Façades of The Hague #93

This is the public, free and unguarded bicycle storage behind Centraal Station at Rijnstraat, as seen in 2017.

It is in a small area that constantly slips from the attention of the city’s gentrifyers, while they are working hard on the area in front of the station to change that into a circus of zombie urbanism.

I must say the bike storage, or bike hotel as it is often called, and its surroundings are as ugly as ugly can be, but, in a way, i like it even more for it.

It has a gloomy character of greyness, of metal, concrete and of unruly traffic.

Under it are taxi ranks.

Some people leave their bikes in the storage as if it is an ominous asylum where you can leave your pet behind in anonymous solitude, while other bikes are just stolen.

But most people store their bikes there just for a day to catch their train or bus to their work, and in spite of the somewhat sinister atmosphere you can quite safely do so.

The bicycle is an almost integral part of the Dutch body and as bikes, being eco-friendly monsters, are becoming more important, earlier or later the town’s gentrifyers and managers will find a ‘solution’ for this rather grim place.

Let’s hope they won’t for now, as the more unsuspected, maybe even darker places of town are part of its ambiguous character.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #92

Haan (Cock) by Jan Snoeck (1927-2018), Dr. J. Presserstraat corner Escamplaan.

The sculpture was placed in 1984.

Snoeck was a prolific artist who made many sculptures for public space, many of them with his recognisable tiles in lively colours.

In spite of their popular outlook his public sculptures (like this one) usually are a bit edgy as well.

This one, a bit tucked away in the bushes at an anonymous street corner, clearly needs some thorough restoration for its original shiny brilliance to return.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #91

Small sculpture, probably representing Hop-‘o-My-Thumb, by Tom Otterness (1952), Harteveltstraat, in front of Museum Beelden aan Zee.

Otterness, who started his career with amongst others the questionable video Dog Shot Film in 1977, made this far more endearing small sculpture (2004) as part of a number of fairy tale figures along the coast next to the museum.

The small sculpture used to stand in front of the museum’s entrance, but was recently removed to stand more near his fellow sculptures, pointing towards the museum (as can be seen in the last pictures).

© Villa Next Door 2019

First four pictures were taken in March 2017, last three pictures were taken in June 2019

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #90

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.

The block is a municipal monument.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

Façades of The Hague from #72 onwards: https://villanextdoor2.wordpress.com/category/facades-of-the-hague/

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Façades of The Hague #89

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.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

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Façades of The Hague #88

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.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

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Façades of The Hague #87

This building is said to be the oldest in Oude Molstraat (though by far not as old as the street itself which dates from the Middle Ages).

It was built during the first half of the 17th century (whether 1598 marks the start of the building is not clear), with later alterations.

Originally it had a stepped gable, which was changed later.

The shop front was added probably in the 1870s.

It is a state monument.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

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/

Façades of The Hague #86

Richly decorated neo-renaissance façade, Balistraat.

It was designed by architect Johan Mutters (1858-1939) in the 1880s.

The big door originally gave access to a courtyard with stables and a coach house.

Today these have been redesigned into apartments along a small courtyard (not visible in these pictures).

The two round medallion-like embellishments over the door originally had protruding horse head decorations.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

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/

Façades of The Hague #85

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.

Bunker Widerstandsnest 302a
Bunker Widerstandsnest 302a

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.

Entrance sign 2017
New entrance sign 2019

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.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017, except for pictures 8,9,36 and 38-41which were taken in March 2019 (these are the more sunny pictures)

 

Bertus Pieters

 

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/

Façades of The Hague #84

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.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017

Bertus Pieters

 

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/