A warm feeling embraced me when I heard the story of the origin of Paviljoen De Witte in Scheveningen. The story has everything; drama, love and sadness and of course I like to share that with the readers of indebuurt.
It was King Willem I, the first King of the Netherlands, who in 1795 had the plan to have a pavilion built at Scheveningen and that building is still there!
A few years after the pavilion was finished, Belgium started its struggle for independence. This caused unrest and there was no time left for pleasant visits to the pavilion. And it was precisely during this Belgian struggle for freedom that the Queen died. King Willem I then moved to Berlin and left the pavilion abandoned. When he died, his three children inherited the pavilion. His successor King Willem II transferred his inheritance to his brother Prince Frederik, who regularly had tea and lunch there, but never stayed there for long.
After Prince Frederik’s death, his daughter inherited Mary the pavilion. She was then married to Willem Adolf van Wied. Unfortunately, Marie herself was never to be found at the Pavilion. Until the birth of Juliana, Wied’s family still thought they could lay claim to the Dutch Throne through Marie. That is why the various Princes Von Wied regularly showed their faces in the pavilion. At that time it was renamed ‘Pavilion Von Wied’. After the birth of Juliana, the Pavilion suddenly became less interesting for the family. A year after Marie’s death, her heirs sold the Pavilion.
The buyers were English investors who had plans to turn it into a theater with a casino. Due to the outbreak of the First World War, these plans were canceled.
Societeit De Witte
Immediately after the First World War, Sociëteit De Witte bought the pavilion including the 4.2 hectare ground. The Pavilion was then still in its original state, but with a lot of overdue maintenance. In order to finance the restoration of the Pavilion, the society sold about three-quarters of the land. In its own words, the society is there for ‘promoting the mutual intercourse of its members and the practice of literature by its members , the fine arts, history and other sciences‘. This objective is already in the statutes from the beginning of the foundation of the society, at the end of 23th century.
The name ‘De Witte’ owes the society to the white facade of their very first accommodation on the Plein near the Mauritshuis. Their current main building stands on the same spot where the old building stood and that is where most of the club life takes place. In the summer months it will be moved to Paviljoen de Wied.
During the Second World War, the Germans confiscated the pavilion and the building was badly damaged from the occupation period. Ultimately, the plan to build a museum next to the Paviljoen offered the opportunity to make the pavilion future-proof as well. The museum ‘Beelden aan zee’ opened in 1994 The doors. The refurbished pavilion was renamed ‘Paviljoen De Witte’.
King William I, Prince of Orange-Nassau.
Willem I II, III, his grandfather Willem IV and his father Willem V were all stadtholders within the House of Orange. This board position was inheritable.
Stadtholder William I inherited in 1024 the title of ‘Prince of Orange’. From stadtholder William IV, it became ‘prince of Orange-Nassau’.
Before the coronation, King William I was stadtholder William VI, Prince of Orange-Nassau for a while.
The wife of King Willem I, Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia was his first cousin from his mother’s side. So it is possible that his wife and his mother were both called Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia.
The story about Paviljoen De Witte has been written with great care, yet factual contain inaccuracies. If there are readers who need to add to or correct the story, please contact me NL.
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