Royal The Hague
We can hardly imagine what impression the first trains made to our ancestors. Farmers feared the quality of their cows' milk and doctors warned that the high speed of 40 km / h would not be good for our health.
When the first railway between Haarlem and Amsterdam was opened on 20th September in 1839, it was considered a true wonder of the world. The fears turned out to be unfounded and gradually the popularity of the train increased in return of the slow barge or uncomfortable carriage.
King Willem I (1772-1843) personally stimulated the construction of the railways in our country. He invested in the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg Maatschappij (HIJSM), the earliest predecessor of the Dutch Railways, and afterwards advocated a Rhine railway that was to connect Amsterdam to Germany via Arnhem.
Elsewhere in Europe, monarchs also saw the importance of the railways for trade and industry. But not only for economic reasons. Traveling by train was also a good way to maintain contacts with other European royal houses and to get close to the nationals. It was in line with the status of the monarch and with that, the architecture of the stations became increasingly important. After all, the frost had to be able to leave in style.
After the first simple stations, true palaces appeared to the traveler. In the town of The Hague, the simple station from 1843 was replaced in 1893. The new building by the architect Dirk Margadant, who also has Haarlem Station to his name, was commissioned for the new Hollands Spoor station building by the Hollandsche IJzeren Spoorweg Organisation.
Waiting at that time was strictly divided. There were waiting rooms for the first class, for the second class a restaurant and an area for the third class. At the very highest level, the Royal Waiting Room was more of an entire waiting pavilion. The royal family had such waiting areas in a number of cities, of which those in Amsterdam, Baarn and The Hague remain.
When the royal family arrives at the station, it enters through the entrance at Stationsplein. The Royal Waiting Room is located at the left part of the station building and extends along the platform.
The entrance to the Royal Waiting Room consists of a large staircase with terrazzo floors and three stained glass windows. The windows contain personifications of the most important cities of HIJSM: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.
The monumental marble staircase leads to a large central lounge and two side salons. All rooms are richly decorated. The ceiling of the main salon contains paintings of the arms of the eleven provinces.
The mirrors are famous in the Royal Waiting Room. In the form of paintings, the monarch is made aware of the virtues and qualities, such as wisdom and vigilance, which one must have.
For more pictures check out: facebook.com/thisisthehague.
The two side salons are equipped with a marble mantelpiece with a tile tableau from the famous Hague pottery and porcelain factory Rozenburg. The salons are connected to a lavatory room. Here one could freshen up at a mahogany sink with marble top. The toilet is concealed behind a beautifully carved wooden wall. The ladies-in-waiting had their own waiting room with a slightly simpler toilet.
Times have changed, but railways and the royal family are still closely linked. A royal train is permanently available and is still in use today. For example in 2010 for the trip to Denmark, when a volcanic eruption in Iceland made air traffic impossible. Also in 2013, during their introductory visit to the provinces, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima used the train. And on King's Day in 2017, the royal family left the royal city by royal train for Tilburg.
The Royal Waiting Room in The Hague is open to the public during special tours. Do you want to know more about this special space? In collaboration with The Cultural Agenda, the NS offers the opportunity to visit this hidden gem in Hollands Spoor Station. The tour provides a wonderful insight into the travel history of our royal family. Reservations can be made via cultureleagenda.nl.