Reviving The Hague's historic centre
MVRDV has come up with a plan to revive the historic centre of The Hague, reopening many of its 17th Century canals through a neighbourhood participation project, and improving, “the sustainability, economy, traffic and water management of the area.”
The plans for the city, a government centre and home of one of the world’s most important courts, are to be kept simple and realistic, as part of a pro-bono project in collaboration with various residents’ collectives.
MVRDV’s vision is based on a study of historical canals by BAU Architects, with the aim of restoring The Hague’s main canals, and creating plans for more minor ones that are either dead ends or have been lost to buildings and underground works.
Canal stubs will function as ‘urban activators’, with proposals including swimming, koi carp and even surf canals. MVRDV plan to re-join the canals running around the city’s edges, and make them accessible for pedalos and gondola-style vessels.
The new canals will be a part of ‘Spinoza Power 2.0’, a local community vision with goals including a gastronomy route, a market hall to replace an existing parking garage, and the removal and renovation of the red light district.
Winy Maas, architect and co-founder of MVRDV, says that, “all over the world, neighbourhoods like the old centre of The Hague form the backbone of tourism and provide an identity to a city, but in The Hague somehow this ancient and incredibly charming area was forgotten. The area offers the unique chance for an urban regeneration that will improve the local economy and make a leap forward in the city’s energy transition.”