Tucked away in the Rijswijk woods is a stone obelisk, a monument to the Treaty of Rijswijk, signed in the Huis de Nieuwburg palace in 1697. Find out more about this historical event and the monument that remembers it…
The tall stone obelisk statue in the middle of the Rijswijkse Bos (woods) is called De Naald (‘the needle’) and was created in 1794, nearly 100 years after the event that it honors…the Treaty of Rijswijk signed in September 1697.
Unlike most monuments, which are placed in highly visible locations with lots of pedestrian tourist traffic, De Naald seems rather hidden. You have to walk (or cycle) into the woods to reach it. Even so, it does make for a dramatic first impression. The tall leafy trees block out much of the sunlight, so that even on a bright day it can seem rather dark as you follow one of the walking trails. A clearing ahead suddenly seems like a ball of brightness and as you get closer, the brightness gives way to the De Naald obelisk, a 4-sided stone needle that sits on a raised knoll in the center of the clearing.
The ‘Treaty of Rijswijk’ was a grand event that took place at the equally grand palace Huis de Nieuwburg. The Rijswijkse Bos sits on land which was part of the palace grounds. The signing of the treaty marked the end of the Nine-Year War which was fought between France (under King Louis XIV) and numerous other ‘lands’ which eventually allied together to defeat France including Sweden, Denmark, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England and the Dutch Republic.
Representatives from all the lands came to Huis de Nieuwburg for the signing. Among other things, the treaty officially recognized Willem III, Prince of Oranje-Nassau as King of England.
In 1790, when the Huis de Nieuwburg was being demolished, it was decided a monument should be raised to the signing of the Treaty of Rijswijk (even though the agreement lasted but a short time) and to construct it from palace stone following the demolition.
The ‘De Naald’ monument was formally commissioned in 1795 and completed two years later, in 1797.