Plaquette Groothertogin Sophie von Sachsen
Duindorpdam, Den Haag
52.091447401647, 4.2652051048761 View on map
Once upon a time, The Hague was rich in canals. Unlike those in cities such as Rotterdam and Delft, however, the canals in the Hague were not connected to the sea. The result: stagnant water with all its consequences. This had to change. As early as the seventeenth century, plans were made to dig a canal between the city and the sea. But it was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that this was actually achieved.
In this, the help of Sophie, Princess of the Netherlands (1824-1897), daughter of King William II and his Russian wife Anna Paulowna, was of great importance. The princess had inherited the country estates of Buitenrust, Rustenburg and Zorgvliet from her mother in 1865. The Canal, as the refreshment canal came to be called, would run across her land, and since she recognized its importance, she donated the land to the municipality of The Hague in 1885. This on the condition that nothing would ever be built on it other than the dyer canal, the Duinoord neighborhood and the Bronovo hospital.
However, a city is constantly changing and when the municipality decided, a good century later, to widen the Duindorp Bridge to a dam for traffic safety reasons, permission was requested from the descendants of Princess Sophie: the Von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach family. In 1842, the Princess had married the Grand Duke Carl Alexander von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach. Permission for the dam was obtained. The bronze plaque in the parapet on the sea side of the new dam bears witness to this. In addition to an image of Princess Sophie, the following text can be read:
In honour and memory of Grand Duchess Sophie von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, born Princess of the Netherlands, who donated the land for the refreshment channel to the municipality of The Hague in 1885.
The Duindorp Dam was opened on 7 April 2005 by Prince Michael von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach'.
The bronze plaque was made by Rudo Hartman, a graphic designer from The Hague. He develops his own fonts and mainly designs books. He is also involved as a designer in several plaques in The Hague.