Last year I decided to walk from the station to rendezvous with my friends in London; as I strolled along the Bayswater Road I passed a building and the plaque caught my eye. We have dear friends who live in the Netherlands, and anything to do with their country and history interests us.
Once I was home, I was able to find out more about ‘Orangehaven’ – it was a club founded during the second World War on the initiative of Queen Wilhelmina; she had been Queen of the Netherlands since 1890, when at the age of only ten she inherited the throne from her father King Willem III. When the Germans invaded her country during World war II she escaped to London.
There were about 1700 ex-pat Dutch people who had also fled the invaders and the Queen was determined that there should be somewhere in London for them where they could meet, socialise, and receive support if they were in need or difficulty. There was also some accommodation for people when necessary. The club opened on the 6th June 1942 opened the club was. One amusing story in what was otherwise a sad and trying time, whenever Queen Wilmelmina came to the club, everyone drank tea , all alcoholic drinks, were discretely hidden from view