December 31, 2014
Happy New Year. Tonight spectacular fireworks at the Hague Hofvijver.
For the first time since 1749 there will be a fantastic display of fireworks at the Court-Lake (Hofvijver) of The Hague. There is music, song, laughter and at midnight fireworks.
Fireworks is ‘vuurwerk’ in Dutch. According to etymologist Nicoline van der Sijs the Dutch word was originally from German (Feuerwerk) and it was first written down at the end of the sixteenth century.
Why was there a display of fireworks in 1749? Well, in 1748 Great Britain, France, and the Dutch Republic ended the War of the Austrian Succession and signed the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, aka the Treaty of Aachen because it was signed in…. right!
The Dutch ‘stadhouder’ (stadholder, regent) Willem IV of Orange-Nassau was so happy that he and the Dutch Parliament ordered Pieter de Swart (who was the court architect) to design and build a gigantic theatre (100 by 35 metres) in the Hofvijver. On 13 June 1749 this theatrical celebration culminating in fireworks took place in the presence of thousands of Hagenaars and many diplomats.
Tonight’s event (which is free of charge) will be the first one of a new tradition. Be a witness at this historic event.
Photo source: Museum Rotterdam.