Brasserhout, The Hague, The Netherlands

Green banks at the Brasserhout © atelier GROENBLAUW, Madeleine d'Ersu

Brasserhout lies northeast of Delft in the Bras polder. The area is bordered by the reed landscape of the Tweemolentjeskade and a landscape of meadows and water. Long lines, staggered houses and ponds were the designers’ inspirations.

As many of the homes as possible are located on the water. While the density is relatively high, the design has resulted in a very natural and friendly appearance of the neighbourhood due to the minimisation of pavement, the soft green banks and the surface water.

Between the two east-west waterways with their bordering development with staggered lines of homes there is a looser development structure. The roads for motorised traffic appear extraordinarily narrow and minimised. Generally, the roads are 2.5 m wide, with a 30 cm gutter on either side plus 70 cm for pedestrians, made from the same clinkers but in a different pattern. This narrow-looking profile allows cars to pass pedestrians and bicyclists but does not encourage fast driving.

Brasserhout © atelier GROENBLAUW, Madeleine d'Ersu

An additional structure facilitates walking along the water and through the green zones. A good visual and ecologic connection with the surrounding landscape has been created with the green-flanked waterways and the perpendicular green areas. The public greenery mainly consists of reeds, green banks, grass and trees. The property borders of the row houses are made of beech hedges.

Cars are parked primarily in the small parking lots which are hidden from view because they lie in between the houses and are bordered with hedges. Despite the large differences in architecture and development structure, the neighbourhood gives an impression of transparency. This is probably due to the clear structure of water and the greenery.

Plan overview with green and blue areas © DP6


With 17% of its area devoted to open water, the neighbourhood is above average with respect to the share of surface water. Most of the precipitation is removed through gutters or underground drains to the bodies of surface water.

In the design, the intention was to retain as much clean precipitated water as possible, in order to improve the quality of the surface water. By retaining precipitation as much as possible, in dry periods less inflow of water of less quality from neighbouring areas is necessary.

Green banks at the Brasserhout © atelier GROENBLAUW, Madeleine d'Ersu


In many places, ecological banks have been constructed. Reeds in and at the water contribute to the improvement of water quality. Slopes of the banks in the public spaces vary from sometimes steep to slight.

Due to fluctuations of 0.25 m in the water table, the banks are variably wet and dry and have matching vegetation. The waterways have widths of 8 to 20 m. In the wide areas, helophyte filters have been applied for water purification.

The water table of the Bras is -4.85 m NAP. The maximum allowed variation in the water table is 0.25 m. The higher than average area of surface water makes it possible to buffer much of the precipitation in the area. Therefore the inflow can be limited, which contributes to the quality of the surface water.