Also the Order of Freemasons under the Grand Orient of the Netherlands have found Studio Buitenhof!
A piece of history
With the help of English and French Freemasons, the first Dutch lodge was founded in The Hague in 1734. This took place in the “Lion d’Or” hostelry, which later became the House of Lords. The hostelry was demolished in 1986 prior to the construction of the new Parliament building. In 1735 a second lodge was founded, followed by more lodges in other cities.
Suspected of loyalty to the royalist House of Orange, the lodges were soon banned by the patriotic States of Holland. It was considered strange and suspicious, that men of different political and religious persuasion should unite in one organizational body.
On December 26, 1756 a number of Freemasons lodges gathered in The Hague to establish a Grand Lodge, a ‘Groote Loge’. The Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands considers this to be its foundation date and so celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2006. During two and a half centuries, Freemasons in the Netherlands have always taken a significantly part in public life, politics, science and the arts.
After the political reinstatement of the “Stadthouder” in 1744, Freemasonry revived. In 1756 ten lodges joined together to form the ‘Groote Loge der Zeven Vereenigde Nederlanden’ (The Grand Lodge of the Seven United Netherlands). In 1817 the name was changed to the one currently still in use “The Order of Freemasons under the Grand East of the Netherlands”.
During the nineteenth century two princes of the House of Orange held the position of Grand Master of the Order. Prince Frederik (the younger brother of King William II, who himself was a Freemason) was Grand Master for 65 years, from 1816-1881, and Prince Alexander (the youngest son of King William III) from 1882 until his untimely death in 1884. The colonial era influenced the spread of Freemasonry from The Netherlands. The Dutch settled in the Antilles, in Suriname, Ceylon, India, South Africa and Rhodesia, the former Dutch East Indies, China and Brazil. Sixteen lodges outside the Netherlands still belong to the order, including those in the Dutch Antilles and Suriname. In 1940 Freemasonry was one of the first organizations to be banned by the German occupiers. The world renowned Library of the Order was transported to Germany along with many priceless pieces of art. The Grandmaster, Hermannus van Tongeren, was arrested and on March 29, 1941 died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Shortly after the end of the war, the greater part of the library and historical archives were found in sheds near Frankfurt and returned to The Netherlands.
In 1939 the Order had more than 4100 members and 67 lodges. Following the occupation of The Netherlands and the end of the war in the Far East, the numbers had dropped to three thousand and 64 lodges, partly due to natural decline and partly because many members were killed in the German and Japanese camps.
After 1945, membership initially increased in the Netherlands, caused in part by the repatriation of Freemasons from Indonesia. Until 1970 the growth in the number of Lodges was almost proportional to the growth of members. After 1970, the number of lodges continued to increase, while the number of members more or less remained constant at around six thousand. This increase in the number of lodges was attributed to growth in commuter areas, industrialization and urbanization outside the Randstad. In the southern provinces, growth was also stimulated by the improved relationship between Freemasonry and the Roman Catholic Church. This has resulted in the establishment of lodges in places like Almere, Velsen, Amstelveen, Castricum, Huizen, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg, Oosterhout, Roosendaal and Heerlen.
Dutch lodges are now showing a modest growth. Partly through numerous public events.
In 2006, our jubilee year, a media campaign was produced with the motto: ‘Discover the mysteries of Freemasonry’. The aim was to bring Freemasonry to the attention of a wider circle of society. “Living tradition is a promise for the future,” said the Grand Master of the Order of Freemasons in 2007.
“The rituals of the Lodges contain spiritual, ethical and moral values which everybody needs to discover for themselves. In this way we connect more than ever to a deep need within society. The individual desire for depth, meaning and mystery has perhaps never been more powerfully expressed as in these times.”