Around Zuiderpark

Start: Veluweplein
End: Veluweplein
Time: 1,5 - 2 hours walking

The population of The Hague grew enormously at the beginning of the 20th century. To offer the workers and their families space for sports, recreation and education, architect and urban planner Berlage designed a large Volkspark in 1908. This Zuiderpark opened its gates in 1936. Five years later, 200,000 visitors enjoyed over half a million flowers and more than fifty statues during the spring exhibition
Flowers and Statues. Two of those statues are still there.
Nowadays, there are about forty sculptures in the park: sculptures that were intended for this park, sculptures that were previously located elsewhere in the city and, since a few years, sculptures that are part of The Sculpture Gallery in the Grote Marktstraat/Spui, Open Depot.
Sculptures are regularly added and sometimes move to another location in the city. Open Air Museum Zuiderpark' therefore has a changing collection. Almost all the sculptures fit so naturally into their surroundings that residents of Escamp often thoughtlessly cycle or walk past them. For residents of other city districts, the collection is usually still unknown. High time to bring this special collection of outdoor art from The Hague to their attention!

How it works.
The entire route is marked out on the map, the works of art highlighted. For each sculpture there is always a short explanation. Want to know more about an artwork in the route? Check and search by title and artist or by street using the map.
The start is on Veluweplein at the entrance there. The walking route is counterclockwise. In itself you can join at any time. This walk will take you past 18 works of art. But there are many more sculptures to see in Zuiderpark than these 18. Curious? Check out

Route and text: Piet Vernimmen,

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Corinne Franzen-Heslenfeld, Vrouw en man , 1945

On the central reservation with your back to the Veluweplein and facing the park. This is how Berlage intended it: an almost Parisian-style park entrance. This avenue is just as impressive as Lange Voorhout. And then those two enormous statues on high plinths, Speed and Victory. Not only in 1945, but also nowadays the message is clear: this is the place to be for sports and games.

Corinne Franzen-Heslenfeld, Plaquette Droogleever-Fortuijn , 1939

That Corinne Franzén-Heslenfeld could not only make large sculptures, but could also work very precisely, can be seen here. Droogleever Fortuyn meant a lot for the construction of the park (in 1925 he opened the Zuiderpark Stadium with the kick-off). Later, he became the mayor of Rotterdam. On the left you can see the port of Rotterdam and on the right the Hofvijver with the Rutte tower and William of Orange on the Plein.

Walk straight ahead, turn right into Henriëtte Roland Holstweg. Follow this road until the small bridge on the right.

Phil van de Klundert, Kunstfruit , 1975

On the lawn in front of the Leyweg hospital, this banana, together with an apple, a pear, a tomato and a bunch of grapes, formed a 'fruit bowl' for years. Van de Klundert had made his fruit so big that even for patients on the 15th floor there was no misunderstanding: there's fruit there! But polyester does not have eternal life. Only the banana now reminds one of the fruit bowl.

Jan Snoeck, Man , 1981

Jan Snoeck's work is recognisable by thousands. They are often worm-like ceramic figures in bright colours. At the entrance to the Sparta athletics track are three more of his sculptures. Snoeck's work makes you happy, also because of the brightly coloured glaze. This seated man first 'stood' in a schoolyard on the Van Vredenburchweg. Involuntarily you start filling in body parts: head, nose, legs, feet. And a cap...

Go back a little and take the path behind the playground.

Frits van Hall, A.H.C. Briët, Jan Ligthart-monument ‘Ot en Sien’ , 1930

Nowadays, things are very different, but in the past, children learned to read with a Jan Ligthart reading board (Aap, Noot, Mies, Wim, Zus, Jet) and with Jan Ligthart reading books, such as the series 'Dicht bij Huis' (Close to Home). Jan Ligthart, a teacher in the Schilderswijk, wrote them together with Rieks Scheepstra. Ot and Sien play the leading role in these books. They are standing here in the park, being very good. For a while, anyway.

Continue on Henriette Roland Holstweg until the corner of Marie Jungiusweg.

Gra Rueb, Kat , 1939

Here you can see a nice proportion between pedestal and sculpture. On the corner of Marie Jungiusweg and Henriëtte Roland Holstweg, this cat by Gra Rueb looks deep into our eyes from above. At first glance, it looks more like a fearsome beast that could jump on the necks of unwanted visitors at any moment than a cosy purring pet. The elegant tail does not change that.

Follow the Henriëtte Roland Holstweg. Turn right before the pond.

Lidi Buma - van Mourik Broekman, Fluitspeler (Orpeus in de dessa) , 1942

The Villierskopje is the ideal location for wedding photos. Not all wedding couples will know that this hill consists of The Hague household refuse. Nor that this flute player plays the leading role in the bestseller from the beginning of the 20th century, 'Orpheus in the Dessa', the famous novel by Augusta de Wit. Things end badly for the Indian boy, but here he still seduces people and animals with his fascinating sound.

