Wassenaar (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɑsənaːr] ; population: 26,949 in 2021) is a municipality and town located in the province of South Holland, on the western coast of the Netherlands.

Beach in Wassenaar after sunset
Beach in Wassenaar after sunset
Flag of Wassenaar
Coat of arms of Wassenaar
Highlighted position of Wassenaar in a municipal map of South Holland
Location in South Holland
Coordinates: 52°9′N 4°24′E / 52.150°N 4.400°E / 52.150; 4.400
ProvinceSouth Holland
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorFrank Koen (acting) (CDA)
 • Total62.40 km2 (24.09 sq mi)
 • Land51.11 km2 (19.73 sq mi)
 • Water11.29 km2 (4.36 sq mi)
Elevation1 m (3 ft)
 (January 2021)[4]
 • Total26,949
 • Density527/km2 (1,360/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code070

An affluent suburb of The Hague, Wassenaar lies 10 km (6 mi) north of that city on the N44/A44 highway near the North Sea coast. It is part of the Haaglanden region and the Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area. The municipality covers an area of 62.40 km2 (24.09 sq mi), of which 11.29 km2 (4.36 sq mi) is covered by water.

Wassenaar is home to some of the Netherlands' richest residential neighborhoods as well as the country's most expensive street, the Konijnenlaan.[5][6]

History edit

There are rumours that the 12th-century Romanesque church in Wassenaar lies on the spot where the Northumbrian missionary Willibrord once landed in the Netherlands; the high dunes to the west were not formed until later.

Wassenaar long remained an unremarkable little town, known only as the home of the House of Wassenaer. It only began to gain notoriety in the 19th century when Louis Bonaparte ordered the construction of the Heerweg ("Army Road") between The Hague and Leiden, which forms the current Rijksstraatweg. In approximately 1840, Prince Frederik had the De Paauw (Peacock) palace built, where he lived for many years; it now serves as the city hall of Wassenaar.

The construction of the railway connected Rotterdam, The Hague, through Wassenaar towards its final destination the coastal area of Scheveningen in 1907, the course of which now forms the Landscheidingsweg. Wassenaar became attractive as a residence for wealthy people from Rotterdam. Buildings such as the monumental Huize Ivicke were constructed.[7]

From September 1944 to March 1945 Wassenaar was one of launching sites used by the German Luftwaffe, commanded by SS General Hans Kammler for the V-2 rockets directed mainly towards London.[8]

On one of the main routes to the Wassenaarseslag, the main beach for Wassenaarders, a World War II bunker can be found. For safety reasons and the instability of the structure, it was sealed off to prevent entrance.

The American World War II and Korean War general Haywood Hansell, who helped plan the Allied bombing offensive against both Germany and Japan, lived in Wassenaar in retirement from 1957 to 1966.

In 1982 the Wassenaar Agreement between employers' organisations and trade unions in the Netherlands was signed here. This groundbreaking agreement helped in restraining wage growth in return for the adoption of policies to combat unemployment and inflation.

The Wassenaar Arrangement, a post Cold War era arms control convention, was signed here by forty member nations in May 1996.[9]

Modern history edit

Old Castle of Wassenaar
De Langstraat, the main shopping street in Wassenaar

Since the days of Prince Frederik Wassenaar has often served as an official residence: King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, his wife, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, and their daughters lived in the villa Eikenhorst at the estate De Horsten in Wassenaar from 2003 until 2019;[10] Princess Alexia was baptized at the Romanesque church in Wassenaar. The princesses attended the Bloemcampschool in Wassenaar, founded in 1931.

In addition, the U.S. Embassy The Hague as well as several ambassadorial residences are located here, including those of Canada, South Korea, Indonesia, and Ireland. In general, there is a large expatriate community of diplomats and business people in Wassenaar, largely due to its proximity to both the international organizations and embassies in The Hague. There are several international schools located in Wassenaar, including the American School of The Hague (ASH), and The International School Wassenaar, part of Rijnlands Lyceum Foundation.

From 1970 until its relocation to Amsterdam in 2016, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) which provides research time, space and support for foreign and Dutch scholars, was located in Wassenaar[11] and the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, is situated in Huys Clingendael.

As a community, Wassenaar benefits from several parks and a network of bicycle paths. Trees, mainly beech, oak, and horse chestnut, are widespread, giving the town a green characteristic. The town centre supports a number of high-end shops, delicatessens, and bakeries as well as a cafe, bar, and restaurant. There are Football, Field Hockey, Cricket, Rugby, and Tennis clubs located in Wassenaar for locals to participate in or to enthusiastically cheer on.

