These days, the exterior of The Hague Hollands Spoor station by and large still looks just as stately and monumental as it did when it was designed by architect D.A.N. Margadant in 1888. Once inside, the monumentality has disappeared. The station hall resembles a modern shopping centre and the rail tunnel – low, wide and smooth – would not seem out of place in ultramodern transport terminals.
Only when setting foot on the escalator to the platforms can the grandeur of Margadant’s time be seen again in the station canopies and platform buildings. The most special part of the station is the Royal Pavilion (Koninklijke Paviljoen), the ultimate in railway architecture. The Royal waiting rooms, lobbies and toilets are abundantly decorated with sculptures, stucco, stained glass and natural stone. However, this part of theensembleis situated out of the sight of the ordinary traveller, like a pearl locked within an oyster. In the fifties of the twentieth century, the interior of the station was drastically renovated by architect Schelling. There was no relation between Schelling’s and Margadant’s architecture; Hollands Spoor looked more modern, but had lost its cohesion. In the eighties yet another renovation took place, during which all Schelling’s additions disappeared.
In the current station – with the exception of the Royal Pavilion – few traces of Margadant’s time are to be found. However, reinstating his original design is not an option. Moreover, recent developments such as the addition of extra platforms and an entrance at Laakkwartier must be taken into account. A future challenge is to reinforce the cohesion behind the monumental front façade, to improve the traveller’s experience and to reinstate the grandeur in the interiors. Consequently, Hollands Spoor will be able to keep its secrets while presenting itself in a better way to the present day traveller.