The Hague is a city of international importance with many faces, home to many different cultures. Once little more than a country house near a pond, The Hague has developed into a city of international character and importance, a never-ending story: a little bit of history is added every day.
The Counts’ Hedge
Though officially called Den Haag, the locals often refer to it as ‘s-Gravenhage, literally: ‘The Counts’ Hedge’. The Counts of Holland enjoyed hunting and took special interest in the area’s vast forests that reached from Gravenzande to Leiden in the Middle Ages, the remains of which are now known as the Haagse Bos. Originally basing themselves near the pond now known as the Hofvijver in the centre of The Hague, in the 13th century Count Willem II built the Binnenhof, or current houses of parliament, on the same spot. Lacking city rights, The Hague was unable to build the traditional wall and moat system of the day, so a town hall was built which can still be seen today in the Groenmarkt
The keys to the city
The Hague is first chartered as a village called Die Haghe, until Louis Napoleon, King of the Netherlands from 1806, took entry. He insisted that by the following day he ‘be offered the keys of the City at a ceremony in The Hague.’ Without walls, or even a gate, the city couldn’t offer much in the line of actual keys. In some haste the elders asked the silversmith François Simons to produce two gilded silver keys which were offered to the king on an embroidered cushion. A few months later Napoleon proclaimed The Hague ‘third city of the kingdom’.
Welcome to The Hague
City beside the Sea! Certain destinations should be cherished forever and The Hague is one of them: international city of peace and justice; city beside the sea, a historical setting with a rich, cultural urban life; as well as the official residence of King William Alexander and Queen Maxima. The Hague offers you no less than two destinations in one: city and beach. Soak up the culture in the historical city centre followed by a walk, barefoot across the expansive beach.
Moreover, The Hague has been declared the best city centre in The Netherlands! In addition to culture and relaxation (including culinary delights), visitors can shop here seven days a week, in shops ranging from international chainstores to small vintage shops. The city offers hip to haute couture, for young and old.
The Hague is home to a wealth of museums and attractions. With the reopening of the newly extended Mauritshuis, The Hague will again see its very own ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ by Vermeer back in the city. In addition, the magnificent Dutch masters collection will also be returned to its original place
From exotic cuisine to fresh fish at the harbour: a visit to The Hague offers a wealth of choice that will appeal to all tastes. The variety of cuisines ensure a delightful and richly flavoured experience. The Hague is definitely the place to enjoy a sumptuous Indonesian rice table or fish fresh from the sea.
Discover the Beach. The sea is a stone’s throw away! The Hague is the only city by the sea in the whole of The Netherlands. The beach is less than 15 minutes from the historical city centre by tram or bike. The city boasts 7 miles of beach in its backyard and is worth visiting in all four seasons.
Mauritshuis. The reopening has long been awaited of one of the world’s most celebrated museums, the Mauritshuis in The Hague following a major renovation. The reopening provides an opportunity for a major representation of the museum’s world-famous collection of Dutch and Flemish masters.
Peace Palace. The Peace Palace has been the icon of The Hague for 100 years. Every day, hundreds of visitors pause at the entrance to take photos of this impressive building. Thousands of people work in and around it every day for over 130 international organizations for greater world peace and justice.
Escher in Het Paleis. Escher in het Paleis displays a permanent exhibition of the world famous, phantasmagorical visions of artist M.C. Escher and is housed in the former winter palace of Queen Mother Emma. This is the only public building in The Hague where the old palace function can still be experienced.
Wining and Dining in The Hague. Before it gained independence in 1945, Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands. The Dutch who worked in Indonesia regularly returned home for a holiday and stayed mainly in The Hague, where the Ministry of Colonies was based. Hotel Des Indes on the Lange Voorhout offered a roof to travelers returning from Indonesia. Between 1850 and 1900 the Archipel neighbourhood was built and it was here that the former colonists settled.
Getting around The Hague. Take a sightseeing tour around the city with a great selection of transport – see The Hague from the water and take a canal boat to enjoy the city from a different angle, or maybe a fun trip in a Tuk Tuk, for the more energetic there are guided bicycle tours or guided walks to choose from.
History of The Hague. The Hague is a city of international importance with many faces, home to many different cultures. Once little more than a country house near a pond, The Hague has developed into a city of international character and importance, a never-ending story: a little bit of history is added every day.