The rich heritage of De Oude Eik

Welcome to Tennis and Padel Park De Oude Eik, where history and sport come together! This venue has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century, when it served as a training ground for the stationed soldiers of the residence. Later, until 1911, it was owned by none other than Prince Hendrik, brother of King Willem III, who used it as a hunting ground.

In 1911, the influential industrialist Anthony Kröller purchased the Maaldrift estate. You may know him as the man behind the famous Kröller-Müller Museum. Although his original plans for a house and museum on Maaldrift did not materialize, Kröller made an impressive mark in aviation history.

In 1919, he was asked by the government to provide advice on the future of aviation. Kröller seized this opportunity and founded KLM, the airline that would conquer the world. He chose to establish the airport at Maaldrift, strategically located between Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. With excellent accessibility via trams and roads, Maaldrift was the perfect location for this visionary project.

The Maaldrift airport was used, among others, by KLM and as an emergency airfield for the Aviation Department. The shell circle with cross is the center of the airfield.

Source: Dutch Institute for Military History

The control tower is nearly 100 years old

In 1920, a wooden hangar was constructed, followed by the addition of an iconic control tower. This tower still stands proudly on our park today, serving as a bustling hub for tennis enthusiasts – our very own tennis shop.

During the 1920s, the park became the scene of adventurous test flights by British aviators to London. Although Maaldrift eventually proved too small for KLM’s grand dreams, aviation remained active on the premises; KLM organized summer sightseeing flights from Maaldrift, and in 1933, the Hague and Leiden Gliding Club took over the site.

From airport to tennis park

In 1935, the hangar underwent a drastic transformation and was converted into a tennis hall. During World War II, it suffered heavy damage and the looted building served as a storage facility.

The then “Wassenaar Tennis Park” continued the tennis tradition on the Maaldrift site after the war, but unfortunately, the hangar burned to the ground in 1963.

In 1969, Kees and Nelleke Kraall took over the park, which is now owned by their son, Johan Kraall. When they took over, the club had 70 members. In the 1970s, tennis experienced tremendous growth in the Netherlands, and the Kraall family cleverly capitalized on this. Within two years, membership skyrocketed to over 600 members! At the same time, the park underwent a spectacular transformation and was completely modernized into a contemporary venue with 7 all-weather courts and 2 padel courts, all floodlit.

However, we still cherish some characteristic elements of the old airport, such as the iconic control tower, which now serves as the tennis shop.

De oude Eik - The Old Oak Tree

The park derives its name from a legendary oak tree that graced the grounds for at least a century. Unfortunately, the passage of time has taken its toll. Roughly 40 years ago, this majestic tree was struck by lightning, and sadly, its demise was sealed when its crown was blown off.

It’s wonderful that we still get to enjoy the magnificent oak tree at the corner of court 1 every day. Moreover, there are several other mature oak trees in our park that thrive beautifully. To us, these trees represent the growth and vitality of our welcoming tennis and padel park!