The Hague


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Hague, The

 

(’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).

REFERENCES

Gelder, H. E. van. ’s-Gravenhage in zeven eeuwen, Amsterdam, 1937.
Gelder, H. E. van. De historische schoonheid van ’s-Gravenhage, 3rd ed. Amsterdam, 1946.
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