International City of Peace and Justice. It is a proud title, and justly worn. The Hague is home to no less than 131 international institutes and agencies, employing 14.000 servants of peace. After New York, The Hague is the United Nations' second city. The Hague stands for hope in places as diverse as Sarajevo, Nairobi and Kabul. Hope for millions of people, hope that the crimes inficted on them will not remain unpunished. Hope for a peaceful future.
The Hague was originally a hamlet close to the castle of the Count's of Holland built in the 13th century. The village was first recorded in a document dated 1370, but has never been granted a Charter. Charters entitled medieval villages to erect defence walls and dig moats to protect their citizens. It also gave villages certain privileges, including the right to administer justice.
Even today, The Hague has no Charter. From 1851, local legislation no longer distinguishes between city and countryside. 's-Gravenhage - which is the official name for The Hague and literally means "the Count's hedge" - was never awarded city rights and therefore is still today known as "the largest village in Europe".
Although the Netherlands became a monarchy in 1813, the Royal House of Orange had been playing an important role in its history since 1559. The Netherlands was reigned by successive Kings until the death of King William III in 1890. His wife, Queen Emma, who acted as regent until their daughter Wilhelmina came of age, succeeded him. Wilhelmina (1880-1962) was crowned Queen in 1898. Her daughter, Juliana succeeded her, in 1948, who in turn was succeeded in 1980 by her daughter, Beatrix. After 33 years Beatrix abducted in 2013 in favor of her eldest son King Willem Alexander.
The Hague is the international city of Peace and Justice, making it unique among all cities of the world. The city hosts many international organisations, mostly of a judicial nature. These include United Nations' organisations such as the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which are both situated in the Peace Palace. The Hague also hosts the United Nations Yugoslav Tribunal and the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The Hague is also the seat of the Dutch government as well as the Royal residence.
The city is proud of its cultural diversity with inhabitants from all over the world. It is also home to many expats who work at the numerous international organisations and multinationals with headquarters in The Hague.
The Hague's most unexpected asset for many is the beach, providing a unique opportunity to unwind and enjoy the invigorating sea breeze. A different but equally rewarding way to spend your free time is to stroll through The Hague's beautiful historic city centre, where a maze of age old narrow streets offers a lively atmosphere of culture, fine cafes and restaurants as well as surprising shops and boutiques.
Culture is an essential ingredient in The Hague's. Besides catering to a broad audience with its many annual festivals and its theatres, the city features excellent museums, such as the Municipal Museum, where you will find the world's biggest collection of works by Piet Mondriaan, along with some of the finest works by artists of the Hague School and other contemporary artists. In the world of modern dance, The Hague is known as the home base of the renowned Nederlands Dans Theater, one of today's most revered modern dance companies.
Historical venues, international charisma, beautiful surroundings and a broad range of cultural activities all guarantee that your stay in The Hague will be a memorable one.