The Den Haag Gemeentearchief (the Hague City Council Archive) set up large billboards round the city of The Hague around seven years ago as part of their celebration of their 125th Anniversary.
Each of these billboards depicted photographic scenes of the city within that same 125 year time span.
They had for a time, a website featuring all of the billboard photographs, plus their locations but for some reason the site disappeared after a while.
Luckily Himself and I happened to see it before the information was removed and in a spur of the moment fit of “history-fix” decided to visit some of the billboard locations, which in turn became a challenge to try and visit them all.
With some eighty billboard locations to visit and time running out before they were removed, most of our data collection consisted of me dashing out from the passenger seat of the car, camera in hand whilst Himself found parking spots or when traffic was high and none available, driving round and round the block until I’d collected all of the photographs we needed.
Instinctively while at the locations I took photographs of the present day surroundings as well as the billboard pictures, something I found out later that the City Council Achieve had neglected to do.
With my “before” and “after” photos I set about slotting this series into my blog… it’s a wonderful slice of local history in The Hague and both Himself and I are delighted that we did it.
Todays offering comes from an area of town that has had in the past less than favourable reputation and press, but
which is slowly with the help of regeneration projects turning both the area and it’s reputation around.
Specifically the Newton Plein had an especially bad reputation with a friend recalling that (in the 1990’s) he went to visit a friend who lived on the Newton Plein, they both stepped out of the front door in order to smoke cigarettes and were in time to see a large gang of young men wander past, aimlessly keying and denting parked cars before randomly selecting one and torching it.
Both he and his friend were rather drunk, and severely outnumbered so the stood staring in disbelief until his friend told him that this behaviour wasn’t unusual, just that usually the gangs stuck to minor damage!
Fortunately this has gone from being a severely deprived area and is on the up. The neighbourhood now houses a large number of young families and home ownership has steeply increased, but most of all the socio-economic demographic has changed so the Newton Plein’s reputation is slowly being repaired.
The text on the billboard reads: “Newtonplein onthulling van het standbeeld van Descartes op 17 april 1914″ which translates into English as: “Newtonplein: Official unveiling of the Descartes statue on 17 april 1914”.
The Plein today has a new playground in it, with not just little kid thing like swings and slides but also a basketball court /football area (with tall wire fence to stop the ball from going on the road etc)… lots to keep kids of all ages occupied.