History of the building at Korte Vijverberg 3
The King’s Office is based in a listed building with a rich history at Korte Vijverberg 3.
History of the building at Korte Vijverberg 3History of the building at Korte Vijverberg 3
1600 - 1700
In 1633 the town of The Hague laid out a street called Korte Vijverberg on grounds belonging to the St Sebastian militia company.
Reynier Pauw purchased the plot at number 3 and had a house built on it. Number 3 is the only building in the street that still has 17th-century features in the façade.
After Reynier Pauw, a member of a powerful and influential family, moved in, the building became known as the House of Pauw. He was a justice of the Supreme Court of Holland and Zeeland.
1700 - 1800
In 1703 Joan Pauw sold the house to Agneta de Graeff of Amsterdam for 25,000 guilders. Her husband was Jan Baptista de Hochepied, a member of the nobility.
In 1711 Johan van Schuylenburch bought the house for 27,000 guilders. He had been a member of the body charged with settling the estate of Stadholder William III. Van Schuylenburch took a great interest in the fine arts. His extensive art collection contained paintings by Rembrandt, Veronese, Van Dyck, Poussin and other celebrated masters.
Johan van Schuylenburch made alterations to his home in the style of Daniel Marot. An extra floor was added, and the 17th-century façade was crowned with a sizeable cornice, balustrade and escutcheon. A balcony was constructed above the entrance. Two small garden wings were added to the rear of the building, creating a courtyard. And the layout of the interior was redesigned.
Van Schuylenburch had the interior completely redecorated in late Louis XIV style, which has been preserved remarkably well to this day.
The house is known for the wall canvases in the Cleves room, on the left-hand side of the piano nobile. They were painted in 1725 by Dirk Dalens III, one of the leading landscape painters of his day.
Hendrik van Slingelandt, a member of The Hague’s municipal executive, bought the house in 1735 for 40,000 guilders.
Hendrik van Slingelandt died in 1759. His daughters Agatha and Elisabeth inherited the house and continued to live there.
Agatha van Slingelandt married Willem Bentinck, a member of a noble family from Overijssel, who became the owner of the house in 1762.
In 1796 Abraham Gijsbertus Verster, a member of the National Assembly, leased the house.
In 1797 Petrus Jacobus Groen van Prinsterer, a young physician, moved into the house; eight years later he bought it for 20,000 guilders.
1800 - 1900
In 1838 Groen van Prinsterer’s son Guillaume inherited the house. In time he emerged as the leading representative of the anti-revolutionary movement in the Netherlands of the mid-19th century, a group which believed that the Bible was the final authority in matters of governance. Among other things, Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer was a senior official in the King’s Office, supervisor of the Royal Archives and a member of the House of Representatives. He died in 1876.
The State bought the house from Groen van Prinsterer’s heirs for 70,000 guilders.
The State remodelled the building to serve as the district court house, combining and furnishing the rooms on the first floor to form the courtroom.
1900 - ...
In 1914 the Queen’s Office moved from its premises in the Binnenhof to the house at Korte Vijverberg 3. The basement was laid out as an archive repository, and toilets and additional space for archives were built in the courtyard.
In May 1940 the Director of the Queen’s Office followed Queen Wilhelmina into exile in London. The rest of the staff were placed on permanent leave. To protect the building during the war, iron shutters were installed, some of which were never taken down.
In September 1941 the Wehrmacht requisitioned the building and set up a casino in it.
The leader of the Dutch National Socialist Movement (NSB), Anton Mussert, established his secretariat in the building in 1943, but hardly ever used it. Fleeing from the Allies in April 1945, he left his headquarters in Utrecht for The Hague, where he was arrested at Korte Vijverberg 3 on 7 May.
Mussert commissioned the architect G.A.C. Blok to restore the building. Blok’s aims were twofold: to return the building as much as possible to its original state while at the same time bringing it into line with the demands of a modern office. To this end he installed central heating and modern sanitary facilities.
Replacing the Empire windows restored the original appearance, while the interior was also returned to its former glory. The early 20th-century archives annexe was demolished, making way for a French garden.
Following the liberation in 1945, the Queen’s Office returned to Korte Vijverberg. The Dalens wall hangings were restored in 1956.
A note on sources: The texts above are based on the book Het Kabinet der Koningin: geschiedenis van het instituut en het huis aan de Korte Vijverberg (The Queen’s Office: a history of the institution and its premises at Korte Vijverberg), edited by C. Dumas and H.P.R. Rosenberg.