65 years of Mariahoeve: playful reconstruction

Start: Monument Juliana van Stolberg, Koningin Marialaan/corner Juliana van Stolberglaan

End: Untitled (Aerobic cubism), corner of Reigensbergerweg/Finnenburg/Boekweitkamp

Bike route: over 1.5 hours


The Mariahoeve farm once stood at 575 Bezuidenhoutseweg. The new housing estate designed in 1953 by engineer Frits van der Sluijs was named after it. Between 1955 and 1965/70 as many as 7,000 new homes for some 25,000 residents appeared where the polder used to be. Necessary to solve the housing shortage after World War II. Mariahoeve was to become a stylish neighborhood with diverse housing types for different income groups.

Van der Sluijs looked to progressive Scandinavia for his design. They experimented a great deal with parcellation, the shape of the pieces of land on which to build. In his Mariahoeve not the same blocks of flats in the same rigid patterns as in The Hague Southwest, but a variety of housing types (high and low flats, single-family homes and villas), each time combined and designed differently. Important reason for the Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed to select Mariahoeve in 2011 as one of the most important reconstruction districts of our country. Special and at the same time self-evident are the more than 30 works of art in this neighborhood. They appeared here thanks to the new percentage regulation. The government set aside 1-1.5% of the construction sum of new buildings for art commissions.

In 2023, it will be 65 years since Mariahoeve saw the light of day. The hand of Van der Sluijs is still visible. The new buildings also conform to his unique design. Get on your bike and feel for yourself how the high and low apartments alternate, how single-family homes and villas are hidden in between, how the designer has always sought different solutions for a varied environment. How the landscape, the street plan and the greenery play a role. Just like the works of art.

How does it work?

The entire bike route is mapped out, the starting and ending points are marked, as are the artworks. You can start at any location and at any time. A short explanation can be read for each sculpture. Want to know more about a specific work of art? Then click on the link and search by title, artist or via the map by street name. Curious about more art on the streets of The Hague? Go to: bkdh.nl.

Download the PDF

Bon Ingen Housz, Dirk Roosenburg, Juliana van Stolbergmonument , 1930

Like a miracle, Juliana of Stolberg was the only one still standing in Louise de Coligny Square after a misguided bombing by the British on March 3, 1945. In 1954, this monument had to move because of a redevelopment. Today, on Koningin Marialaan, the statue is not only a tribute to the matriarch of the House of Orange, but also a place for the annual commemoration of the bombing for local residents.

Turn left at Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië and then right onto Bezuidenhoutseweg. Continue cycling until you reach the pumping station.

Jan Snoeck, Reliëf en mozaïek , 1965

Here at the Carel Reinierskade begins the Mariahoeve reconstruction district. The pumping station ensures that everyone in the polder keeps their feet dry. The Hague artist Jan Snoeck was commissioned to decorate the building. On the street side he placed a concrete relief with a traditional representation of a fish. On the park side, he applied a representation in colored, square ceramic tiles in a more modern abstract style.

Walk to the right of the pumping station along the footpath to the pond in the park

Shamaï Haber, Idee , 1967

Where did those giant boulders come from here in the pond of this small polder park? Parisian artist Shamaï Haber, using over 100 kilograms of Norwegian granite, brought "real nature into the falseness of the park," as he put it. He thought the new neighborhood and park were too neat and straight. Haber created more living and playing space with his interventions. Still today, children play on the boulders.

Walk out of the park and turn left on Vlaskamp, straight ahead at the traffic circle, turn left at Sapphire Corner and then right onto Pearl Corner. At number 258, look left behind the hedge.

Frank Letterie, Moeder en kind , 1963

The family as the cornerstone of society: that was the starting point for many reconstruction districts. No wonder that in Mariahoeve, too, there are regular statues of a mother and child. They are usually realistically depicted figures, which are still very recognizable today. Like this mother taking her child on her shoulder. Although Frank Letterie depicts them simply, their posture makes them lifelike.

At the bend in the Parelmoerhorst, take the footpath toward Bezuidenhoutseweg.

Jean Arp, Scrutant l’horizon , 1964

Thanks to extra budget and the contacts of Louis Wijsenbeek, then director of The Hague Municipal Museum and secretary of the Municipal Commission for Art Assignments, Mariahoeve has two works of art by (inter)nationally famous artists. This sculpture here is by Jean Arp. This French artist did not make traditional, recognizable sculptures. In his abstract sculpture Scrutant l'horizon (Scanning the horizon) you can just discern a figure scanning the horizon here in the new neighborhood on the eastern edge of the city.

Follow the bike path along Bezuidenhoutseweg.

André Volten, Moderne stad , 1965

Through your eyelashes, it is not hard to imagine that this floating structure could be a city. Volten, like Arp a famous artist, was one of the first sculptors to work with industrial materials instead of bronze or marble. He sawed iron beams like those used in construction into pieces, creating the Modern City.

