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Points of Interest
Among the numerous landmarks of The Hague is the Binnenhof, which grew out of the 13th-century palace and houses both chambers of the legislature; the Binnenhof contains the 13th-century Hall of Knights (Dutch Ridderzaal), where many historic meetings have been held. Nearby is the Gevangenenpoort, the 14th-century prison where Jan de Witt and Cornelius de Witt were murdered in 1672. The Mauritshuis, a 17th-century structure built as a private residence for John Maurice of Nassau, is an art museum and contains several of the greatest works of Rembrandt and Vermeer.
The Peace Palace (Dutch Vredespaleis), which was financed by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1913, houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration and, since 1945, the International Court of Justice. Among the other notable buildings are the former royal palace; the Groote Kerk, a Gothic church (15th–16th cent.); the Nieuwe Kerk, containing Spinoza's tomb; the 16th-century town hall; and the Netherlands Conference Center (1969). Educational institutions in The Hague include schools of music and international law. In the northern part of the city is Scheveningen, a popular North Sea resort and a fishing port.
The Hague was (13th cent.) the site of a hunting lodge of the counts of Holland ('s Gravenhage means “the count's hedge”). William, count of Holland, began (c.1250) the construction of a palace, around which a town grew in the 14th and 15th cent. In 1586 the States-General of the United Provs. of the Netherlands convened in The Hague, which later (17th cent.) became the residence of the stadtholders and the capital of the Dutch republic. In the 17th cent., The Hague rose to be one of the chief diplomatic and intellectual centers of Europe. William III (William of Orange), stadtholder of Holland and other Dutch provinces as well as king of England (1689–1702), was born in The Hague.
In the early 19th cent., after Amsterdam had become the constitutional capital of the Netherlands, The Hague received its own charter from Louis Bonaparte. It was (1815–30) the alternative meeting place, with Brussels, of the legislature of the United Netherlands. The Dutch royal residence from 1815 to 1948, the city was greatly expanded and beautified in the mid-19th cent. by King William II. In 1899 the First Hague Conference met there on the initiative of Nicholas II of Russia; ever since, The Hague has been a center for the promotion of international justice and arbitration.
(’s Gravenhage, Den Haag), a city in the Netherlands, the residence of the royal court and the seat of the government. The Hague is the administrative center of South Holland. The greater metropolitan area of The Hague had a population of 728,100 in 1969. The city in effect has merged with the seaside resort and fishing port of Scheveningen on the shores of the North Sea. The Hague is a transport junction: a network of canals, motor highways, and railway lines link it with such cities as Amsterdam (the official capital) and the port of Rotterdam, on the lower reaches of the Rhine.
The Hague is mainly important as the administrative and political center of the country. However, in the postwar period it has also acquired considerable importance as an economic center. Concentrated in The Hague are important industrial enterprises for the manufacture of radio, television, electronics, telephone, and telegraph equipment. In the suburbs is the Ypenburg Airport, where the Fokker aircraft factories are situated. The Hague has large-scale food industries (including confections enterprises) and light industry. Artistic wood, glass, and other objects are also made here. The governing boards of many commercial and industrial firms have their seats in The Hague, as do many institutions providing various services. The economically active population in 1969 was distributed as follows: industry and handicrafts, 56,000; services, 107,000 (including 17,000 employed in transport and communications and 62,000 in banking, commerce, and insurance); administration and government service, 58,000 (including 37,000 in government service); and agriculture and fisheries, 2,400. The Hague also has scientific societies, state archives, a library, and the Academy of Fine Arts. Museums include the Mauritshuis (the Royal Museum of Painting), the Municipal Museum (19th and 20th century art), the Postal Museum, the Costume Museum, and the International Press Museum. The Hague is the seat of the International Court of Justice.
The first mention of The Hague in historical sources occurs in 1097. From the end of the 16th century onward The Hague was the meeting place for the States General. At the beginning of the 19th century The Hague acquired the status of a city. Beginning in the second half of the 17th century, numerous international conferences were held here. In 1872 the congress of the First International met in The Hague. From 1940 until May 1945 the city was occupied by the fascist cist German troops. Among international conferences held in The Hague were the Hague Conference of 1922 and the Hague Conference on Reparations of 1929-30.
The grid pattern of wide streets has been modernized and completed with more freely planned new districts (1908-09, architect H. P. Berlage; 1935, architect W. M. Dudok), which extend along the main transport highways; most of these districts were built after World War II. The central part of the city—the government buildings around the Vijver lake—has preserved most of its ancient character. Along the Vijver lie the rectangular complex of the Binnenhof (13th to 18th century; the Gothic-style Ridderzaal was built about 1280) and the classical Mauritshuis building (1633-35, architects, J. van Campen and P. Post). Also located in this area are the Gothic-style St. Jacobskerk (14th century to 16th), the old Renaissance town hall (1564-65), the Huis ten Bosch Palace (1645-47, architect, P. Post; 1734-37, architect, D. Marot), the Nieuwe Kerk (1649-56), and the Royal Library (1734-36, architect, D. Marot; 1761, architect, P. de Swart). Among 20th century buildings are the Palace of Peace (1913), the Municipal Museum (1916-35, architect H. Berlage), the De Volharding office building (1928, architect J. Buÿs), the Dutch Shell building (1938-42, architect J. J. P. Oud), and the American Embassy (1959, architects M. Breuer and A. Elzas).
REFERENCESGelder, H. E. van. ’s-Gravenhage in zeven eeuwen, Amsterdam, 1937.
Gelder, H. E. van. De historische schoonheid van ’s-Gravenhage, 3rd ed. Amsterdam, 1946.