Nassauplein has it’s say … 
What do double-sided benches, VIPs, Couperus, a bomb and a lost brook have in common? If you can guess the answer to this riddle, you certainly know your Archipel! The answer is the Nassauplein. To find out why, read on.

The Nassauplein was laid out in 1887 and called after the Dutch Royal House of Orange- Nassau (in Dutch Oranje-Nassau ). The present elongated square replaced quays which lined the ‘Haagse Beek’ stream, which still flows underground down the middle of it. It was not until 1883 that the stream was roofed over. Many years ago, the area in the middle, over the top of the stream, was laid out by the municipality as a ‘four seasons’ garden. Not much of this is in evidence now. If you venture down the central path these days, your main impression is likely to be one of litter-choked thorny shrubs rather than inspired garden design. However, you may be struck by the attractiveness of the antique wrought iron benches. One of them is still the old double-sided type, known to the local populace as ‘louse benches’ ( luizenbanken ) because of the explosions of head-lice supposedly caused by people sitting back-to-back on them.

A different kind of explosion shook the Nassauplein in October 1989, when a Spanish embassy office on the corner of Patijnlaan was bombed. Fortunately the damage was limited to a few windows.

The family of famous 19th-century Dutch novelist Louis Couperus lived at Nassauplein 4 after they returned from the Dutch East Indies and while they were waiting to move into the house being built for them in the Surinamestraat. With its lawyers’ offices, upper-class private houses, embassies and vista of the new flats in the Monchyplein, the Nassauplein still retains something of the air of distinction evoked by Couperus in his novels.


For the rest of the story about Nassauplein see pdf English translation of A&W Community Newspaper April 2006

A/W Community Newspaper, April 2006 –
Translated by JT

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Sculptor Tajiri dies

15 March 2009 – The international Japanese – American – Dutch sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri died this Saturday on 15 March 2009. He created the sculpture “Watchman” on Nassauplein. It was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence to mark the abolition of compulsory military service in the Netherlands. Tajiri is perhaps best known for his large statues of knots, like the large white one at Schiphol entitled “Meeting Point” and the one hidden behind the bus stop (as is the Watchman) outside the Shell headquarters on Carel van Bylandtlaan.

After leaving the US, where he had been interned with his parents, he met members of the COBRA group in Paris, who persuaded him to come to the Netherlands.

At first he settled in Amsterdam, but was later looking for a studio and accommodation elsewhere. He was given the use of a dilapidated castle in Baarloo thanks to a former mayor of The Hague Mr. F.G.L.L. Schols, who had also been mayor of the village of Baarlo in Limburg.

More information about Tajiri and his work: / /

Photo: Ellen Struick

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