City maps and artifacts (Or: Grote Markt tram tunnel)

Last week Marco and I visited the Grote Markt tram stop for a hidden gem: a 1616 city map recreated in the floor tiles and glass display cases of artifacts uncovered while constructing the tram tunnel.

The Grote Markt and Spui tram stops are found underground in the center of the city and service lines 2, 3, 4 and 6. The tram tunnel was a solution to the overcrowding of trams and cars above ground – once the tunnel was complete, the trams moved underground and cars were banned. These days only pedestrians and bikes are allowed. Of course, various problems caused the tunnel’s opening to be delayed 4 years and the cost was €100 million more than planned, but it did eventually open with much fanfare.


Looking at the area from above (from the bridge which spans both platforms)

If you want to see the recreated city map and the artefacts, visit the Grote Markt tram stop (the entrance is by the statue of Haagse Harry!). Take the stairs underground and you’ll find yourself by a bridge above the platforms. Look left and you’ll see the city map in the ground on the same side you came in on.


A look at the city map – with two HTM controllers walking away (controllers check to make sure you paid for your trip).


The 1616 map is also recreated on the wall, with the area where the tunnel would be built highlighted. During the tunnel’s construction, the surveyors were pleased to see how accurate the 1616 map was for stating where foundations and walls could be found.

The city decided to display some of the artifacts that were found during the construction of the tunnel. In total there are seven glass display cases, each hermetically sealed in the ground. The list of displays (link in Dutch) is as follows:

  1. Shoes (14th-15th centuries)
  2. Plates (17th century)
  3. Animals (15th century)
  4. Pantry items / storage (15th to 18th centuries)
  5. Around the table (17th century)
  6. In and by the fire (15th to 17th centuries)
  7. The kitchen (16th to 18th centuries)

Information about the 7 glass display cases (each is numbered)


A look at the entire board of information

Here are some of the pictures that I took:


#1 – shoes (14th-15th centuries)


#2 – plates (17th century)


#3 animals (15th century); the skull is from a horse


#4 – pantry items / storage (15th – 18th centuries)


#5 – around the table (17th century)


#6 – in and by the fire (15th – 17th centuries)


#7 – the kitchen (16th – 18th centuries)

I highly recommend having a look the next time you are in the area. It’s a nice piece of history – and so easy to overlook!

Categories: Culture, The Hague | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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