Some remnants of the Atlantic wall are located on Wassenaar's beach, the Wassenaarseslag; nearly a thousand metres of underground walled tunnels are present, connecting five bunkers. The network now serves as a bat sanctuary and is not open to visits anymore.[12] The theme park Duinrell and the race track Duindigt, the only remaining grass race track in the Netherlands, are here as well.

Despite being a relatively small town, Wassenaar is well known in the Netherlands as a result of its conspicuous wealth. Areas of the town are amongst the most affluent in the Netherlands, and residents of the town have a reputation for being bekakt or posh. Wassenaar is home to some of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the nation. The Konijnen laan has an average house price of around 2.5 million Euros, making it the most expensive street in the Netherlands.[6] The Dutch artists Ross and Iba released a song entitled 'Wassenaar,' which poked fun at the wealth of the town.

Wassenaar has always enjoyed good relations with the neighbouring town of Voorschoten, with which it has shared a history from time immemorial. The House of Wassenaer, for example, historically resided in the Kasteel Duivenvoorde in Voorschoten. Recently, plans to merge into one municipality with Voorschoten have been introduced.

Museum Voorlinden was opened by King Willem-Alexander in 2016.[13]

Local government edit

The municipal council of Wassenaar consists of 21 seats, which are divided as follows (from the most recent election results in 2018):

  • VVD, 6 seats
  • Hart voor Wassenaar, 3 seats
  • Lokaal Wassenaar!, 3 seats
  • CDA, 3 seats
  • Democratische Liberalen Wassenaar (DLW), 2 seats
  • D66, 2 seats
  • GroenLinks, 1 seat
  • PvdA, 1 seat

Culture edit

Sports edit

The following annual sports events take place in Wassenaar; The Zwemloop Wassenaar,[14] which in 2024 will be organized by the Tri-Team Wassenaar, for the 28th occasion. Also, the 15 van Wassenaar,[15] which will be hosting the 10th edition in 2024.

Notable people from Wassenaar edit

Public thinking and public service edit

Alidius Warmoldus Lambertus Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer, 1935

Royal family edit

The arts edit

Theo van Gogh, 2004
  • Felix Tikotin (1893–1986) architect, art collector, art dealer; founded the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art; lived in Wassenaar.
  • Henri Friedlaender (1904–1996) Israeli typographer and book designer, lived in the attic of his house in Wassenar in WWII
  • Boudewijn Büch (1948–2002) writer, poet and television presenter; grew up in Wassenar
  • Theo van Gogh (1957–2004) film director and producer; TV director and producer; screenwriter, actor, critic and author[17]
  • Thom Hoffman (born 1957 in Wassenaar), actor and photographer[18]
  • Lorena Kloosterboer (born 1962), artist and author, lived in Wassenaar from 1972-1979 and again from 1987-1993
  • Anthony Ingruber (born 1990), Canadian actor, voice actor and impressionist, currently lives in Wassenaar[19]

Science & business edit

Annebel van der Knijff, 2017

Sport edit

Gallery edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Burgemeester Hoekema" [Mayor Hoekema] (in Dutch). Gemeente Wassenaar. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten 2020" [Key figures for neighbourhoods 2020]. StatLine (in Dutch). CBS. 24 July 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 2242LV". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 1 January 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  5. ^ "Dit zijn de duurste straten en buurten van Nederland – 1 op 25 huizen is een miljoenenwoning" (in Dutch). Business Insider. 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-06-15.
  6. ^ a b "Netherlands counts 42,000 homes worth over €1 million". NL Times. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  7. ^ "Ivicke". Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (in Dutch). 6 December 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  8. ^ "V2ROCKET.COM - Den Haag, Wassenaar, Hoek van Holland". www.v2rocket.com. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  9. ^ "Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies - Basic Documents" (PDF). Wassenaar Arrangement Secretariat. January 2015.
  10. ^ "Villa Eikenhorst | De Horsten Royal Estates". Royal House of the Netherlands. Archived from the original on 2021-11-29. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  11. ^ "History | NIAS". nias.knaw.nl. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  12. ^ vleermuisbunker.nl/
  13. ^ Nina Siegal, "Wim Pijbes Quits Post at Museum Voorlinden After Less Than 3 Months", The New York Times, 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Zwemloop Wassenaar Website". Zwemloop Wassenaar. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  15. ^ "De 15 van Wassenaar Website". De 15 van Wassenaar. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  16. ^ Glaudemans, Corien (29 April 2015). "Gemeente Den Haag eert Joods verzetsman Maurits Kiek (1909-1980) – Joods Erfgoed Den Haag". Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  17. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 24 August 2019
  18. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 24 August 2019
  19. ^ IMDb Database retrieved 12 December 2019
  20. ^ Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Retrieved 07 June 2022

External links edit

  Media related to Wassenaar at Wikimedia Commons