The Hague (Dutch: Den Haag official name ‘s-Gravenhage) is the third largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, this large city has a population of 485,818 residents and a total of 1,011,459 residents, in an area of approximately 100 km². The city is located in the west of the country, in the province of South Holland. The Hague is part of the Randstad, the largest conurbation in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. See population of Netherlands.
According to abbreviationfinder, the Hague was originally a hunting ground for the Dukes of Holland. It became the heart of court life after William of the Netherlands built a castle here in 1248.
At the end of the 16th century, the city emerged as a Flemish capital during the uprising of the Netherlands against Spain. Between 1795 and 1813 it was in the power of France, and again became the center of court life, when in 1815 the Kingdom of the Netherlands was established, which included present-day Belgium until 1830.
The peace conferences held in the city in 1899 and 1907 (see The Hague Conferences) added to the city’s long tradition as an international diplomatic and judicial center, and led to the establishment here of the UN International Court of Justice o Permanent Court of Arbitration. Since the early 1970s, attempts have been made to shift some of its governmental functions to other provinces of the country.
The life of the city is dominated by the large number of officials who work in it. Almost all the ministries and public organizations are located in The Hague, in addition to several international companies which have their headquarters in The Hague. It has never been a large industrial center, with the exception of the fishing port of Scheveningen. The function of The Hague is mainly residential, and the activity of the administration and the government, the main engine of its economy. It is the seat of the International Court of Justice of the UN, and its importance as a venue for international conferences is growing. It is also a transport hub connected to Rotterdam, Amsterdam and elsewhere, through the main network of roads, rail lines and canals. Royal Dutch Shell and other international companies have their main offices here. An industry with a highly diversified production is scattered throughout the metropolitan area of the city, with factories of electronic equipment, metal articles, chemical products, glass, graphic material, chocolate and other food items.
The Hague is the seat of government, but not the capital, of the Netherlands, which according to the Dutch constitution is the city of Amsterdam. As the administrative center of the country, The Hague contains the States General of the Netherlands, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands and the Council of State. The Queen of the Netherlands, Beatrice I, lives and works in the city. The Hague is also home to all of the country’s foreign embassies and government ministries, as well as a large number of international organizations, including the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and Europol.
The Hague houses the First and Second Chambers, which make up the States General of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix lives in The Hague. All foreign embassies and ministries are located in the city, as well as the Supreme Court and various organizations and pressure groups. Therefore the Hague is considered the administrative capital of the country.
Places of interest
Among the most significant urban complexes in The Hague, we must mention the Binnenhof (inner court) and the Buitenhof (outer court), a group of government buildings, built in part in the s. XIII. Integrated in this set are the building of the General States, the Court of Justice and the Ridderzaal (Hall of the Knights), built in 1252, place where the Parliament of the Netherlands rejected the sovereignty of Felipe II, King of Spain, over them in 1581. This group of buildings is surrounded by the ancient towers and gates of the wall.
The city’s main square or zocalo is very close to the area, next to the Royal Mauritshuis Art Gallery, famous for its collections of Flemish paintings from the 15th to 17th centuries.
Other places of historical interest are the Groote Kerk (Great Church), and Nieuwe Kerk (New Church).
Grote Mark: important shopping center and pedestrian zone. To the south of the square the Paviljoensgracht is born, in whose number 74 is the house of Spinoza, in which the philosopher died in 1677, and center of studies of his works. Here the Ethics ended. In the center of the street there is a monument to the philosopher, from 1877.
The Stadhuis (town hall from 1565), and the Gevangenpoort (prison gate), today a museum, where the Flemish statesmen Jan De Witt and Cornelis De Witt were executed in 1672.
Among its modern sights are the Peace Palace (1913), paid for by the American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1903, and now home to the UN International Court of Justice, the new city hall building, and the Congress of the Countries. Basses (1969). The most important educational institutions are the Institute of Social Studies (1952), the Royal Conservatory of Music and Dance (1826) and the Royal Academy of Applied Arts (1682).
Madurodam, a scale reconstruction of an old Flemish village, is a popular tourist attraction.