Local Heart, Global Soul

February 18, 2013

Society Took the Farm, and Farmed it Out…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is another post in my series about historical Den Haag (The Hague). Every city grows and changes over time, but some specific areas grow and change more than others.

When the Haags Gemeentearchief  (the Hague City Council Archive) put up billboards around the city  to celebrate their 125th Anniversary a few years ago and Himself and I made it my mission to try and photograph them all.

The Gemeente (Council) placed the billboards as close as possible to where the photos had been originally taken and they made a page on their website (Dutch language only) that showed where their physical locations were etc.

Sadly both the website and the billboards were removed afterwards and so I was delighted that we managed to photograph almost every one of them with not just the “old” views that were already displayed on the billboards, but also my own photos of the areas surrounding the billboards as they look today.

This particular photograph is captioned: “Uitzicht van Monnickendamplein 17 ” (View from Monnickendamplein 17) and shows the market garden / glass houses that apparently this area was well known for as they were in 1939.

Himself told me that he seemed to remember a few open spaces that featured gardening still in the district when he was a kid, but those have long since been built on, as various apartment blocks dating from the 1970’s and 1980’s will attest.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried to find some historical facts from the Hague city Archive, but since this area mostly consisted of glass houses (as opposed to old established buildings) there was no information to be found.

Granted I spent hours looking and not days, but at least I tried.

This is  one of the billboards where, if someone who lived the area in 1939 could step directly into 2013, they would get the shock of their lives.

So much has changed, and the food, instead of coming from a market garden or greenhouse a block away, now comes from supermarkets like the Albert Hein (AH) on the other side of the road.

The land of course rose acutely in value as new houses were needed, farmland and it’s earnings could not compete with the return value of residential land,  (market forces and all that)   … it’s fate was sealed.

Society took the farm, and farmed it out to way beyond the city limits.  How little our food used to travel, and how much further it has to now. They call this progress… but I’m not so very certain that it really is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. From what I recall of this series, this area seems to have changed in the most striking way compared to others you’ve shown — considering it is turned into something utterly and completely different, almost the opposite, of what it used to be.

    I really agree with your point about “progress.”

    Comment by Luddy's Lens — February 18, 2013 @ 6:27 pm | Reply

  2. The site http://www.haagsebillboards.nl/ is still accessible!

    Comment by Wim de Koning Gans — March 1, 2013 @ 9:02 am | Reply

    • Thanks! They did take it down a while after the billboards disappeared and all you got was a “this page is no longer available” message, which I was really disappointed about because I thought it was great to keep it.
      EXCELLENT to see that it’s now back and thank you so much for letting me know, I appreciate that!

      Comment by kiwidutch — March 1, 2013 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

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