Plaça de Wilhelmina Naaldwijk
Plaça de Wilhelmina Naaldwijk
Naaldwijk Wilhelmina Square
The Wilhelmina Square is the historic heart of Naaldwijk, the central urban core in the Westland area with a wide range of shops and catering facilities. Not surprisingly, the square is used for many activities such as markets, leisure activities, entertainment and events. The square thus not only has significance for the immediate area but also for Naaldwijk and Westland as a whole.
The former layout of the Wilhelmina Square was not particularly attractive. The square was mostly empty. This was convenient for the weekly market and (large) events, but it also ensured that on ordinary days the square is a windy place that feels empty and cheerless. The square also lacked a system in which multiple functions could coexist.
Intensive participation process
The municipality of Westland had the ambition to transform the Wilhelmina Square in Naaldwijk into an attractive and bustling square. To achieve this a participation process was set-up in which all interested parties, such as market traders, restaurateurs, retailers, the church council, residents and visitors could contribute their ideas.
In an intensive process and guided by HOSPER a clear image of the desired spatial design, including the use of the square, emerged. During this process there were sessions with a wide range of people, and workshops with a "focus group" in which the different interest groups were represented. Extraordinary in this project was that everyone, including the Municipality, started the participation process with an open mind. In the first meeting a unanimous idea for a classic and intimate square emerged. After the initial design the focus was on bringing all the different interests together. This approach worked out very well in the end.
By emphasizing the historical character, the central positioning of the monumental village pump and adding vegetation and seating areas the square is more comfortable, more secure and a better place to linger. Within this spatial design the various functions and activities on the square, such as the weekly market, an improved positioning of the terraces and space for various events, were incorporated.
The night view of the square is atmospheric. The historic lampposts and fittings, with candle-like modern LED technology, will evoke a soft atmospheric evening picture. Several lanterns in the square mounted on a height of 3 meters, will ensure a uniform level of light at eye level. In the middle of the square the monumental village pump and the new spray-fountains will be illuminated. Around the square the facades of the Old Church and the Old City Hall will be highlighted. The various beautifully detailed facades around the square will be accentuated by ground spots.
A real classic
The residents wished that the square would once again radiate an old-Dutch atmosphere befitting a historic city centre with historical buildings. An atmospheric evening image was also important to them. Taking these elements as starting points for the design, has created a much more pleasant balance between the old buildings and the more recent additions from the ’70 and ’80.
By applying todays materials and techniques, the Wilhelmina square also became a modern public space. An exception is the monumental village pump, which now has a central place on the square. This restored pump was donated in 1629 by Frederik Hendrik, Prince of Orange, and had an important function but was positioned out of sight in a corner of the square. Repositioned the middle of the square and with seating elements around it, the pump has become a meeting point in the village again. From here there is a nice view on the square. Fourteen spray-fountains and a foot carillon provide liveliness and fun for children especially on sunny days.
The new resistant elm trees and the 'carpet' of mixed brick paving material, as they traditionally occur in Dutch historic city centers, complete the square. The pattern of lines of natural stone emphasize the diagonal position of the Old Church.
The classic luminaires on the square are real eye-catchers. With the public lighting it has now become possible, by the dimmable system and the RGBWleds, to evoke a special atmosphere at events ranging from romantic to festive and exuberant at a festival. This substantially increases the functionality of the square.
After a tight implementation schedule of less than 4 months, the square was opened just before Christmas 2017. In his opening speech, alderman Theo Duijvestijn praised the end result: "The Wilhelmina square once again exudes class and offers the potential to be the lively heart of Naaldwijk for years and years." Not only the alderman is satisfied according to Henri Jansen, project leader of the Municipality. "We receive nothing but praise for the new square, both from the residents and the city council."