Dear Gemeente Den Haag, Mevrouw Dijkstra en Meneer Revis,
I am writing you in regard to your document ‘Presentatie Internationaal Park”. Since Den Haag is promoting itself as an international city, an attractive place for expats to live and international organisations to establish themselves, I think it makes sense if I, as an expat living for a long time in Den Haag, share my views on the Internationaal Park.
Firstly, I think it is appalling that Gemeente Den Haag uses the ‘expat’ argument as a reason to destroy what today is a quite lovely and unique nature area in the city. Us expats are more local than you give us credit for, we have also fallen in love with Scheveningsje bosjes and its surrounding areas, treasuring it for what is; a forest, a lovely water front, beautiful and peaceful cemeteries, a tranquil area in the midst of the city.
I am all for joining Scheveningsje bosjes with the “Waterpartij”, currently divided by a noisy, busy and very dangerous road. However, as opposed to your suggestion, I propose building a tunnel for the cars and not for pedestrians and bikers, thereby making a strong statement that Den Haag is supportive of a safe green environment where cars take second place and not its citizens.
Why try to imitate Central park in New York or any other big city for that matter? Us, who have chosen to live here, do so because we enjoy Den Haag. The quirkiness, the mix of an international city still small enough to be bike able and approachable. Having green areas right in the centre of the city is unique and should be treasured. If I need entertainment, the beach or city centre is just a short bike ride away. There is no need to create another busy commercial entertainment park/centre. Westbroek park already hosts several festivals including de Parade and the food truck event. Zuiderpark and het Malieveld can cater huge events, from pop concerts to demonstrations to circuses to fun fairs – where is this need for more organised and commercial activities coming from and who has stated this need?
Dear Den Haag, dare to be different. Leave Scheveningsje bosjes as it is, a beloved and well functioning area for children, runners, dog walkers, horse riders, hikers, nature lovers. Honour your name as a ‘Internationale Stad van Vrede en Recht’. Leave what is left of nature in peace and allow the citizens of Den Haag the right to choose how their city should look like.