Oegstgeest ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a town and municipality in the province of South Holland in the western Netherlands. Its population was 22,576 in 2008.
The municipality of Oegstgeest covers an area of 7.75 km² (of which 0.54 km² is water). Oegstgeest lies just to the north of Leiden, with which it is conjoined in a conurbation. Oegstgeest is a separate municipality, but it is effectively a suburb of Leiden. The municipality of Katwijk is to the west, the municipality of Teylingen to the north, the Kaag Lakes (Kagerplassen) to the northeast and Leiderdorp to the east.
Oegstgeest is one of the earliest inhabited places along the coast. Evidence of a Batavian settlement from the second century was found in 1946 in an extension of a coastal dune in the Elgeesterpolder, although it is not certain whether this location remained permanently inhabited in the centuries after that.
By the 9th century there was already a little church in the same location as the current Little Green Church (Groen Kerkje) which, according to legend, was dedicated by Willibrord. The existence of this church is an indication that there may have been a community there.
From the 11th to the 14th century, Oegstgeest enjoyed a period of progress. This ended when Leiden was granted city rights. The carrying out of trades and construction were no longer permitted within a certain distance from the city. In 1399, the heerlijkheid of Oegstgeest and that of Poelgeest were merged because their declining populations could no longer afford to pay the required taxes to the Count of Holland.
Until the 19th century the boundary of Oegstgeest extended right to the city walls and moats of Leiden. But in the 19th and 20th century, it conceded more and more of its territory to the rapidly expanding city of Leiden.
Before the early 20th century, Oegstgeest had a rural character and did not have a centre of population. It consisted of several unconnected smaller settlements. Only after 1900 were new neighbourhoods built between the settlements. First Wilhelminapark was built, followed by Prins Hendrikpark (circa 1915), Buitenlust or Indische Buurt (1925), Julianapark, Oranjepark, and Emmapark (1920-1950), and Grunerie and the area between Emmalaan and Lange Voort (1950s). In the 1980s and 1990s, the Haaswijk and Morsebel neighbourhoods were built, followed by Poelgeest in the 2000s. In 2006 construction started on a new neighbourhood, Nieuw Rhijngeest.
Other interesting facts
Oegstgeest is the birthplace of the famous Dutch writer Jan Wolkers as well as stand up comedian Theo Maassen. Marinus van der Lubbe has lived there. The first president of Suriname, Johan Ferrier, lived in Oegstgeest at the time of his death.
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