Burgemeester de Monchyplein, Den Haag
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Austere and white: this is how a new city hall arose on the Spui in the 1990s. The contrast with the previous 'new' town hall, built in 1953, could not be greater. That town hall on Burgemeester De Monchyplein was still decorated with reliefs. On the recommendation of the architect, J.M. Luthmann, the municipality had invited the Hague artists Dirk Bus, Bram Roth and Gerard van Remmen. With their reliefs and other architectural sculptures, they reinforced the representative function of the building.
In 1996, the old town hall was demolished and replaced by a modern, classical-inspired building complex by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill. Before the demolition, the sculptures of the three artists were taken to safety. Some of them have been given a new purpose in the inner garden of Bofill's complex. For example, the bridge over the pond on the side of Burgemeester Patijnlaan is flanked by two sculptures by Bus. These are his depictions of mermaids, which were originally located on the gate of the city hall.
On the other side of the pond are two statues by Roth. These also adorned the gate of the town hall. Roth depicted a boy playing the lyre on a horse and a mandolin-playing young woman, also on horseback, together with a woman playing the flute on a mount.
Like an archaeological find, a relief by Van Remmen lies further along in the grass. He has placed the goddess of wisdom Pallas Athena on it, surrounded by the goddesses Pomona (fertility), Ceres (harvest) and Flora (flowers). In the old city hall, this relief was located at one of the side entrances.
Finally, there are some reliefs around the waterfall. The two smallest ones right next to the waterfall are by Van Remmen. They are a scene of 'Jonas in the whale' and Neptune, the god of the sea. A little further on is Bus' relief of the city arms of The Hague flanked by two putti. It served purely as decoration on the façade of the Building and Housing Inspectorate. Like the other reliefs higher up on the Town Hall on Burgemeester De Monchyplein, this relief is also made of cast stone. The reliefs lower down on the façade were carved from granite.