The Rotterdamsebaan will become, after the Utrechtse baan, a second major entryway to the city centre of The Hague. It connects motorways A4 and A13 via a tunnel under the river Vliet with the Binckhorstlaan and railway stations Hollands Spoor and The Hague Central.
The Rotterdamsebaan pierces the Vlietzone, an area that has witnessed a remarkable inversion throughout the years. From a string of country estates along the river Vliet in an otherwise open polder landscape, it has transformed into a relatively green enclave within the urban fabric of the The Hague metropole. ‘Relatively green’, that is, but also fragmented, inaccessible and very cluttered. It is clear that this is an area which has escaped the attention of both government and project development. The result is a kaleidoscopic collection of individual elements and functionalities, and a conspicuous lack of coherence, in which the whole is much less than the sum of its parts.
The task was to develop the Rotterdamsebaan in such a way that it would, despite the major incision it brings to the landscape, improve the spatial cohesion and accessibility of the area. To utilise the construction of the Rotterdamsebaan as a means to bring back unity and shape the area’s spatial quality. The construction of the Rotterdamsebaan opens the doors for development of public parklands, makes the Vlietzone accessible as leisure area and represents a welcome upgrade for the river Vliet, and the roads and paths that run along its banks.
– Wijnand Bouw, designer BoschSlabbers
The Rotterdamsebaan will be a second major entryway for The Hague. It will also be a green gateway; richly planted slopes will determine the view and allude to the local history of country estates.
The construction of the Rotterdamsebaan is a major impulse for the development of facilities in the neighbourhood, such as amusement park Drievliet. The park is expanding and will develop more ‘bad weather’ facilities in a new domed hall. This hall will be integrated into the interplay between greenery and folded surfaces; the hall will be clearly visible without dominating its surroundings. The new hall and the existing amusement park connect with the new parklands via a new bridge for bicycles and pedestrians. Finally, a number of new bicycle routes and footpaths will improve connections between the river Vliet, the Molenvlietpark, amusement park Drievliet, the surrounding residential areas and the open landscape.
The Molenvlietpark will be developed in the wedge between country estate Drievliet, the Rotterdamsebaan and the Molensloot. In the park, a large water feature, alluding to the landscaping of historical country estates along the river Vliet, creates two different spaces, highly contrasting in terms of character, utility and shape. One space is the Meadow, the other the Reed island. They are visually framed by the woodlands of the country estates, the embankments of the Molensloot and the undulating groundworks that screen off both the amusement park and the Rotterdamsebaan. For visitors of the park, the traffic on the Rotterdamsebaan will be near-invisible.
The Meadow is a tiny remnant of a polder that used to be much larger. The design is inspired by the Molenwei, a 19th century meadow designed by the renowned Dutch landscape architect Zocher.
The Meadow is accessible via several bridges along the Molenkade, over the boardwalks or from the embankments with a cable ferry. Shell paths open up the meadow for the public. Dutch skies are mirrored in the ditches. High water levels merge seamlessly with the surface of grass, where sheep patiently graze. Pollard willows and elder trees provide depth of field for views across the still, open space.
From the sloping verges of the Rotterdamsebaan, a curved boardwalk skims across the water across the Reed Island, ending at a seating area in the Meadow. In sharp contrast with the open meadow, walkers on the Reed Island are enclosed by reedlands, on a collection of plots where the growth of reed is differentiated to create variety.
The Molenvlietpark is more than just a pleasantly landscaped parkland. It enables the wider area to remain dry-footed in heavy rains. The park functions as emergency water retention, and is designed to hold 60.000 m3 of water. This is a volume of water equal to 250.000 rain barrels!
Location: Den Haag, NL
Duration: 56 ha
Client: Project organisation Rotterdamsebaan
Contractor: Bam Infra
Cooperation: HHRS Delfland, Municipality of The Hague, Municipality of Voorburg, Municipality of Rijswijk
Image credits: BoschSlabbers, BAM Infra, DPi Animation House
Project code: HS 13-03