Cross Bezuidenhoutseweg and follow the bike path along Park Marlot toward the A44/Wassenaarseweg road

S. Severijn, Gevelbekroning , 1882

In the middle of this wooded park you suddenly find yourself face to face with a large city crest of The Hague flanked by two ladies. That's strange. In 1882, stonemason S. Severijn made this copy of the facade crowning the old city hall on the Groenmarkt. After the demolition of part of the old city hall, the copy eventually found a new home in Park Marlot as the crowning glory of the stately Beukenlaan and the Grand Canal.

Walk along the Grand Canal and exit the park after Huize Marlot. Turn left on Hoogwerflaan and then right at Zuidwerflaan straight through posh Marlot. At the end cross Bezuidenhoutseweg off, turn left and then bike path right to Isabellaland number 1732-1874.

Eric Boot, Zonder titel (plastiek)

The elongated Isabellaland forms the border between Mariahoeve and Wassenaar. Three extra-high tower blocks mark that border. Three artists have each created a modern, abstract relief at the entrance to the tower blocks for that time. This first relief is by Eric Boot. This sculptor always constructed an entirely unique world out of abstract, mathematical forms. He often combined more than one loose form into a new, exciting whole.

Opposite the relief, take the bike path between two flats toward Catharinaland.

Rudi Rooijackers, Moeder en kind , 1962

At this spot it is easy to see how Van der Sluijs designed a new pattern of houses and streets for each neighborhood in Mariahoeve. Here he placed low flats diagonally in the greenery. With works of art in a realistic style between the austere architecture. Like this spontaneous and playful Mother and Child by Rudi Rooijackers. A recognizable image that reflects the spirit of the times: the family as the cornerstone of society.

Follow Catharinaland on the left and drive through Isabellaland to Margarethaland. There, take the Margarethapad on the left between the flats to the Aegonplein.

Adriaan Geuze, Waterfollie(s) , 2001

It doesn't happen very often. In 2000, insurer Aegon had the square in front of Mariahoeve Station redesigned at its own expense. With the permission of the municipality it was renamed Aegonplein. Adriaan Geuze of design firm West 8 also placed a work of art there. Seven steel constructions overgrown with ivy and honeysuckle provide greenery and structure.

Cycle down Aegon Square, turn right and cross diagonally at the next intersection

Dirk Bus, Europa , 1965

This small bronze statue retells the story of Princess Europa from ancient Greece. Supreme god Zeus - Jupiter to the Romans - was in love with her. To approach her, he took the form of a white bull. When the princess climbed the animal, he kidnapped her. That the surrounding streets of this work of art bear names of European countries (Finnenburg, Hongarenburg) is definitely no coincidence.

Cycle via the Hongarenburg to the Walenburg and take the footpath on the left after the De Leeuwerikhoeve elementary school to stores on the Zwedenburg

Nico Onkenhout, Moeder Aarde , 1963

At the head of this shopping plaza is a small and understated sculpture. With this Mother Earth by Nico Onkenhout, it is difficult to tell where the earth ends and the woman begins. Like a mother, the earth also nurtures her children. The round forms echo the sculptures of internationally famous contemporaries such as British sculptor Henry Moore.

Bike on to Het Kleine Loo, cross over and turn right to the new school on Ametisthorst.

Henk Krijger, Witte zwanen, zwarte zwanen , 1962

It's that the old school principal wanted to take it with him and heritage and art-loving local residents also made a case for it: otherwise this relief by Henk Krijger would surely not have received a second version. Krijger made the original in 1962. Even though a replica now hangs there, the swans from the old nursery rhyme still stand out beautifully against the bright facade of the new building (2023) of the Walloon Louise de Coligny School.

Cycle back across Het Kleine Loo, turn left at Vlamingburg, then right on Denenburg to the shopping plaza.

Jack van Osnabrugge, Doorkijkkubus , 1978

Many neighborhoods in Mariahoeve have a square with stores for daily groceries. To make the area more attractive, works of art were later placed there. This ingenious Doorkijkkubus, for example. Everything fits, even when you walk around it. Maker Jack van Osnabrugge is actually a goldsmith, but in the 1970s he created several monumental sculptures for public spaces. In both his jewelry and his sculptures, the square and the circle are the starting point.

Cycle down Denenburg, turn left onto Reigensbergerweg and continue to the end.

Ferry Simonis, Zonder titel (Aerobic cubism) , 1989

As you cycle around this row of blue rectangles, you notice how ingeniously this series of shapes is put together. It is as if you are looking at a different image each time. Ferry Simonis is the artist. He grew up in this neighborhood. The neighborhood council commissioned him to create a work of art. Although Simonis' work was not created until the late 1980s, it does fit in well with the architecture of this newly built neighborhood.