Overview

Madurodam

The Witte Brug (‘White Bridge’) was an elegant arched bridge. Opposite it, there was an imposing villa and close by was a dune with a fine viewpoint. During World War II, the canal became part of an anti-tank ditch, the villa was demolished and the dune was levelled. Until late 1944, the bridge was used as an entry to the high-security German militarized zone in Scheveningen. Then it too was demolished. After the war, the site was used for Madurodam, a tourist attraction and memorial to war hero George Maduro.

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Ver Huell bench

This seat is a monument to H.A.C. Ver Huell, an aristocratic alderman who initiated the replanting of the Scheveningen Woods but died a few days before the official opening in 1881. It was a popular resting place for walkers. Then, in World War II, the lake became part of an anti-tank ditch and the way to the area was blocked by dragon’s teeth and angled iron stakes. The bench was carefully dismantled and stored. In 1956 it was reinstalled, in a slightly different position but still overlooking the lake.

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Villa Sandhaghe

In April 1942, Villa Sandhaghe (Hogeweg 18) became the headquarters of the ‘Führer der Schnellboote’. From here, German officer Rudolf Petersen commanded fourteen flotillas, each composed of eight torpedo vessels and an escort ship, operating out of Rotterdam, Ostend, Boulogne and other ports. Villa Sandhaghe was linked by a tunnel to an underground command bunker in the Belvedère dune. In November 1944, the headquarters was moved to Germany and the complex was taken over by the Seekommandant Mittelholland.

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Scheveningseweg

This was once the site of the Hôtel de la Promenade, used to billet German soldiers during the occupation. At the junction of Johan de Wittlaan and Scheveningseweg there was a checkpoint and gateway to the German militarised zone in Scheveningen. Part of the Scheveningen Woods was deforested to create a clear field of fire. Much of the remaining woodland was pillaged for firewood, especially in the final desperate year of the war. By the end of the war, the Hôtel de la Promenade was little more than a ruin.

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Adriaan Goekooplaan

In the late 19th century, building entrepreneur Adriaan Goekoop acquired the Sorghvliet estate and made the Catshuis his home. Based on a masterplan by architect H.P. Berlage, Goekoop turned the estate into an area of large, upper-class villas. During World War II, most of these were demolished to make room for an anti-tank wall and create an open field of fire in the direction of the city centre. After the war, the resulting corridor was turned into a wide road called Johan de Wittlaan.

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World Forum

During World War II, this entire area was flattened. In his post-war reconstruction plan, architect W.M. Dudok proposed to redevelop it around a cluster of cultural venues. Only a small part of his plan was implemented. Dudok said that The Hague had thereby lost the chance ‘to become one of the finest cities in old Europe.’ The arrival of institutions like the Yugoslavia tribunal, the OPCW and Europol has now turned the area into an international zone with a focus on peace and justice.

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Eisenhowerlaan

During World War II, this site faced an anti-tank wall camouflaged with paintings of trees and buildings. On either side, there were gun emplacements camouflaged with paintings of windows, doors and balustrades on the sides and grass on their roofs.. On this side of the anti-tank wall, most of the buildings had been demolished. The villas on the other side stood empty, as did the majority of the Statenkwartier. The residents were accommodated elsewhere in the district or, if they had no economic ties, in other parts of the Netherlands.

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Catsheuvel

This is the end of the pre-war villa development known as Zorgvliet, which was completed by the opening of the Gemeentemuseum in 1935. The only high-rise buildings were two blocks of ‘woonhotels’. One of them stood here. Called Catsheuvel, it was a complex of luxury apartments, created as an urban alternative to villa life. The residents shared staff and enjoyed a wide range of communal facilities. The complex survived the war but was replaced in 2004-2006 by a new building in the same style.

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Museon

The Gemeentemuseum and the former school building on the opposite side of Stadhouderslaan date from before World War II. On the side nearer the city centre, the stream known as the Haagse Beek ran through a strip of greenery in the middle of a wide street. During the war, this was part of a broad stretch of no man’s land. The stream was used as the basis for a zigzag anti-tank ditch, ending immediately behind the Gemeentemuseum. The Museon stands on the line of the anti-tank ditch.

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Catshuis

This walled park surrounding the former home of seventeenth-century poet-statesman Jacob Cats is the only reminder of the pre-war appearance of this area. Most of the great villas built here for wealthy Rotterdam bankers, industrialists, port entrepreneurs and beneficiaries of Dutch colonial enterprise have now disappeared. Since the war, they have been replaced by a number of higher-rise buildings and major roads now slice through what was once an uninterrupted residential area.

