No 6 (2014)

Conflicten over Haagse stadsbeelden. Van Willemspark tot Spuiforum

This sixth issue of A+BE tells in the Dutch language about the continual stride between 1860 and 2010 amongst the various interest groups involved with what the city of The Hague should look like. The thesis of the study states that the fragmented image that people in the city have or experience is the result of the wide variety of urban ensembles and public buildings, whether or not they are crowded together or even completed, that were successively presented and implemented by the interest groups involved. Stakeholders such as national and local politicians, the royal family, banks, industrialists, housing corporations, developers, architects, urban planners, and organizations of critical citizens have always been in conflict about what public buildings or iconic urban compositions should look like.

With the best of intentions each group wants to shape the city with public buildings and urban compositions in their own way and the urge to achieve this is always playing a role in the background. It is as if the city is being stripped of space, movement, and time and that only the image of the city is what counts, an image that is endlessly being reproduced in the media to influence the public opinion. The scramble over the Spuiforum is just the latest affair in a long series of incidents in The Hague. The hardhearted efforts of those involved to create one balanced townscape has only delivered more fragmented images, yet perhaps this is the city’s greatest quality.

Table of Contents

PhD thesis

Leo Oorschot