The Catshuis was lucky.

The Catshuis was also listed for demolition to make way for the Atlantic Wall. Fortunately, its owner (Adriaan Goekoop) managed to prevent its destruction by drawing the German authorities’ attention to the house’s historical importance. The walled grounds surrounding the former home of poet-statesman Jacob Cats are now the only reminder of the pre-war appearance of this area.

Prior to the construction of the Atlantic Wall, the drive of the Catshuis looked out onto a strip of public gardens on either side of the Haagse Beek. This leafy strip ran up the middle of Cornelis de Wittlaan, which linked Johan de Wittlaan to Stadhouderslaan. Johan de Wittlaan ran along the back of the Gemeentemuseum and connected the city side of the upper-class Zorgvliet residential area with the edge of the Statenkwartier. The residents of Zorgvliet were mainly wealthy Rotterdam bankers, industrialists and port entrepreneurs or people who had made their fortunes in the colonies. No fewer than 129 of their great villas were demolished to make way for the Atlantic Wall.

PictureCatshuis with Cornelis de Wittlaan on the background. Photograph: CC
Catshuis, c. 1920
Adriaan Goekoop's chilren at the Catshuis

Adriaan Goekoop's chilren at the Catshuis, c. 1912. The Hague City Archive


Gemeentemuseum. The building at the right sidwe on the background is the, 1935. Aviodrome

Catshuis, c. 1943

Catshuis, ca. 1943. The Hague City Archive

Johan de Wittlaan

Johan de Wittlaan, 1943. The Hague City Archive