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Dutch royal railway waiting rooms
January 28, 2012 8:32 AM   Subscribe

Dutch royal railway waiting rooms The Dutch railway system has published 360 degree videos of the waiting rooms that were constructed for the royal family at the end of the 19th century.

Anyone who has stood on perron 1 of Amsterdam station looking at the ornate fence guarding the royal waiting room will appreciate being able to have a look inside.
All the descriptions are in Dutch.
posted by joost de vries (29 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's pretty incredible. Does anyone get to use these today?
posted by grouse at 8:44 AM on January 28, 2012


Now say "royal railway" five times fast.
posted by entropone at 8:50 AM on January 28, 2012


No they're hardly used anymore.
posted by joost de vries at 8:52 AM on January 28, 2012


It seems they are still cleaned and maintained, though. Must be costly for something which is almost never used.
posted by grouse at 9:09 AM on January 28, 2012


The whole monarchy is costly for something that's almost never used.
posted by monospace at 9:23 AM on January 28, 2012 [24 favorites]


I remember when (some) of the waiting rooms of British Rail stations had open coal fires... they were great, but you tell that to the kids nowadays and they don't believe you!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:24 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


How delightfully provincial. Of course, when I was a page at the Kaiser's Court, such modest facilities would be mistaken for the Wasserklosetts, but I do find the Dutch Modesty quite charming.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:48 AM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


monospace: "The whole monarchy is costly for something that's almost never used."

Exactly. Just like fire insurance.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:52 AM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Looks like someone was trying to work through a gilt complex.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:54 AM on January 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was surprised at the uncomfortable-looking seats, but then I realized that there was probably never much waiting going on in there anyway - by definition, Their Majesties are pretty much always on time.

I have a soft spot for the Dutch Royals - they were guests in our country during the War, and still insist on sending us lovely tulips every year to say thanks. Also, I discovered that if you're travelling in the Netherlands and find yourself drinking in a bar full of people old enough to remember, it is sometimes difficult for a Canadian to pay for their own beer. I found that charming, in a very liquid way.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 10:01 AM on January 28, 2012 [19 favorites]


Something to go along with these waiting rooms would be the royal passenger car(s). The Railway Museum (available in English) had a exposition on royal training called Royal Class, vorstelijk rijzen (Dutch only). Check that link for pictures and a YouTube clip.
posted by Martijn at 10:03 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here are Queen Victoria's versions: the royal waiting room at Paddington and the one at Windsor. Unfortunately the British railway network isn't good at looking after its heritage, and the royal waiting room at Windsor has now been converted into offices.
posted by verstegan at 11:31 AM on January 28, 2012


Also, I discovered that if you're travelling in the Netherlands and find yourself drinking in a bar full of people old enough to remember, it is sometimes difficult for a Canadian to pay for their own beer.

My introduction to Holland was a free taxi ride into Amsterdam, for the same reason.
posted by jokeefe at 11:34 AM on January 28, 2012


Beautiful presentation, although it only seems to work when I click on Amsterdam and Den Haag, but not for Utrecht and Baarn.
posted by JanetLand at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They've done an amazing job restoring the Den Haag Hollands Spoor station! It definitely did not look like that when I was living in the Hague thirty years ago.
posted by trip and a half at 12:48 PM on January 28, 2012


Beautiful presentation, although it only seems to work when I click on Amsterdam and Den Haag, but not for Utrecht and Baarn.
It says (in Dutch) that those will be available shortly. I am looking forward to the one in Utrecht, because although I walked through that station for years, it never even occurred to me that it had a royal waiting room.
posted by Ms. Next at 1:53 PM on January 28, 2012


Ah, I just figured out why I never knew about the Utrecht one, when they mention Utrecht, they don't mean Utrecht Central Station, but the Railway Museum in Utrecht, where the other Den Haag waiting room is on display.
posted by Ms. Next at 2:00 PM on January 28, 2012


The Belgian royals also have one of these (1960 article with photos) in the Brussels-Central Station. I have no idea how well preserved it is today. Their private railway station lies in ruins.
posted by reynaert at 2:34 PM on January 28, 2012


Exactly. Just like fire insurance.

yeah, because if your house burns down, fire insurance will help you pay for a new one - and if someone destroys your country, the monarchy will ... hmmm ... well, just what the hell will they do? - oh that's right, they go somewhere and have a government in exile, or they get killed, or they get to be prisoners in their palace and wring their hands a lot

well, there you go

now why didn't the USA ever think of that?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:08 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's good to be king. (Or queen)
posted by Eekacat at 4:16 PM on January 28, 2012


