The pinnacle

The new year started with a big bang: in the beginning of January the pinnacle on the corner of Frederik Hendrikplein 34 ended up in the demolition waste container. In April 2020 BAS initiated a widely supported objection to the granted environmental permit. The neighborhood, local politicians, the press and our ally The Friends of The Hague Association were shocked and angry that this damage to the heart of our State Protected City Scape Statenkwartier was allowed without further ado. The process of filing an objection to the municipality and appealing to the court lasted the entire year 2021 and at the time of writing in 2022 we are still waiting for the final decision by the judge. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done, as the owner quickly made use of the permit to destroy this historic feature before the court rule on our legal objection. The same time line applies to the similar legal process against the planned additional roof storey of Frederik Hendrikplein 30. At this moment we are still waiting for the verdicts.

Frederik Hendrikplein 34 – architectural fake history in the place of the demolished pinnacle. The case is still under appeal, but the owner has already acted in advance of the court ruling. © Maarten Ruijters

Action, action

In addition, we took action against about 30 other building plans that conflicted with the State Protected City Scape. The majority of these plans were clearly visible roof structures in landmark places and disturbingly visible roof terraces, as well as a few plastic window frames in otherwise authentic building blocs. We then submitted our expert report to the municipal Monuments and Building Aesthetics Committee, which subsequently issued their negative advice in many cases, partly based on our arguments. Where necessary we also objected to the permits granted – with and without success – or we reported illegal constructions to the municipal enforcement team (Pandbrigade). Praise is due for the Pandbrigade which always took action quickly and decisively. In half of the cases the initiative lay with concerned local residents, the other matters came to light because we keep a close eye on the daily municipal reports.

A request for a roof terrace, out of sight from the other side of the street, but disturbingly in sight from the long round bend of the street. BAS submitted an expert report and the Monuments and Building Aesthetics Committee gave a negative opinion. © Maarten Ruijters
A request for an additional roof storey which was rejected twice in the Monuments and Building Aesthetics Committee. BAS submitted an expert report for this purpose. © Taco Mooren


The Neighborhood Committee Statenkwartier asked for our advice regarding the replacement of Dick’s Snackcar at Frederik Hendrikplein, another long running and ambiguous affair. We also gave advice to local residents with questions about their own building plans or concerns about the building plans of the neighbors. We submitted two Freedom of Information Act requests, one about the new building planned on top of the Kettenis garage in the Van Beverningkstraat and one about the heavily neglected national monument Huize de Kempenaer, owned by the embassy of Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the replies to our requests arrived well after the legally required deadline for a respons and provided disappointingly little information.

The proposed new location and enlarged size of Dick’s Snackcar, still under consideration by the municipality © Google Earth, Maarten Ruijters, Paul van Leeuwen

Local politics

We also looked well beyond the borders of our neighborhood and to the future. Abe van der Werff was the secretary of a joint report of the nine State Protected City Scape neighborhoods in The Hague. This report about our shared problems was presented to Alderman Balster. There will be a follow-up meeting with the Urban Development Department. In the meantime the Municipality has started the consultation process for the forthcoming Environment Act. This Act will have a big impact for all the regulations for municipal planning and building permits. In December BAS took the initiative to draft the joint input for the Environmental Vision (the first step in the Environmental Act) on behalf of the State Protected City Scapes Neighborhoods and The Friends of The Hague Association. We submitted two documents for public participation in January. The start of the new year 2022!

Filling in the gaps!

Attentive locals roaming our Statenkwartier will notice new houses are popping up filling in the gaps between the existing building blocks. One by one, almost unnoticed. The architecture fits into the overall image of the street, you get the impression these houses have been there all the time. What is going on here? The Hague is short on housing and the municipal policy is to build extra housing in existing neighborhoods, recently also seen in the protected city sites of Statenkwartier and Duinoord. Owners of garage boxes or other low-rise buildings between the building blocks seize the opportunity to demolish them and replace them with new three-storey houses or apartments. At first sight, it is an improvement when a neglected and vacant warehouse or garage box is replaced by a well-designed new building.

Van Boetzelaerlaan: well-designed new-built housing on top of former garage boxes, 2018. © Marja Langenberg

But be aware: as regards urban planning it is often a deterioration if the open space between the blocks diminishes and the original profile of the street gets narrower. When the Statenkwartier was designed and built, the aim was to emphasize the rural character of the new neighborhood in the dunes by allowing light and air by building open building blocks instead of traditional closed building blocks. The designated use and the permitted heights -and more- of all the buildings in the Statenkwartier are specified in the current zoning plan. If the owner goes for a different use or a higher building he needs a special municipal permit. However, off late the municipality is quite easy-going in granting exemptions.

Van Beverningkstraat,
Willem de Zwijgerlaan

At the moment a proposal has been submitted for the replacement of the Kettenis garage boxes annex workshop with new-build apartments in the Van Beverningkstraat on the corner of the Willem de Zwijgerlaan. This is against the destinated use and height in the zoning plan. Let us remain alert to this development. BAS will ask the municipality about the criteria for granting permits to replace these low buildings by three-storey housing blocks.

Van Beverningkstraat : number 103 with new-built housing on top of a former workshop (2016) and the Kettenis Garage at number 101 © Marja Langenberg