History

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On October 1st 1923 a small fire brigade museum was set up in Wassenaar by G.J. van der Mark. It was housedin the police station in the Van Zuylen van Nijveltstraat, which was used at the time as the fire station. Van der Mark received an annual grant from the local council for the maintenance and purchase of old firefighting equipment. In 1936 the council decided to discontinuethe grant. This led to the decision toloan the collection to the fire brigade museum inUtrecht. During this process there was a debate as to the ownership of the collection: was it privately-owned or the property of the council? After considerable discussion between the parties concerned it was agreed that Van der Mark should remain the owner. He stipulated in his will that the collection should go to his son after his death. The threat of war in the late 1930s brought an end to all these discussions. Van der Mark officially reclaimed the fire engines on behalf of the local council in order to put them in working order for the Air Raid Defence Service. 

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During the war years the collection was stored at several locations in Wassenaar in order to keep it out of the hands of the German occupying forces. Later it was kept in the basement of the town hall, known as De Paauw, where it remained for many years. Unfortunately the items suffered deterioration from humidity and mildew.



 

 

It was not until October 1983 that the local council decided to restore the collection as much as possible so that it could be put on show again.

Under the leadership of second-in-command J.A. Janssen several members of the fire brigade took the restoration in hand. Their work was later continued by A.J.T.H. van Steen and T. Wijfjes. The collection was displayedon the top floor above the fire station in the Pieter Twentlaan.

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The courtyard at the Pieter Twentlaan location 

When the station was abandoned the city of Wassenaar made a part of the basement available. On 21 February 1991 Minister Ien Dales opened the museum.

 Opening Brandweer kazerne 1991


When the fire station was closed down the Wassenaar council made available a part of the basement of De Paauw for the museum. It was opened on 21 February 1991 by Minister Ien Dales  On the arrival of the minister the group first looked up at the office staff, who were peering out of the windows. On the left we see architect J. Poort jr. and his wife.

Fireman Kees van Leeuwen managed the museum from 1995 until 2009. Early in 2002 the rooms in the basement of De Paauw were redecorated. In April 2002 the museum was festively reopened by former minister Dijkstal.

Up to 2010 the collection was run by the fire brigade, which at the time came under the Wassenaar council. With the regional reorganisation of the fire service changes had to be made. The Foundation of the Wassenaar Fire Brigade Museum now manages the collection. The collection is the property of the town. A group of volunteers look after the collection and organise activities for the public.