The Plesmanduin Monument has an illustrious history. In the 1930s, Albert Plesman, aviation pioneer and first Chief Executive Officer of KLM, gave the assignment to construct a new head office for KLM. In the end, the airline stayed in the building for 20 years. New residents occupied the building in 1969: the then Ministry of Transport and Water Management. Plesmanduin Monument is now ready for a new future.
KLM was founded in 1919, and grew rapidly. The airline started flying to an increasing number of European destinations. The number of employees in the office increased significantly. Until that point KLM was located in a number of buildings in the centre of The Hague. Chief Executive Officer, Plesman, came up with a new plan: he wanted to combine all services in one new head office.
He selected a former artillery site in the dunes near The Hague as the location. A perfect choice. Surrounded by a stunning green environment, the ground staff could work in peace and quiet on Plesman’s ambitious plan: to make KLM an even more successful airline.
Albert Plesman didn’t need to think for long about the architect for the new head office. His old friend Dirk Roosenburg was the best candidate. The two had known each other from school. Roosenburg had now become a designer/architect and, at Plesman’s invitation, had already collaborated on the First Aviation Exhibition Amsterdam in 1919. He had also designed the first logo for KLM when the airline was established.
Construction started in 1939. During the first phase, a wing of five floors and a semi-circular recreation room were built. Construction ceased after the outbreak of the Second World War. 3 new wings were constructed in quick succession starting in 1946. The official opening of the new head office took place over 3 years later.
The Monument on Plesmanweg has a rich history. Its cultural and historic value is still tangible. These are all reasons to redevelop this beautiful building with respect.
The transformation from monument to a multi-functional building is radical. The unique features and qualities of this stunning complex are being retained. At the same time, all kinds of modifications are needed to make the building suitable for homes, commercial space, offices and short-stay accommodation.
Architect Dennis Hofman aims to create inspiring buildings, interiors and outdoor spaces that improve the living environment. His office designs clear solutions for complex city centre challenges. Every design starts with a concept that is devised and realised carefully and in cohesion. This creates genuinely sustainable buildings: flexible, timeless and adaptable. The quality of these is demonstrated in the architecture, structure, use of materials and detail.
The wings at right angles to each other are a striking feature of Plesmanduin Monument. The facades are uniform with repeating, identical windows. Concrete frames around each row of windows make the building look higher. The end of each wing is special. Each one is unique and yet still familiar. This structure connects the three post-war wings together, but also forms a natural transition to the pre-war wing.