest were bought from The Hague’s then southern neighbour Loosduinen, which were later annexed by The Hague.
Valkenboskade is in that area and these houses were built just before the First World War. They were designed for the middle classes. This façade has exceptionally refined modernist ornamentation. It must have looked very modern for its time.
How do you design a villa? “Well, you add some balconies, some dormers, even two quasi-medieval lancet windows, a turret, and… oh well, they say it shouldn’t be too expensive; right, then we make the sides very boring indeed, after all, it’s the façade that counts!”
That is what the architect of this villa with five apartments in Nieuwe Parklaan must have thought. The building is traceable back to the 1930s.
Some important details that gave some unity to the whole façade have been changed: the pointed gable on the left and the balcony had no boarding (they used to be brick features). The Roman arched windows top right were originally open and part of a balcony (quite a specific detail of the façade).
Details of the windows have been changed as well, making them probably more practical but less elegant. On the whole, the little style the façade had, has been removed by now.
Antitank wall built by the German occupiers during the Second World War, Oude Waalsdorperweg.
The dunes around The Hague, as well as the city itself, has many relics and landmarks left by the Germans.
To the Germans The Hague was important politically, symbolically (as the traditional residence of the Dutch royal family, government and parliament) and militarily as part of the Atlantic Wall.
The antitank wall on these pictures functioned as a divide between a military training ground and Waalsdorper Vlakte (Waalsdorp Plain), where political prisoners were executed.
Today it runs from Oude Waalsdorperweg (Old Waalsdorp Road) to the northwest, with a bunker still known under its German name Widerstandsnest 302a in the middle.
The wall itself, as approached from Oude Waalsdorperweg, today indicates the line between a military shooting range and a small public park for people to walk their dogs (which seems to be the general destination for many public areas)..
The military still have a strong presence in the area.
Although the military serve the Dutch state, their presence, as revealed by fences, barbed wire and prohibition signs, creates an awkward atmosphere of power and secrecy in public space, as anywhere in the world.
Widerstandsnest 302a itself can only be seen from a distance from Oude Waalsdorperweg.
Façade of Praktijkschool De Poort (Practice School ‘The Gate’), 2de Sweelinckstraat corner Lübeckstraat.
The school was built in 2014 with classrooms for practice on the ground floor and for theory on the second floor.
Built in a late modernist style the edifice is not really a highlight of present day architecture, but despite its eclecticism it looks quite friendly, it even shows some elegance and it is well situated in the neighbourhood.
Façade of apartment block ‘t Catshuys, Jacob Catsstraat corner Parallelweg, built in the mid 1980s in the then prevailing unassuming style: too cheap to be really inspiring or playful.
The name derives from the villa Catshuis (Cats House), the official residence of the Dutch prime minister in a more prosperous part of town. The Catshuis was built for Jacob Cats (1577-1660; a poet, lawyer and influencial politician) after whom this street (Jacob Catsstraat) was named.
So the name ‘t Catshuys for this block in a high density area is intended as a humorous hint to that residence.
In the 17th century Baron Van den Boetzelaer, who signed the command to lift the protection of the De Witt brothers, which led to their cruel murder, lived here.
In the early 18th century it was redesigned and rebuilt more or less to its present state by an unknown architect in a prestigious late Louis XIV style.
During the second quarter of the 18th century it was owned by the Anglo-Dutch Stephanus Laurentius Neale, who introduced coffee cultivation in the Dutch colony of Suriname and who became exceedingly rich.
Some years after he sold the palace in 1752, he owned four coffee plantations with more than 200,000 coffee trees, 200 sugar cane fields and (yes, you expected it!) more than 450 slaves.