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The Hague (Den Haag
) Sightseeing highlights
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(We selected some of these highlights from the web site of EUCC - The coastal Union. We suggest you consult this excellent city guide for more information about The Hague and its surroundings).

Mauritshuis. Built in 1633-1644. One of the first and finest examples of Dutch classical baroque, characterized by pilasters positioned along the entire length of the façade plus pediments decorated with sculptures. Since 1822 the building has been home to the Royal Collection of Paintings. Korte Vijverberg 8.

Binnenhof.
The oldest parts of this medieval count's castle, the Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) and the Rolgebouw (Roll Building), situated at the rear, date from the 13th century. In the centuries that followed alteration work has been carried out and extensions have been added to the Binnenhof. This complex housed the local government as early as the 15th century. In 1585, it became the seat of the States General of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
The Grenadierspoort (Grenadier's Gate), built in 1634, situated diagonally opposite the Mauritshuis, is the entrance to the Binnenhof. The Ministry of Public Affairs (Binnenhof 18-19) has its offices in the Binnenhof, along the Hofvijver (Court Pond) behind Grenadiers's Gate on the right. A large part of this section, in Neo-Renaissance style, dates from 1913 but some parts are older, such as the famous Trêveszaal (Trêves Hall), dating from 1697 in Louis XIV style and the octagonal, 15th century turret at the corner of the Hofvijver, where the Prime Minister has his office.
The Former Earl's Halls, Binnenhof 8-14, was a former castle of the Earls of Holland and dates back to the 13th and 14th century. It is situated in the middle of the Binnenhof. The large hall has been known as the Ridderzaal since the 19th century. It is a rare example of profane gothic architecture in Europe. The entrance to the Binnenhof Visitor's Centre is situated under the Ridderzaal (at Binnenhof 8a) in one of the medieval cellars. This is where presentations on the history of the Binnenhof are given and guided tours leave from here throughout the year.
The fountain in the Binnenhof, built in 1885, is Neo-Gothic, consisting of an ashlar basin topped by a wrought iron construction with gargoyles. The fountain was a gift from distinguished Hague residents as a token of their appreciation for the restoration of the Binnenhof complex, which had started in1879. The gilded statue topping the fountain represents the Catholic King Willem II.

Buitenhof.
Since the Middle Ages the forecourt of the Earl's palace was linked by narrow alleys to the village of Die Haeghe and by the Gevangenpoort (Prison Gate) to the Plaats. In the 19th and 20th centuries alterations opened the Buitenhof to the traffic. The Gravenstraat, the Hofweg and the Vijverdam in front of the Gevangenpoort were subsequently constructed.
Museum de Gevangenpoort (National Museum Prison Gate), built before 1344, extensions added in the 15th century. In the Middle Ages, the Gevangenpoort was the outer gate of the Earl's castle to the Binnenhof. From about 1420 subsequent Earls used it as a prison. The Court of Holland later used it for the same purpose. In 1828, the gate ceased to be used as a prison and since 1882 is has been a national museum exhibiting instruments of torture and punishment. Buitenhof 33.


Gallery Prins Willem V
built in 1773-1774. This building housed the painting collection of Alderman Prince Willem V. Between 11-13h, the citizens of The Hague were given the opportunity of looking at these paintings so this gallery was in fact the first museum in Holland. During the French period, the whole collection was transferred to Paris and when the collection was returned to The Hague it was sent to the Mauritshuis. The present painting gallery has made a faithful reconstruction of the original collection and it also gives a very good idea of the way in which 18th century art collections were exhibited. Buitenhof 35.
Buitenhof 37, which was given the name of 'Vijverhof' in 1975 after being restored for the Lower House, was formerly a nobleman's house dating from 1643. This building marks the corner with the Vijverdam.
The Passage is the last remaining example of this kind of shopping arcade in the Netherlands. They were popular in the large European and American cities in the second half of the 19th century. The wing to the Hofweg, in expressionist style, was only built in 1928. The two other wings, in Neo-Renaissance style, lead to the Spuistraat and the Buitenhof and date from 1882. Hofweg 5-7 / Buitenhof 4-5.

Huis ten Bosch

Palace Huis ten Bosch Palace was originally built as a summer residence for Amalia van Solms. She was very involved in the building process, supported by the palace’s architect Pieter Post and advised by Constantijn Huygens, her husband’s secretary. However, her husband died during construction and she had the palace changed into a mausoleum, in his memory. On the occasion of the marriage of Prince William IV to Princess Anne of England in 1733, two side wings, designed by Daniel Marot, were added to the central building. In 1899 the palace hosted the First World Peace Conference, an initiative of Czar Nicholas II.

The palace was not used by the royal family during World War II. In 1943 the Germans were going to pull the palace down, however, this plan was frustrated at the last moment. After the war the palace fell into disrepair. Princess Juliana stayed her occasionally when she had to be in The Hague on government business. After a major restoration in 1977, Queen Beatrix choose Huis ten Bosch Palace as her residence. From 1981 The Hague was home to a royal family once more.

Noordeinde Palace
Noordeinde Palace has always been the residence of the reigning Stadtholder or monarch. The first inhabitant was Louise de Coligny, the last wife of William the Silent. In the 17th century, Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms had the Huis ten Bosch Palace built. Both palaces were in use until the beginning of the French rule, but from that time until World War II only Noordeinde Palace was used as a residence. During World War II Queen Wilhelmina lived in England. The palace was slightly damaged during the war. After Queen Wilhelmina’s return she lived in a number of villas in Nieuwe Parklaan. Her daughter, Queen Juliana, never lived in Noordeinde Palace. Until 1977 the palace housed the Institute of Social Studies, but after drastic renovations Queen Beatrix chose to use this palace as her place of work in 1984. Left of Noordeinde Palace is number 66, the house where Crown Prince Willem-Alexander lives.

Lange Voorhout Palace
Banker Archibald Hope loaned Lange Voorhout Palace, built by architect Pieter de Swart, to Emperor Napoleon, when he spent a week in The Hague in 1811. In 1845 the palace was bought by Prince Hendrik, son of King William I. From 1901 to 1934 Queen Emma lived here, while Queen Juliana worked from here during her reign. Queen Beatrix had her offices here from 1981 to 1984, but since the renovation of Noordeinde Palace she has worked from there. Lange Voorhout Palace has been open to the public from 1992; the Municipal Museum The Hague uses it for its changing exhibitions.

Royal Stables
Many of the royal family’s carriages are garaged in the royal stables. The best-known of these carriages is the Golden Carriage. This was the present of the people of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina on her ascension to the throne at the age of 18. The Golden Carriage is made of timber, which is covered with a layer of gold leaf. The pictures on the carriage depict many allegorical symbols. The Golden Carriage is used only once per year; at the opening of Parliament on the third Tuesday in September (Prinsjesdag). The Royal Stables are heritage-listed and are not open to the public.


The Hague and region has some
thirty museums. Some enjoy international fame. Others are less well-known but none the less interesting for that. Art museums such as the Gemeentemuseum The Hague, the Statues by the Sea Museum, Panorama Mesdag and the Mauritshuis add colour to the city, together with for example the Hague Historical Museum, the Mesdag Museum, Gallery Prince William V and others.

The Museum for Communication focuses attention on communication: the latest developments in the field of post and telephone, but also special postal stamps and antique telephones. Museum Scheveningen gives visitors a lively picture of the history of this fishing village. Fishing and seaside activities were dominant factors in everyday life and gave the village a unique character. The specific rural character of the former agricultural and historical village of Loosduinen is preserved in ‘De Korenschuur’ Museum.


 

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