Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Hague, Netherlands - a center of centers

The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government, parliament, the Supreme Court and the Council of State for the whole of the Netherlands but, it is not the capital - that honor is held by Amsterdam. Almost all foreign embassies in the Netherlands are in The Hague along with 150 or so international organisations including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, these latter two making the city one of the major hosts of the United Nations.
In the early 13th century The Hague came into being when Count Floris IV bought a lot of land by a pond, on which to build a hunting lodge. In 1248, his son, William II, improved the lodge into a palace and, with various modifications and additions over the years, the palace, known as the Binnenhof, is today the Netherlands' parliament building and the little pond has been promoted to become the picturesque Hofvijver Lake.
The Hague is also home to the Peace Palace, an international law administrative center which houses the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law and the Peace Palace Library. With a population of more than 500,000 the city center is grimy, crowded, noisy and generally stressful - typical of mid-sized 21st century European towns.

More pictures here.

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