MVRDV plans to reopen The Hague’s 17th-century canals

Dutch architect MVRDV submitted plans to the city of The Hague to reopen the city’s 17th-century canals, which were filled in during the 20th.

Working alongside neighbourhood organisations, the project aims to revitalise a run-down part of the historic centre of the Netherlands. The Hague’s role as a government centre meant that it did not rely on trade, which led to a decision to fill in most of its canals between 1910 and 1970.

MVRDV has worked with local architect BAU to make a study of the canals, and created new ones with specific uses, such as swimming canals, koi carp canals and a surf canal. Other project partners are community organisations Oude Centrum and Rond het Plein, SOS Den Haag and property owners.

The architect has built on the community’s "Spinoza Power 2.0" project, which proposes the creation of a gastronomy route, a market hall and the renovation of the red light district. Not all canals will be restored, however, as some are being used by the Hague’s tram system.

Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder, said: "All over the world, neighbourhoods like the old centre of The Hague form the backbone of tourism and provide an identity to a city, but in The Hague somehow this ancient and incredibly charming area was forgotten

"The area offers the unique chance for an urban regeneration that will improve the local economy and make a leap forward in the city’s energy transition."  

Images courtesy of MVRDV

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