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Asylplein Asylplein

The historical Asylplein

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The historical Asylplein

One of the places you absolutely must not miss when you visit Brielle is the Asylplein, a town square surrounded by monuments. You'll also see the beautiful building that used to be the Seamen's Mission, for retired and disabled seafarers. This listed building, for which King William III laid the first stone in 1872, was actually never completed. The design for it had a u-shaped floor plan but despite start capital from the Crown and from a later patron, in the end only the middle section and one wing were actually realised. Retired seafarers, sometimes with their wives, used to stay here, until 1947. These days, the listed building is a courtyard with accommodations. Although the current residents are not necessarily old or infirm, there is still a supervisor present in the former institution. 

In the rose garden on the square, there is an unusual bronze statue of a nymph, the pedestal of which says: 1572 Libertas Primitiae. And that's still the town's motto: First to be liberated. The Zeenimf, as the statue is called, rises up out of the sea and points to the mouth of the River Meuse, from where the Sea Beggars arrived to liberate Brielle from the Spanish. In her other hand, she holds the flag of the House of Orange. King William III unveiled the statue in 1973, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the liberation from the Spaniards.

Not everyone appreciated the statue initially, due to its bare breasts. Reactions varied from 'too heathen' to 'downright ugly'. A female nymph might put wrong ideas into the heads of passers-by... Everyone would have preferred a statue of one of the Sea Beggars. Despite all that, the statue can be still be admired on what is now Asylplein.