I'm glad that canadians and americans still get recognition for the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. I doff my imaginary cap to all the service men who liberated Europe. Be they British, or Polish, or Canadian or US American.


pyramid termyte, you'll find that other countries have other customs and institutions and languages. Since those are different from your own they may seem quaint or wrong.
Part of being a grownup and being world wise is knowing this and putting your own potential amazement or indignation on hold. And realising that the same will hold true for people from other countries looking at your own customs and institutions.
You don't want to sound as if you've never been out of Hickville (pop. 400), do you?
posted by joost de vries at 5:08 AM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Part of being a grownup and being world wise is knowing this and putting your own potential amazement or indignation on hold.

part of being a grownup is realizing that institutions, such as monarchy, are no guarantee of a country's continued success and are nothing like "fire insurance"

another part of being a grownup is realizing when an institution is based upon an absurd premise, one that has been rejected by many more countries than the USA, including some of your neighbors

you don't want to sound as if you've never been out of the 18th century, do you?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:33 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite: please stop being rude. You're attacking people's national symbols here, every bit as important to a patriotic citizen of a monarchy as the flag or constitution is to an American.

Furthermore, please refrain from telling the Dutch that they should be more like the Germans because... seriously!
posted by Dreadnought at 8:48 AM on January 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's an interesting comparison dreadnought.

While I was out running I was wondering how the extant European monarchies somehow escaped from being ousted. Unlike f.i. the German, French, Austrian, Greek, Portugese and Italian monarchies. There's a group of rather socialist egalitarian countries that still have monarchies: Sweden, Norway, Danmark and The Netherlands. Somehow Britain and Spain don't seem to fit that mold.

Currently in the Netherlands voters and politicians can't get very worked up about abolishing the monarchy. Indeed, like you say dreadnought, it seems that having a monarchy fulfills the role of having a shared focal point. That family and their heraldic colour orange are maybe the only exclusively Dutch symbols (if you don't count the decidedly cheesy polders and windmills) and that role goes back to 1648. Their ancestor was the primary force in creating our country by leading the rebellion against Spain.
WW II has left our country with a aversion against rallying around the flag or singing patriotic songs. So having a ceremonial figure gives some glamour and gravitas to a situation that our prime ministers don't always have.

So, yes, I think that our monarchy is a symbol that we are willing to pay for.

Personally it irks me that the Queen still has influence on the political process even if tangential. Also in my opinion the royal family, the princes and princcesses etc are mostly rich spoiled brats who I don't feel like giving any special deference. But that's just me.
posted by joost de vries at 9:48 AM on January 29, 2012


WW II has left our country with a aversion against rallying around the flag or singing patriotic songs.
Btw that poses a funny problem for right wing politicians; they dig up an old Dutch symbol going back to our sea faring glory days of the 17th century, like flying the Prinsenvlag, and then the press points out to them that that same symbol was used by the party that collaborated with the German occupiers.
And other symbols of our national glory days are tainted by their association with colonialism.
posted by joost de vries at 9:55 AM on January 29, 2012


Dreadnought: "[Monarchy is] every bit as important to a patriotic citizen of a monarchy as the flag or constitution is to an American."
Sorry, but: bullshit. (Or in other words: thanks for calling me un-patriotic, you insensitive clod.) I consider myself a fairly patriotic citizen, and I think our royal family would look great in a guillotine. It doesn't make for really good TV due to all the kids they have, but at least it would be over quickly. And then we could use their waiting room at the central station in our capital for something else.
Furthermore, please refrain from telling the Dutch that they should be more like the Germans because... seriously!"
Total derail, but I think it would be nice if the Dutch were more like the Germans in some aspects. Like not banning burkas, for instance.
posted by brokkr at 12:56 PM on January 29, 2012


This is very pretty and I wish I could read the information.
Does anyone know what the music is on the "Amsterdam" page?
posted by j at 1:19 PM on January 29, 2012


j, according to the text of the audio description for the blind it's Mozart Divertimento K. 251 Molto allegro.
posted by joost de vries at 1:34 PM on January 29, 2012


Hm, brokkr, I think dreadnought was just trying to be polite.
posted by joost de vries at 1:37 PM on January 29, 2012


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