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Insulinde

During the occupation, this villa at Schimmelpennincklaan 3 was requisitioned by the Germans. It was used to accommodate firstly the Nazi-controlled Dutch radio news service and later the regional evacuation service for South-Holland, which was responsible for rehousing people displaced by the construction of the Atlantic Wall. After liberation, this service was transformed into an organisation that took care of war victims and was responsible for, among other things,  the return of the evacuees.

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Martelaren van Gorcumkerk

The original Martelaren van Gorcumkerk – dedicated to the Catholic Martyrs of Gorkum – was designed by Nicolaas Molenaar Sr. and built in 1925 more or less where the Museon is now. Demolished to make way for the Atlantic Wall, it was rebuilt on its present site to a design produced by Nicolaas Molenaar Jr., son of the original architect. Opened in 1956, the church is one of the last surviving examples of his work. It is no longer in use as a church.

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Stadhoudersplantsoen

Before the war, President Kennedylaan was part of Stadhoudersplein, a road with traffic lanes on either side of the stream known as the Haagse Beek. The other side of it is now called Cornelis de Wittlaan. The houses on that side survived the war but the buildings on this side were demolished to make way for an anti-tank ditch and to create a clear field of fire in the direction of the city centre.
The broad stretch of no man’s land bisected the city. After the war, it was completely redeveloped.

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Lübeckstraat

Before the construction of the Atlantic Wall during World War II, Lübeckstraat was lined with large houses on both sides. After the German capitulation, when architect W.M. Dudok produced a new urban development plan for this badly damaged section of the town, Lübeckstraat continued to exist but completely changed its appearance. The new housing blocks were built at right-angles to the road on land previously occupied by two other streets. Semi-public green space replaced private gardens hidden behind houses.

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Maranathakerk (Maranatha Church)

The wooden roof structure of this church was designed by Swiss engineer Emil Staudacher as a prototype for use in temporary churches to be built in the devastated German cities. It arrived in 1949 in kit form on a train from Zurich and was integrated into a design by Dutch architect Frits Adolf Eschauzier.
The temporary churches project was initiated by German architect Otto Bartning. Over forty of the churches still exist in places across Germany.

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Obrechtstraat

At the end of the 19th century, banker Daniël Scheurleer developed Duinoord to serve as a residential neighbourhood for the upper and middle classes. Unlike the plainer neighbourhoods built earlier, it was intended to be spacious and playful. Obrechtstraat is a good example of the area’s long, curving streets. Originally, it continued to a junction with what is now President Kennedylaan. When the Germans began to build the Atlantic Wall, part of Obrechtstraat was demolished and the next part was included in the military zone.

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Verversingskanaal

By 1943 this area was a large stretch of wasteland. The anti-tank ditch that formed part of the Atlantic Wall was interrupted at this point by a canal built in 1888 to discharge polluted water from the city centre canals. The Houtrustkerk (built in 1936) survived the construction of the Atlantic Wall miraculously intact. It is said that the Germans feared damage to the sluices if the church were dynamited. They were – quite wrongly – afraid that this would make the city vulnerable to storm surges.

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Ieplaan

During World War II, the houses here had to make way for an anti-tank ditch designed to defend the German military strongpoint at Scheveningen. In the post-war reconstruction plans drawn up by architect W.M. Dudok, the area was completely redesigned. Segbroeklaan was rerouted and turned into a broad, landscaped traffic artery like an American ‘parkway’. Dudok saw the high-rise apartment buildings surrounding it as a rational solution to the post-war shortage of middle-class housing.

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Hanenburglaan

The Bomen- en Bloemenbuurt is built on a ridge of sea sand levelled in the 19th century to provide construction materials for the expansion of The Hague. H.P. Berlage designed a new residential development for the site and building started in 1911. Hanenburglaan was broader than it is now. In the middle of it was a stretch of water with townhouses on both sides. The impact of the construction of the Atlantic Wall is very obvious here: part of neighbourhood still retains its pre-war appearance, while the remainder is the result of the post-war reconstruction plan.

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Goudenregenstraat

The houses built here in the 1920s were demolished during the German occupation to make room for the Atlantic Wall. The stream known as the Haagse Beek, which ran along the Sportlaan, was turned into a zigzag anti-tank ditch 10 metres deep and 27 metres wide. The homes immediately around it were evacuated and the residents re-housed elsewhere. The Red Cross Hospital, dating from 1925, was also demolished. It reappeared in W.M. Dudok’s post-war reconstruction plans, but in a slightly different place.

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Goudsbloemlaan

The apartment blocks that once stood here were demolished to make room for the Atlantic Wall. The strips of public gardens with ponds and high-rise flats conjured up along the Segbroeklaan in W.M. Dudok’s post-war reconstruction plans were intended ‘to breathe new architectural life into this boring city’. The high-rise housing complex beside Goudsbloemlaan is regarded as an important example of the Dutch post-war reconstruction style. Segbroek College is a listed building.

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