Walk further to the city farm.

Peter Kortekaas, Ram , 1983

On the grounds of the Herweijerhoeve city farm, Peter Kortekaas's ram stands at the front left. He is not standing on a pedestal, but simply on the ground, as it should be with a ram. He stands at child's height. Judging by his gold-coloured horns and coat, children are not afraid of him.

Return to Henriëtte Roland Holstweg, walk to the blue bridge on the right; cross the bridge and walk to almost Loevesteinlaan.

Rudi Rooijackers, Meisje op bank , 1961

When you come out of the park, behind the blue benches you will immediately see 'Girl on bench'. It is a girl to ask many questions to. Are you proud? Uncertain? Shy? Cocky? Were you born in Africa, in the East Indies or in the Netherlands? Like many statues in the park, the girl looks different every season. That is because of the colour of the reeds and the trees in the background.

Walk back to Henriette Roland Holstweg and turn right into it.

Aart van den IJssel, Zon , 1961

The sculptures of Aart van den IJssel often have something 'prickly' about them. Insects were his favourite subject for years. Many residents of Escamp still remember the metres-long wall decoration by Van den IJssel on the wall of the demolished Morgenstond swimming pool on Loevesteinlaan. Twenty years ago, this sun was still on Guntersteinweg, but it has been shining here near the Zuiderparktheater for years now.

Bram Roth, Vrouw en man , 1964

Bram Roth once made this sculpture for the Municipal Employment Office on the Troelstrakade. Labour is a party, it says. Like a dancing duo in a ballet studio, they twirl around each other so gracefully. The man has tools on his shoulder. Is the woman in an orchard catching apples with her apron? They are in a prime location here: on a rise by the water and the orange Pharos building in the background.

Walk down the path towards Melis Stokelaan and then turn left.

Roel Buijs, Poort , 2016

The park has also had a 'gate' at Melis Stokelaan since 2016. Roel Buijs was inspired by the gates at Loevesteinlaan and Veluweplein. These square towers look a bit severe. Up close, you can see that they consist of square planes with athletes cut out of them. The athletes are then attached to the plates on top. The higher you go, the more light surfaces there are in the towers.

Walk between the athletics track and the sports campus to the Johanna Naberweg. Look diagonally left at the other side.

Eric Boot, Driedelig plastiek , 1970

It looks like bronze, but when you tap it, you hear that it is plastic. From afar, it looked like a one-piece sculpture; up close, you can see that it consists of three separate parts. The height of the pedestals is also important here. It is an ideal sculpture for a park. It would look very different in a museum room (and at home it would hardly fit in the room).

Walk to the Rosarium.

Marian Gobius, Flora , 1945

Gobius made this Roman goddess of spring out of stone in 1945. Unfortunately, the sculpture was destroyed in the 1980s. But Gobius still had a mould of it and made a copy: now in bronze. You can still see from the elaborate garland of flowers that it was originally a stone sculpture. Note the way this 'Flora' looks into the world. This goddess can stand her ground.

Gra Rueb, Vrouw , 1941

Very occasionally, on summer Sunday afternoons, you see children playing on her knee. That is not allowed, but she can apparently take a beating. For more than eighty years she has been sitting here in the middle of the flowerbed, lost in thought. Her hands, feet and face probably looked more detailed in 1941. And look how nicely this lady is sitting on the floor. It just fits.

Peter Struycken, De Beeldengalerij , 1990

Since 2007, ADO has been playing football at the Prins Clausplein. On the site of the old stadium now stands the Sportcampus Zuiderpark by FaulknerBrowns Architects. A steel polished edge runs around the building. No day, no hour the same colour. A work of art!

Follow the Johanna Naberweg. On the right-hand corner you will see the 'Open Storage' of 'De Beeldengalerij'. Every 1.5 to 2 years, the layout of the forty plinths on the Grote Markt/Spui changes. In the 'Open Storage', the sculptures are now in the middle of the green. Moreover, the façade of the sports campus gives them a different background every time.

Thom Puckey, Eline Vere , 2012

Eline Vere', the novel by the famous writer from The Hague, appeared in 1888 in daily instalments in the newspaper 'Het Vaderland'. The whole of The Hague shared in Eline's happiness and misfortune. And on 4 December 1888, in the morning, you could hear in the trams of The Hague: "Have you heard? Eline has died." The Hague was in shock. Thom Puckey here depicts the death scene very faithfully.

Tom Claassen, Mannetje met losse ledematen , 2003

"Look mummy, a little man!", the boy shouts enthusiastically, running towards the statue of Tom Claassen. He is right, it is a man, but it does not make you happy. His lower legs and forearms are missing. At best, he can only swing his arms a little. His legs can only move backwards. He never takes another step forward. And yet, you cannot suppress a smile.