Art in The Hague (Or: The Ball Gown)

Near the Passage there is a small alleyway called Achterom which translates to “Around the back”. It refers to the fact that this small alleyway was once the alternative entrance to the Buitenhof. The street followed The Haagse Beek (a creek or brook) and the walls of the Buitenhof.


Achterom – cutting through the Passage.


The alleyway first winds right


…and then left. In the distance is the corner of Achterom and Kettingstraat (“Necklace street”) where the Ball Gown artwork can be found


Map of how Acterom (here the white line) crosses De Passage. The red star marks the corner where the Ball Gown can be found.



De Baljurk / The Ball Gown

Opinions are divided on this art piece, but this neighbourhood definitely needed something when it was constructed in 2000. At this time a lot of old, rundown homes were demolished, leaving only the facades of the buildings as evidence of what once stood. The steel structure was designed by architect Eric Vreedenburgh.


A look from underneath


and a look from the side – at this angle you can best see the form of the dress itself

In 2005 the art and the restoration of this area won the Nieuwe Stad Prijs (New City Prize). The prize money of € 10.000.was used on lighting for the Plein or surrounding plaza. You can also read a bit about the archaeological findings from this project – from how the Haagse Beek (canal) looked back in the 15th century to and what kind of waste was dumped into it through the sewers. One of the more impressive finds was wooden bowls from the medieval era.

I’m definitely torn about how it looks. It’s a very interesting art piece but I can’t imagine living there in one of those apartments. What’s your opinion of the Ball Gown?

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