Perhaps you’ve walked around The Hague’s Chinatown and wondered, how did these little streets come to be the way they are now? Let’s find out why exactly Chinatown is distinct from the rest of the city yet appears to house more nationalities than your ‘ordinary’ Chinatown.
The history of Chinatown dates back to about a hundred years ago, before the Second World War. Back then, the area was mostly inhibited by Jewish people, who owned the stores and houses above them. However, after WWII the stores and houses were empty. The area impoverished and became one of the poorest areas of The Hague.
Around the 1970s, the city’s municipality gathered together some money to reignite spirit into the area. Soon, also due to low cost of renting store and living space, many Chinese people chose the area as their place for business. Like flowers in spring, Chinese restaurants popped up all over the place.
Time goes on
Time passes, and while life goes on in Chinatown, more and more people move in and open up their businesses. A huge variety of nationalities together create an enormously diverse Chinatown. Just look at what we’ve got now. Indonesian restaurants, a Surinamese store, even a British tearoom!
There is a little more history to cover. During a renovation period in 2008-2009, the buildings got revamped again. Aside from that, two large Chinese gates were installed at the very ‘ends’ of Chinatown. They are authentic gates, in the sense that they have been designed specifically for Chinatown by Chinese artists flown in from China. The resources used for the gates are also from China itself, all brought in to add to the authenticity and ‘realness’ of the place.
So where are we now? With the internet becoming increasingly important in people’s everyday lives, The Hague Chinatown adjusts. As you are reading this story somewhere on the internet now, whether that is the website or Facebook, you note that Chinatown is working hard to make its own online brand, aiming to connect through diversity.
Our online presence also means that we are much easier to reach. If you have a question, send us an Instagram or Facebook message. All your questions, whether about practicalities or more general, can (and will) be answered!
Today, you cannot keep a straight face and say The Hague has a true China town. It’s more of an Asia town. 😉 Joke. Of course, it’s still Chinatown. Bubble tea, anyone?