The dedication of the The Hague Temple makes 2002 an exceptional year in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Low Countries. This modern-day temple is an authentic sanctuary comparable to the tabernacle of Moses or the temples of Solomon and Herod.
The The Hague Temple is part of a series of ‘smaller temples’ announced for the first time at the General Conference of the Church in October 1997. And although the layout or floor plan of these temples, following president Hinckley’s concept, is more or less identical, the unique modern appearance of the The Hague Temple stands out compared to the other smaller temples. In stead of many outward ornaments the Dutch temple looks more minimalistic.
Even though this seems like a simplification at first – perhaps due to certain building restrictions of the local authorities or the sober mentality of the Dutch – no symbolic power or essential functionality is diminished. Better yet, the The Hague Temple possesses fascinating external features that some other temples lack. Pillars alongside the entrance e.g., battlements and a fountain are just a few striking architectural elements with significant symbolic meaning.
Also, in the neoclassical design of the The Hague Temple we find strong vertical accents in the symbolic three part windows. The tower is a clear continuation of the façade rhythmics that end with the statue of the angel Moroni. In the façades we also see a symbolic horizontal expression in the cornices that are affixed to the wall elements.
Just as in Biblical times the temple is typified by the use of high-quality materials. President Hinckley declared: “We are trying to build in such a way and in such places across the world that these houses of the Lord may stand and serve through the Millennium” (Ensign, May 1997).
Accordingly, the facades of the The Hague Temple were equipped with durable granite panels. It is a white natural stone from Sardinia, called Bianca Sardo or Olympia White, that is also used on the temples of Boston Massachusetts, Preston England, Helsinki Finland and Perth Australia. This granite was provided by Dekker Natuursteen in Loosdrecht for both the The Hague and the Helsinki Temples.
For the reinforcement of the structure a concealed steel frame was installed by Nijborg Staalbouw from Renswoude. Also for the internal finishing of the temple very high-quality materials were used like marble and cherry wood. Much of the fine finishing was taken care of by Merwede Interior, a business unit of Merwede Shipyard from Hardinxveld-Giessendam (now Royal IHC in Kinderdijk).
Also extraordinary are the in Germany manufactured high leaded glass windows that were placed in double pane units. In conformity to the neoclassical character of the total design of the temple one can recognize a stylized tree of life in the windows.
At the time of the construction of the The Hague Temple F. Keith Stepan was the managing director of the Temple Construction Department and church architect Hanno Luschin was the project manager. Albert T. van Eerden of Meijer & van Eerden Architects from Zoetermeer were assigned to “select very durable materials for this sacred building, and realize a perfect refinement and take care of a flawless implementation.” The Church sent Raymond G. Springer as construction supervisor.
Peritas Bouwkosten Adviseurs from Waddinxveen made an estimate of the building costs and determined the contractor fee. Subsequently, HBG Utiliteitsbouw of the Hollandsche Beton Groep nv in Rijswijk was assigned as the contractor. The latter has since been taken over by Koninklijke BAM Groep nv in Bunnik.
Finally, the technical installation was done by Van Dorp Installaties from Zoetermeer above the wooden floors at the top.
To our knowledge, the The Hague Temple is the only temple that is located below sea level. For the reinforcement of the structure concrete pylons with a length of 20 meters (65 feet) each were driven into the ground. Pylons were also used for the Hongkong China Temple which is eight stories high.
Also noteworthy is the underground garage which provides parking for 48 cars. Other temples with an underground garage are Tokyo Japan, Hong Kong China, New York Manhattan and Brisbane Australia.
Renovation of the temple site
The Church asked Meijer & van Eerden to design a new garden plan around the temple. To realize this, the Church purchased more land from the municipality of Zoetermeer in May 2015.
The work started in 2015 and consisted of a garden part and an architectural part. In the spring of 2016, FixPlan from Rotterdam started with the construction of a natural stone garden wall and a new covering of the pond. Local gardener Lex van Wijk was asked to beautify the garden. The work was finished in the last quarter of 2016.