Façades of The Hague #99

Statue by Kees Verkade (1941) of Louis Couperus (1863-1923), Lange Voorhout, made in 1998.

Verkade is a prolific sculptor of the human figure.

Couperus is arguably the most important Dutch novelist of the Fin de Siècle and the period before WWI.

He was a sensitive stylist whose most important titles have been translated into English.

AS FAR AS I AM SOMETHING,
…, I AM A HAGUER

A real dandy, Couperus loved a stroll in Lange Voorhout, in his day the most distinguished street of the Netherlands.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #98

Façade of a building with a shop and apartments, Wagenstraat, probably built in the 1920s.

Until 2017 here was the locally famous authentic pastry shop Gordijn (these pictures are from 2017).

Like many shopkeepers near the city centre they had to close down their business because of too strong competition of supermarkets and department stores amongst others.

Before and during the beginning of WWII the building contained Bak’s lunchroom. The Baks were Jewish.

During the German occupation they went into hiding in the village of Pijnacker, not far from The Hague, but were betrayed and were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

At the moment the building is being refurbished as you can see in the last picture which was taken recently.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017 except for the last one, which was taken in October 2019.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #97

House built mid 18th century, Wagenstraat corner Nieuwe Molstraat.

With its late Louis XIV style façade, it is one of the most impressive of old buildings in Wagenstraat.

August 23rd 1937 John F. Kennedy spent the night here as a twenty year old student during his two months European trip.

In those days the Salvation Army was housed in the building.

Clearly, the young American student didn’t care much for luxury.

Although real Kennedy fans may want to kiss its door steps, the building is a state monument now especially for architectural and stylistic reasons.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #96

War memorial, Parallelweg.

LIVING TOGETHER / FORWARD TOGETHER / STATION NEIGHBOURHOOD 4 MAY 1988

This is a memorial of the public execution of twelve persons on March 31st 1945 by the Germans as a reprisal for some Dutch resistance actions during the last days of the German occupation.

In memory of the 12 Dutchmen who were shot here by the Nazis on 31 March 1945.

People in the neighbourhood were forced to witness the execution.

The first simple monument was placed in 1946 by local people, which was replaced in 1953 by a marble plaque.

The plaque was destroyed by vandals in 1962 after which the present marble plaque was installed.

Though the monument is oddly placed in between a busy road, a tramway and a railway, it is honoured by the local community annually on Commemoration Day (4th of May).

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #95

Façade of an originally 17th century building, Dunne Bierkade.

The wonderfully decorative wooden cornice is mid 18th century and taken from another now demolished building at Spui in The Hague.

The door is early 19th century.

According to the plaque over the door one Leendert Sillevis lived here in 1785.

He was a market skipper for Dordrecht.

Sillevis was the forefather of a dynasty of market entrepreneurs in shipping between The Hague, Dordrecht and Rotterdam.

For a long time the cities of Holland (the western part of the Netherlands) were best accessible for cargo (and generally for travellers) by boat.

The building is a state monument.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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Façades of The Hague #94

Anonymous façade in Casuariestraat, once stockroom of a renowned piano dealer in the adjacent Lange Houtstraat, now part of a dancing and restaurant.

This street in the old city centre with its peculiar name was once called Sperlingstraat after one of its owners, Pieter Sperling.

It is said that in the 17th century there was a tavern called De Casuaris (“The Cassowary”), a place so questionable that the street allegedly got its name from it.

Cassowaries were thought to be quite lascivious and potent birds.

© Villa Next Door 2019

All pictures were taken in March 2017.

Bertus Pieters

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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

 

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