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The Hague travel guide — The Hague tourism and travel information

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about The Hague

The Hague (Dutch: Den Haag, or officially 's-Gravenhage) is the administrative capital of the Netherlands, located in the west of the country, in the province South Holland of which it is also the capital. With a population of 469,568 (01-01-2004) (700,000 in the metropolitan area) and an area of approximately 100 km², it is the third-largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

The Hague hosts the Eerste Kamer and the Tweede Kamer, respectively the Senate and the House of Representatives, forming the Dutch parliament. Also the Dutch Queen Beatrix lives and works in The Hague. All foreign embassies and government ministries are located in the city, as well as the Supreme Court and many lobby organisations.

As one of the capitals of the United Nations, The Hague is host to several institutions of the UN:

The Hague history

Originally a hunting location, the counts of Holland used it as their administrative center; all cities had their rights and 'kapsones'. 'Des Graven Hage' literally means "The counts' hedge" or "The count's private enclosure". The stork is the symbol of Den Haag.

The oldest building, the Ridderzaal (Knights' Hall) was built in 1236. It is still in use for political events.

The Hague was formally named a city by the French occupation force as late as 1806, centuries after other Dutch cities had received similar rights. This has led to the urban legend that The Hague is not a city but a village.

Until the 19th century The Hague was little more than a small town. It was undefended by city walls because of its political status. It lacks a large historical inner city like the nearby cities of Leiden and Delft. The Hague started growing quickly when the government started playing a more prominent role in Dutch society. The older parts of the city are therefore mostly from the 19th century and the early 20th century.

The city sustained heavy damage during World War II. The Atlantic Wall was built right through the city, causing whole neighbourhoods to be torn down by the Germans. On March 3rd, 1945, the Royal Air Force bombarded the Bezuidenhout. The target was an installation of V2 rockets in a nearby park. Due to navigation errors, the bombs fell on a heavily populated part of the city. Over 500 people died and the scars in the city are still to be seen today.

After the war The Hague was at some point the largest building site in Europe. The city expanded massively in the southwest. The destroyed areas were also quickly rebuilt. The population peaked at 550.000 inhabitants around 1970.

After that the mostly white middle classes moved to the suburbs like Voorburg, Leidschendam, Rijswijk and most of all Zoetermeer. This has led to the traditional pattern of an impoverished inner city and more prosperous suburbs. Attempts to include parts of the suburbs in The Hague are highly controversial.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "The Hague".

This city is also known as: The Hague ('s-Gravenhage or Den Haag).

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