Open Monuments Day 2014 / Open Monumentendag (part of The Hague Heritage Days) took place in Den Haag, Netherlands on the 13 – 14 September. This was a very special event geared towards locals, expats and tourists alike. Over the course of the weekend 4000 historic buildings and monuments across the entire country were open to the general public for free – 89 buildings in Den Haag itself.
Each attraction offered something different. Some held interesting and inspiring exhibitions and pop-up museums, others put on performances and special acts to celebrate this important weekend and the history of the country’s greatest, most beautiful and most fascinating historic buildings.
I was lucky enough to visit seven of these attractions in Den Haag over the course of a single morning! And now I await 2015 in order to visit the 82 remaining of course.
1) Eerste Kamer, Staten Generaal, Binnenhof 22, Den Haag
The day was not as dreary as it appears in the photos below. On the left you see the famous Mauritshuis Museum which houses Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. To the right is the Dutch parliament (Binnenhof) upon the water. This area of Den Haag is particularly special since it comprises many older and ornately decorated Dutch buildings.
Below are the Dutch parliamentary buildings as seen from the other side of the small body of water. Note the queue to enter the Eerste Kamer on this very special Open Monumentendag 2014.
The ceiling and walls are immaculate and intricate and everyone was curious to see inside the building. You couldn’t help but look up as you enter the Assembly Hall built by architect Pieter Post in the late 17th century.
2) Tweede Kamer, Staten Generaal, Binnenhof 1A, Den Haag
The colourful carpet and modern interiors are what make the Tweede Kamer very different to the Eerste Kamer.
The Oude Zaal / Old Hall – once a grand ballroom in the 18th century; recently restored in 1996 and now used for a myriad of purposes:
The Smoking Salon or Rooksalon – the former dining room of Willem V:
3) Ridderzaal, Binnenhof 14, Den Haag
Dating back to the 13th century the Ridderzaal was a major symbol for Dutch royalty. It is still considered one of the most important buildings since Dutch King Willem Alexander holds his speech in the throne room annually on the third Tuesday of September:
4) Huis Huguetan, Lange Voorhout 34, Den Haag
This building dates back to 1734 and served as a mansion for Adrienne-Marguerite Huguetan. The ornate staircase is a must-see!
5) Hotel des Indes, Lange Voorhout 56, Den Haag
By far one of my favourite buildings in Den Haag, Hotel des Indes hosted a pop-up museum in celebration of Open Monumentendag. The pop-up museum illustrates the history of the building from its conception in 1856, to its transformation into a hotel in 1881.
6) Paleis Kneuterdijk, Kneuterdijk 20, Den Haag
We got to play dress up for a couple of minutes inside the lap of luxury that is Paleis Kneuterdijk. This exquisite building dates back to 1720 and was once the residence of the Van Wassenaar Obdam family. It was later purchased by the Dutch royal family and housed exotic animals, orchards and ponds filled with fish in its garden.
7) Kloosterkerk, Lange Voorhout 2, Den Haag
This Gothic church was built in 1400 and its rather unusual and massive glass facade comprising long windows is what makes this a rather unique church.