The Hague: Everything You Need to Know About the Netherlands’ Political Capital

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The Hague: Everything You Need to Know About the Netherlands’ Political Capital

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Walking Tours

The Hague: Everything You Need to Know About the Netherlands’ Political Capital

The Hague, located in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands, is an important hub of international law. In addition to being the home of a variety of international (governmental and non-governmental) organizations, it is also the political capital of the country. From museums to cultural activities, to amazing architecture and plenty of things to do, The Hague has something for everyone whether they live locally or are visiting the area. In this guide, we take you through all that you need to know about The Hague.

What Is The Hague’s History?

The Hague is said to have been founded in 1230 as a small settlement around a manor house. By 1248 it had become an official residence for Count Floris IV, who began to construct fortifications around the settlement. Later, in 1585, the city was chosen by William I of Orange as his primary residence. This decision was due in part to the relative peace of The Hague at the time, a peace that was maintained until The Netherlands declared its independence in 1648. After independence, The Hague’s role as the royal residence was reaffirmed and it became the country’s political capital. In the 19th century, The Hague became known for its host of international organizations located within it such as The International Court of Justice, The International Criminal Court, Europol, and Eurojust. This saw a significant surge in population as The Hague attracted people from all over Europe and further abroad who wished to work with or at one of these organizations. This saw a significant repopulation of The Hague which also began free-trade and bolstered its reputation as an international city which was open and inclusive for all.

What Are The Hague’ve Popular Landmarks?

The Hague is a city full of wonderful landmarks and attractions but there are some that stand out much more than others. These are some of the most popular and well known landmark that could be found in The Hague:

  • The Peace Palace, which houses organizations such as the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
  • The Binnenhof Complex, which is the oldest Dutch building and home to the Dutch Parliament.
  • Mauritshuis Museum, which displays some of Dutch masterpieces.
  • Noordeinde Palace, which is the royal palace and main residence of the Dutch King.
  • Panorama Mesdag, which is a painting museum and works of art.
  • Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, which features historical and cultural figures in wax form.
  • Mendes Chipper Museum, which is a fascinating, interactive museum that displays items from all over the world.

Some lesser known attractions, not necessarily as landmarks, include Scheveningen Beach, which is a popular spot to people watch; Westbroekpark, where visitors can stroll through fl owery gardens; and Clingendeal Park, where you can find a variety of activities such as rock climbing, chess and plenty of other options. Whatever your interests might be, there is always something for everyone in The Hague!

What Types of Events Take Place in The Hague?

The Hague hosts a variety of events year-round ranging from small free events around town to major international music festivals such as North Sea Jazz or Crossing Border Music Festival. From film festivals such as Imagine Film Festival or World Jazz Vivant Festival to local celebrations like New Year’s Eve, Prinsjesdag (King’s Day), Cannonscourt (remembrance day celebration), or World Bee Day, visitors to The Hague have plenty of options to choose from and will always have something new and different to experience while they are there. In addition to local events, there are also plenty of professional activities that take place in The Hague such as conferences and industry expositions. There are also several venues dedicated to art exhibitions such as KijkKubus Art Gallery or Knipmuseum Arnoldus print museum that offer visitors a chance to view world class artistic works.

What Legal Institutions Are Based In The Hague?

The Hague is home to a wide variety of legal institutions including some of the most prestigious ones in Europe, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), my perviously mentioned Permanent Court of Arbitration, and The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Not only does The Hague host these important court bodies but it is also home to some other less known but still influential court bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). The Hague plays an important role in keeping peace on international level thanks to its impressive body of work in providing international court systems where countries can settle disputes in an unbiased and fair way with specialised courts that focus specifically on national or supranational levels. These wide range of legal institutions have made The Hague one of the most influential cities for political systems in Europe.

What Kinds Of Shopping And Dining Are Available In The Hague?

Shopping in The Hague is an absolute delight for shoppers of all tastes as the city offers something for everyone due to its close proximity to Amsterdam’s world-class shopping districts. Whether it be high-end designer boutiques or unique Dutch souvenirs, shoppers here will be able to find something they love while experiencing all the beauty and charm that this city has to offer at the same time. For those looking for more affordable items there are plenty of stores located within The Hague Mall and Haagsche Passage shopping centres where you can get great deals on clothes, cosmetics and other items. For those feeling a bit more adventurous, there are beautiful markets located around town and a flea market every weekend where you can get amazing deals on antiques, souvenirs and handmade goods amongst other things. When it comes to dining in The Hague there too is something for everyone no matter what their diet may include be it vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous – this city has it all! With great restaurants ranging from traditional Dutch cuisine such as poffertjes (small pancakes) or Flemish stews to fine dining establishments with master chefs from all over Europe and beyond, visitors can experience some truly unique culinary delights here. The city also offers plenty cafes where visitors can have coffee or tea with friends or simply relax with a good book before heading out for more sightseeing adventures.

Where Are The Best Areas To Stay in The Hague?

When it comes to finding lodging in The Hague there are many great options available so choosing where you want to stay can be difficult! One suggestion might be to stay near one of the city’s main train stations such as Den Haag Centraal Station or Den Haag Hollandspoort Station as they offer great access to public transportation that can take you all around the city at any time. Hotel des Indes is another great central location, being located right next to the Binnenhof complex which makes it easy for visitors to explore the city’s political centre as well get quick access to trains stations and parks near by. If you’re looking for something more affordable there are plenty of hotels near Scheveningen Beach that offer nice rooms with great views perfect for relaxing after a long day exploring the city’s sights. Other great locations outside of the city centre include Wassenaar or Hoek van Holland which are both peaceful neighborhoods full of cozy cafes shops and restaurants just outside the hustle and bustle of busy downtown streets. Whether you choose one these locations or somewhere else entirely if you plan your trip properly you’ll have no problem finding accommodation that fits your budget!


The Hague is an exciting city filled with cultural activities, historical landmarks, interesting events, and amazing food experiences so whatever your interests might be there is something special waiting around every corner in this vibrant political capital of the Netherlands! Inwe hope this guide provided you with all the best information needed to plan an unforgettable trip be it by yourself or with family and friends!

The Hague: Everything You Need to Know About the Netherlands’ Political Capital

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