Entrepreneurs in the center of The Hague have yet to sleep any sleepless nights since the opening of the Mall of the Netherlands. They are watching developments closely, but there are no major concerns. “The opening will definitely have an impact on a number of colleagues,” says Winkler of Inner City in Business Group. Especially in big retail chains, because the Mall of the Netherlands is largely made up of big chains. But the atmosphere in Downtown The Hague is completely different. There are also chains here, but most of the city center consists of small shopping streets with small businesses.
According to Winkler, visitors to the city center in The Hague have a different reason to come than visitors to the mall. “Visitors come here to enjoy the full experience,” he says. “They don’t come for a specific product, but they come here for the whole day or afternoon.”
This was also said by The Hague Municipal Councilor Saskia Bruins (D66). “There will undoubtedly be shifts, but in the city center of The Hague you can do a lot more than just shop,” she says. “We have a historic city center with a great selection of stores and a good mix of restaurants and museums. We need to keep this interesting and attractive. For residents of The Hague and for people outside of it. As a municipality, we do this by keeping the public space good and clean, and giving entrepreneurs the space to do business.” And keep the museum’s neighborhood quality up to date.
Hart voor Den Haag / Groep de Mos City Council is proud of what The Hague has to offer, but is also concerned. Party chief Richard de Moss is afraid the mall will attract visitors because people can park for free. “This is attracting a lot of clients,” he says. So I think city council should enter into negotiations with parking garage owners to lower prices or even give the first two hours free. Street parking in other shopping areas should also be reduced. This way we are luring customers from The Hague to come to the city center.
Alderman Bruins sees little in this regard. “If you make the parking free, the accessibility of the city center will deteriorate, because there will be more cars in the center,” she says. Free parking is attractive in front of the Mall of the Netherlands, but the mall is difficult to reach by public transport. The Hague is exactly that.
Read also: Additional measures at Mall of the Netherlands against the crowds: “basic shopping only”
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