One street (Or: Chinatown gates in The Hague)

The Hague’s Chinatown can be found close to The Hague’s city center:

chinatown-area-the-hague

Google Maps – Chinatown, The Hague. The two busiest streets are Gempte Burgwal and Wagenstraat.

The highlight of this area is the two Chinatown gates:

chinatown-gate-at-stille-veerkade-the-hague

Chinatown gate by Stille Veerkade. If you are coming from the Holland Spoor train station, you’ll probably take Stationsweg to get to the city center. You would then pass through these gates. Continue through Wagenstraat to reach the heart of the city. 

chinatown-gate-by-gedempte-burgwal-the-hague

Chinatown gate by Gedempte Burgwal – most would see this gate as it lies close to the Grote Markstraat shopping area

The gates of Chinatown are an interesting subject. If you list to podcasts I definitely recommend 99% Invisible’s podcast episode on Pagodas and Dragon Gates, which talks about Chinatown in San Francisco. Before the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, Chinatown was much like any other part of the city, in terms of its architecture. After the earthquake there was talk of moving Chinatown into a different part of the city and using the prime real estate for something else. At least until Chinese leaders threatened to leave if this happened. So the city decided to keep Chinatown where it was and had the opportunity to rebuild Chinatown in a new style. The gates and pagodas were what the architect envisioned, but though it did not represent how China actually looked. But this image of China was very popular with tourists, and this version of Chinatown spread throughout the US.

The Hague’s Chinatown was previously a Jewish neighbourhood before WWII. After the war, the area remained for the most part vacant as only 2,000 of the 17,000 Jews returned to the city. In the 1970s the city designed to revamp this area into Chinatown, along with the nearby Rabbijn Maarsenplein which also has Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian restaurants (I highly recommend Little V).

While the gates are definitely a good photo opportunity, the best time to visit the district is during the Chinese New Year festival (post from 2013). But there are a lot of restaurants and a few souvenir shops on this street even if you aren’t visiting during the festival!

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Categories: The Hague | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “One street (Or: Chinatown gates in The Hague)

  1. I never knew the Hague had a Chinatown. It reminds me a little of the one in London.

    • I saw it pretty quickly as I moved in December 2012 and saw the New Year festivities that February. We braved the cold to stand outside (they have a lot of stuff at the parking lot behind Bijenkorf, along with parades down Wagenstraat). But since then I’ve been a bit lazy – I’ll go to the city hall some years for the other half of the festivities, since it is warmer inside.

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