A stone obelisk near the beach in Scheveningen is a monument to the day Willem Frederik, Prins of Oranje returned from exile to lead Holland following Napoleon’s defeat…
The stone obelisk with gold ball on top, which sits perched above Scheveningen beach in The Hague, is a memorial to Willem Frederik, Prins of Oranje (1772-1843). On 30th November 1813, a month after Napoleon’s army was defeated at Leipzig, Germany, the prince returned from exile as heir to the throne of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, landing on the beach at Scheveningen. France had annexed the Netherlands in 1810.
After initial disagreements about his title and position with the provisional Dutch government that had been set up following the French army’s withdrawal, Prins Willem-Frederik was coronated ‘Soverign Prince of the Netherlands’ in a ceremony in Amsterdam in March 1814.
One year later, in March 1815, at the Congress of Vienna, Prins Willem Frederik proclaimed the independence of the country (which included present day Belgium and Luxembourg) and he was officially recognized as King Willem I of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Half a century later, on 30th November 1865, the obelisk monument was unveiled, commemorating his arrival on the beach in Scheveningen whereby he reclaimed rulership of the Netherlands for the House of Oranje.
The memorial was commissioned by his son, King Willem II, who had ascended to the throne in 1840, following his father’s abdication. It was designed by architect Arend Roodenburg.
The Dutch words inscribed in gold lettering ‘Het Dankbare Volk’ on the monument translates to ‘The Grateful People’