On one of my many walks last year, my camera and I stopped by the Sweelinckplein in the Duinoord area of The Hague.
Most Pleins (squares) in The Netherlands have streets running around the outside edge of them, or maybe one running through the centre of them but the Sweelinckplein is like a softly squashed oval with pointed ends and has been cut into three parts by a busy road and tram lines on either side of the middle section.
Because of this, people tend to know the busy centre section of the Plein very well, but may never have never discovered the quiet ends and looked around.
Sweelinckplein (‘ee’ in Dutch is pronounced as an ‘a’ sound so it’s pronounced as “Sway link pline”)
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562 – 1621) was not only a famous Dutch composer, but also one of Europe’s first major keyboard composers. Wiki tells me that: “he was the first to write an organ fugue which began simply, with one subject, successively adding texture and complexity until a final climax and resolution, an idea which was perfected at the end of the Baroque era by Bach” .
Each of the buildings on the Sweelincksplein is a ” Rijksmonumenten” (national monument / listed building) and many believe this to be one of the most beautiful Pleins, not only in The Hague but also in all of The Netherlands. The homes here all date to around the 1880′s and were popular with the wealthy elite who built their fortunes on Dutch East Indies shipping, export and import trades at the time.
Venture down to the corner closest to the 1e (1st) Sweelinckstraat and the Banstraat and you will find a lovely statue of a lady. She sits on a small brick and stone plinth in a restful pose and is quietly serene.
A most beautiful composition don’t you think?