Saturday, 28 November 2015

Kurhaus Scheveningen

The history of the Kurhaus

The history of the Kurhaus begins in 1818, when Jacob Pronk, a Scheveningen native, decided to found a house with:- Four rooms with bathtubs that either could be filled with either cold or hot sea water. Pronk was in the possession of two bathing carriages, which allows interested parties to drive to the sea without being seen.

Urban bathhouse

The bathhouse was a huge success, so big that there was a stone building set in 1826 with the name "Municipal Bathhouse".Here guests could find hotel rooms, a library, a billiard room, dining rooms and bathing facilities.Jacob Pronk was forced to sell his property to the city council of The Hague, which then took over management.When the spa's in Belgium threatened to win the competitive battle, it was decided then that Scheveningen had to put on some large scale project.A consortium was established, consisting of four Dutch businessmen.The consortium came up with a proposal the council agreed upon. The annual rent of 25.000 guilders  would be paid to the council until 1958.


The bathhouse was demolished and the Kurhaus was built within a year by the German architects Johann Friedrich Henkenhaf and Friedrich Ebert, the architects of the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam.
The Kurhaus was opened in 1885 and could lodge 150 guest-rooms, a large hall (the Kurzaal) restaurant La Corvette, an elevator and hot water supplies.In 1886 the Kurhaus burned to the ground, but within a year it was completely rebuilt.In subsequent years the consortium built  a shopping mall, the pier, the Kurhaus Bar, two Hotels and the Circus Theatre. 

In 1952
central heating was constructed  in the Kurhaus, until that time the hotel was really only as a summer residence. But a summer stay with class.Members of the Royal Family, heads of state and foreign guests spent their summer at the Kurhaus.
One of the biggest attractions was the music that was performed.The large hall (the Kurzaal) that was a concert hall at the time, offered every day a performance by renowned ensembles and concert musicians.Some of them were quite famous; Richard Tauber, Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, Duke Ellington, Marlene Dietrich, Bela Bartok, Leonard Bernstein.
Heads of state were received by gala evenings by the Dutch government and the Royal family.In the sixties of the last century Scheveningen changed.

In early 1970 the Municipality took over the Consortium Scheveningen, and they planned to develop a new Scheveningen, which could be exploited all year round.Given the poor state of the Kurhaus was in, they decided to a total rebuild.Cost 110 million guilders, made possible by a grant from the state when the Kurhaus was placed on the list of national monuments.


That rebuilding after the fire in 1887 was not always carefully done. There had to be replaced in the renovation
much more than originally expected.The total restoration took five years and was created under the direction of architect Bart Castle.He also designed the new part which was built on the old terrace at the Kurhaus.In the "tent-shaped" structure, a number of conference rooms and an à la carte restaurant "Kandinsky" housed.


The Kurzaal, now a national monument, is an exact copy of the old concert hall, where in the past many famous orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic as well as including Marlene Dietrich, Pablo Casals, Julia Culp and Edith Piaf had played.Only the wooden dome which dates from 1887 and the paintings on the ceiling are original.These paintings were made in 1904 by the Brussels painter N. Hook.Since these paintings
had been made on canvas, it was possible to restore and clean the paintings.The former concert hall is now a "spectacular" bar, impressive through space, the crystal chandeliers and the magnificent ceiling, intimate through the use of light on the floor with little lampposts and with gold leaf clad columns on the terraces.

The podium of the former concert hall is now the Kurhaus Bar where a "trompe l'oeil" effect painted curtains enhances the theatrical effect. Both columns in the bar as the dome in the bar are covered with gold leafs.
The famous porcelain manufacturer Hague Rozenburg is the creator of the original tile picture from 1908 on the southern wall of the Kurzaal.The tableau was presented at the 25th anniversary of the Society Zeebad Scheveningen and the names of the then Board of Directors illustrated by pictures of the former Metropolitan Bath House and the old Kurhaus.In the entrance of the Kurhaus is the blue mermaid; a draft of the Amsterdam artist Wendela Gevers Deynoot.
In spite of the fact that the concert Kurzaal is no more, it's still trying to make music. Every evening a pianist plays in the Kurzaal and on Friday and Saturday nights they have dinner dances.


  1. Love visiting and learning something new, Han. This would be an awesome place to visit. Thanks for sharing.

    Hugs and blessings...Cat

    1. Oh, it is. It's beyond my budget but I was several times for work meetings there. It is beautiful.


  2. WOW..what an awesome place.....thanks for once again adding to my education...
    hugs abby

    1. It is such a nice place, the feeling you get walking on the stairs under that ceiling.... It's just a hotel, and there are many hotels like this one of course, but it's kind of special to me.

      You know, having had the privilege of walking on those stairs....

      Old romantic fool,

  3. Interesting, Han. Even for a Dutchman.😀


    1. I'm glad you like it as well Appy. I was wondering if you were there someday?



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