Although The Hague is home to many beautiful parks, the gardens at Clingendael Estate are easily some of the most impressive. For more than 500 years, aristocratic families in the area have been adding gardens to the estate. The Japanese garden is the most famous and is only open for six weeks each year. The Japanese garden isn’t the only beautiful site on the estate’s grounds.
Clingendael Estate History
The site where Clingendael Estate sits served as farmland until 1591 when Philips Doublet purchased the property. His grandson broke off the farm and built a house on the property. He was influenced by the French classical garden architecture and created the estate in baroque style. The house quickly became the center of culture and art.
Over the next several hundred years, the property would exchange hands quite a few times and the estate’s gardens grew. Today, the house is owned by the municipality of The Hague and serves as the Dutch institute of International Relations Clingendael. The estate is freely accessible and open throughout the year.
Clingendael Estate Gardens
Clingendael Estate is home to two magnificent gardens as well as a Pendulum Wall and a dog cemetery.
The Japanese Garden was created during the 20th century by baroness Marguerite Mary van Brienen, a.k.a. Lady Daisy. Throughout her lifetime, she made many trips to Japan and would bring back bridges, lanterns, plants and a water basin to use for her garden. The garden is historically significant simply because it is the only Japanese Garden from that time period in the Netherlands. The garden features a range of sculptures, lanterns, mosses, a turtle island and a stone setting shaped like a crane. Both the crane and the turtle are symbols of long life. The garden’s pavilion makes for an excellent viewing point and was designed to be a place of contemplation.
The Dutch Garden
The Dutch Garden was created in 1915 by duchess Marguerite van Brienen. Influenced by the British, the garden was modeled after the traditional British “Dutch Garden.” The design consists of several different box hedges filled with flowers. The box hedges are formed in symmetrical geometric patterns.
Lady Daisy was an avid dog lover and owned several dogs throughout her stay at the estate. Lady Daisy buried her dogs underneath a lime tree on the property. The tombstones originally stood upright, but Lady Daisy had them pushed down in fear that the stones would serve as hiding spots for snipers.
Visiting the Gardens
Due to its fragile nature, the Japanese Garden is open to the public from April 30th through the middle of June each year. The Dutch Garden is open year round. For more information on how to reach the park, visit The Hague city website.
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