Haagse Bos - The Hague Forest

   The Haagse Bos, a forested park inside the city of Den Haag (The Hague), is one of the oldest forests in the Netherlands. In the forest there is a Dutch palace built in 1640, so this gives you an idea of the history related to the area.

The Haagse Bos was used frequently by the rocket troops during the V-2 operations in the city. Its dense cover, good road network and easy access to the various firing points throughout the city, made it a very desirable location to the Germans.

   So large was the area that between Christmas 1944 and January 31, 1945, several times more than one hundred A-4/V-2 rockets were reportedly staged here, near the road Leidsestraatweg. Rocket preparations and some field work was done in the Haagse Bos, also a few launching sites were here.

   During the cold winter months, many Den Haag residents needed to gather firewood from the park, but the area was restricted and off-limits to civilians. Still, many children managed to get into the area and bring pieces of wood back to their families.

   The area was subject to Allied bombing attacks. On March 3, 1945, fifty-six Mitchell bombers flew to Den Haag intending to target Duindigt and the western portion of the Haagse Bos, where many V-2s were stored. Because of a navigation mistake, the first bombs were dropped to the southeast of the Haagse Bos instead of northwest, a deviation of 2,500 meters. Homes in the Bezuidenhout quarter suffered heavy damage with 486 civilians killed. From launch sites in the Haagse Bos, some of the last V-2 attacks took place in late March 1945.

RAF reconnaissance photos of the Haagse Bos during the war. In the first photo you can see the relationship of the houses just north of the forest. In the oval you can see five V-2s lined up on Vidalwagen transport trailers on Feb. 06, 1945.

Haagse Bos Today

   The Haagse Bos serves the same purpose today as it did many years ago - a peaceful place of relaxation and recreation in the big city. The paths into and through the forest park remain almost the same as they were in 1945. Many of the trees are new, but many are old also. It is easy to visualize what it must have looked like in 1944-1945, when the A4/V2 was secluded in this area.

   We were surprised to see evidence of the war still remaining in some areas. The shallow depressions, most probably the remains of Spitfire bombing missions. The small, curved path, where the V-2s on Vidalwagens were photographed by an Allied reconnaissance, was still visible.
Path where V-2s stood
See photo above
Above spot 2
Road through bos

Click below to download the WMV video clip of the Haagse Bos as it looks today (video from 2000). The roads through the park remain today as they were during WWII.

Download WMV (11 MB)