Local Heart, Global Soul

January 10, 2011

Skating on Thin Ice, …on a Tennis Court?!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m interested in local history and so when the  The Haags Gemeentearchief  (the Hague City Council Archive) celebrated their 125th year anniversary by placing many large billboards around the city  in 2009, I was out with my camera trying to photograph them all.

Each billboard was placed in the present day location, as close as possible to where the original photo depicted on that particular billboard was taken.  “Excellent!”  I thought.

The City Council also added a page to their website showing where to find all the billboards they put up

…and invited comments on the website from the general public, so that if people recognised themselves or family members  in the photo’s, or had stories to tell about the photo on the billboard, their extra information could be noted.

“Excellent!” I thought.

It’s clear then, that the City Council went to a great deal of effort to have the billboards made and displayed. The website was a brilliant help when it came to visiting them all. But, the website only showed the “before” view, the actual archive photo on each billboard. Nowhere was there an “after” photo to show people what that spot looks like at present.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then, for some unkn0wn reason, shortly after the billboards were removed, the website on them completely disappeared. Come on Gemeente Den Haag, that’s a “Fail” in my book, on both counts. Why make such a brilliant start and then not follow up on it properly?

Fortunately, at the time Himself and I really got into finding these billboards, It became a sport to locate and photograph them all. We had great fun doing it too.

Also, I took present day photos of the area surrounding the billboards, so you can see just how much (or in some cases how little) has changed.

It was my intention last year to try and research each one, but in the end life was just too busy so I think I better just get around to sharing what I have found.

This one is called ” IJsbaan op tennispark Mariahoeve aan het Kleine Loo / foto stokvis / Januari 1966″  (ice-rink on the Mariahoeve tennis courts on the Kleine Loo / photo by Stokvis / January 1966)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Mariahoeve being the name of the suburb and het Kleine Loo being the name of the street where it is located.

The title of the photo tells us that there was a tennis court here in 1966, and it was fairly common practice to ask permission to flood these sorts of places with water during freezing weather so that they could then be utilized as temporary ice-rinks.

Ice-skating, then as now, is a very popular, national sport in The Netherlands.

Note that in the archive billboard photo, it appears that the tall flats in the background were just being built at the time.

As far as I know the tennis courts are no longer used as ice-rinks in the winter, as there are other areas that they use these days for skating (and probably the modern surfaces of tennis courts are too expensive and might be damaged by skating on them)

I’ve taken a few extra photos to bring you up to date with the area as it looks today.

The Tennis courts are still around, and it’s become council policy to let the grasses and wildflowers grow each Summer as long as possible to allow butterflies and insects to flourish.

“Excellent!” I thought.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. That’s great that they put those billboards up! Too bad they didn’t keep the website info. I love stuff like this and did a similar project of my own not too long after moving here, based on a calendar of old photos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/abnetsel/sets/72157611560180251/

    Comment by Alison — January 10, 2011 @ 3:39 am | Reply

  2. Brilliant photos Alison, I have been going though them all. It’s striking that there were so few cars (of course, natural for the time these were taken)that quite a few of the tram-lines have disappeared and wonderfully, that so many of the buildings remain. I love the ladies posing on their shopping trip LOL, and it was nice to see the horses, carts and carriages too. I have more billboard photos you’ll be seeing more of them from time to time.

    Comment by kiwidutch — January 10, 2011 @ 7:08 am | Reply

  3. Cool stuff. I always find before and after history photos like this interesting. There is a basketball court outside my apartment building and they still flood that at winter to turn it into a skating rink

    Comment by Invader_Stu — January 10, 2011 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  4. There is an insert called “The Globe Magazine” that comes in the Sunday paper. It will often contain before and after pictures of prominant areas in Boston along with a write-up of the history. It is always amazing to see how the city has changed. I wish our local paper would do this for our City.

    This just sparked a thought for me. By a twist of fate, I actually have old photos of our home from the early 30’s. I’m thinking it would be fun to post an old photo along with a present day image?

    Comment by milkayphoto — January 12, 2011 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

    • Tracey can you hear me? YES YES YES!!! PLEASE post your Old and New’s, I’d LOVE to see them! There is nothing like the internet for sharing local history and it’s brilliant to learn how our cultures evolve, one building at a time.

      Comment by kiwidutch — January 12, 2011 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

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