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The Hague

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The Plein with high-rises in the background.

The Hague (Dutch: Den Haag or s-Gravenhage) is the Netherlands' third largest city, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. While Amsterdam is the nation's capital, The Hague is the seat of government and the king. It's also the capital of the South Holland province.

The City itself has 500,000 inhabitants, the agglomeration has more than 1 million.

Name[edit | edit source]

L'Aia (Italian Name) - The Hague (English name) - La Haye (French)

History[edit | edit source]

The Hague's history began around 1230, when count Floris IV of Holland (Holland is a Dutch region, so not the whole country) decided to build a hunting residence along a pond, nowadays called the Hofvijver. His son, Willem II, expanded the residence and it became a palace, nowadays called the Binnenhof. Willem died before the palace was completed, so it was finished by his son Floris V. Since then, the counts of Holland used The Hague as their residence and administrative center when in Holland.

Around the Binnenhof and the Hofvijver grew a village, called Haga. From the 17th century on, the name 's-Gravenhage was used (Old Dutch, the count's wood).

When the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch independence war against the Spanish, started, the Spanish troops easily conquered the town, due to the absence of city walls. The government of Holland even wanted to demolish the city, but this was prevented by William of Orange, the leader of the Dutch revolt. After the Netherlands declared their independence, The Hague became the seat of government of the Dutch Republic. It never got city rights, but did have the benefits that came with it.

In 1806, The Hague was granted city rights by Louis Bonaparte. After the Napoleonic Wars, modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands became one country, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, with Williams of Orange's descendants as kings and queens. Every two years, the capital switched from Amsterdam to Brussels, but The Hague remained the seat of government. After the Belgian revolt and separation in 1830, Amsterdam became the only capital, while The Hague stayed the seat of government.

The Hague quickly grew, resulting in annexing (taking over) nearby municipalities, like the rural village Loosduinen. Many new neighborhoods where built. Most of them for Dutchmen who retired after they came back from the Dutch colony Dutch East Indies, modern-day Indonesia.

In World War II The Hague was conquered by the Germans after the world's first paratroop assault. They built he Atlantic Wall straight trough the city, causing a large quarter to be demolished by the Nazi's and the evacuation of the people of neighboring fishing village Scheveningen. In March 1945 the British mistakenly bombed the historic and heavily populated Bezuidenhout quarter, causing 551 deaths.

Boroughs[edit | edit source]

The Hague is divided into 8 boroughs (Dutch: stadsdelen):

Centrum ± 100,000 inhabitants
Escamp ± 118,000 inhabitants
Haagse Hout ± 42,000 inhabitants
Laak ± 38,200 inhabitants
Leidschenveen-Ypenburg ± 45,900 inhabitants
Loosduinen ± 47,500 inhabitants
Scheveningen ± 56,000 inhabitants
Segbroek ± 59,000 inhabitants

International organizations[edit | edit source]

The Peace Palace, home to several international organizations.

The Hague houses many major international and European organisations. Most of them have something to do with justice. Together with New York City, Geneva an Vienna it's one of the major United Nations cities.

  • Eurojust, European Union body composed of national prosecutors
  • European Patent Office
  • Europol, European Police Office
  • Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)
  • International Court of Justice, located in the Peace Palace
  • International Criminal Court, (ICC)
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
  • Iran-United States Claims Tribunal
  • Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  • Permanent Court of Arbitration, the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.
  • The European Library

Because of all these organizations The Hague's motto is Vrede en Recht (Peace and Justice).

Transport[edit | edit source]

Underground tram station Spui.

The Hague's public transport is operated by HTM. The city has 11 tram lines, 3 light rail lines (which connect the city to its suburbs, like Zoetermeer) and 8 bus lines.

The Hague has two major train stations: Den Haag Centraal (The Hague Central) and Den Haag Hollands Spoor. Southbound and northbound trains stop at Hollands Spoor, eastbound and westbound trains begin or terminate at Centraal. Centraal is also the terminal station for Line E of the Rotterdam subway.

The Hague shares an airport with neighboring Rotterdam: Rotterdam The Hague Airport. It's also served by Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Partner cities[edit | edit source]

Flag of the Netherlands.svg The Netherlands Portal — All articles about the Netherlands