The Hague


The Hague is the capital of the province of South Holland. With 545,863 inhabitants, it is (1 August 2020, source: CBS) the third largest municipality in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It is the most densely populated municipality in the Netherlands. Since 1 January 2015, The Hague and 22 other municipalities together form the Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague. The area of ​​this partnership has a total of 2.3 million inhabitants. This region in turn is part of the Randstad. The city of The Hague coincides with the entire territory of the municipality of The Hague with the same name.

The city is home to the Dutch government and parliament, and it is the residence of the royal family. Although The Hague is not the capital of the Netherlands, it largely fulfills that role. For example, most embassies, all ministries and the Supreme Court are located in The Hague. In addition, the city is the seat of various national and international courts, including the International Court of Justice in the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court.

The Hague is the largest Dutch city on the North Sea and has a coastline of eleven kilometers. Due to its location on the North Sea, The Hague has been an international tourist resort since the 19th century. The city has two seaside resorts: Scheveningen and Kijkduin. Next to it is a wide sandy beach with a row of dunes: an extensive nature area. Scheveningen - formerly a fishing village - has a regional port.



Traditionally, the place was called Die Haghe or Den Hag (h) e. For example, in 1568 Philip II spoke of the "freedom of the Hague". From the beginning of the 17th century, the city council officially used the name 's-Gravenhage, which sounds more elegant and is a contraction of' des Graven ha (a) ge '(it was probably already understood at that time as the Hague (= the forest) of the Count of Holland). The old name The Hague continued to exist in popular speech. A similar articulation can be observed in the city of Den Bosch, which is still popularly called that way, while the official name is' s-Hertogenbosch (which was traditionally understood as the forest of the Duke of Brabant)

Since 1990, the municipality has used the name The Hague instead of The Hague as much as possible, in order to reflect the usual language and foreign names such as The Hague (English) and La Haye (French). However, identity cards and official documents from the municipality state 's-Gravenhage, after a proposal to officially change the municipality's name in The Hague was rejected in 1990. The telephone service and the postal service also use The Hague. The railways and road authorities use the shorter name The Hague. The BAG contains the city name 's-Gravenhage (city code 1245).

The name 'The Hague' is used in a figurative sense for the Dutch government and parliament. In its diminutive form, 'The Hague' can be an archetype: the Haagje is used for a 'distinguished' looking place or one associated with the Oranjehuis. Breda is called the Hague of the South, Arnhem the Hague of the East, Roermond the Hague of Limburg and the Frisian Haagje is a nickname of Heerenveen.

The Hague was traditionally the place where Dutch people working in the Dutch colonies used to spend their long leave. After the independence of the Dutch East Indies, many Indisch Dutch moved to The Hague, hence the nickname The Widow of the Indies.



People lived in the Hague area early on, long before there was a village called The Hague. The oldest archaeological finds in the vicinity of the Binnenhof date from around 3000 BC; For example, in 1912, during the construction of Hotel Central on the Lange Poten, now part of the Lower House complex, a flawless flint hand ax was found, the users of which can be classified under the Vlaardingen culture.

In the 2nd century AD. in the dunes on the southern edge of the city there was a Roman fort with an associated settlement, the so-called Vicus van Ockenburgh. Excavations have been carried out here since the 1920s.

The present-day The Hague has existed since 1230, when Count Floris IV of Holland built a modest castle on the spot where a homestead of Lady Meilindis van Wassenaer already stood, which became the seat of the Counts of Holland. The place name 's-Gravenhage and the name of the Gravenstraat for the connection between the Kerkplein and the current Buitenhof still refer to this. In 1248, Count Willem II, who also became Roman king, had a more suitable castle built on a dune lake, the current Hofvijver. His son Floris V saw to it that the Ridderzaal was completed after Willem's untimely death. The Ridderzaal and the Binnenhof were fortified, but the surrounding village never received city rights, although The Hague remained the residence of the Counts of Holland and their successors. The Hague could grow as a compromise between the Dutch cities, but those same cities prevented The Hague from becoming a fortified city.

In 1528, The Hague was raided by the Gelderland general Maarten van Rossum, who estimated the settlement outside the count's castle as a fire, as a result of which the arson was bought off. During the early years of the Eighty Years' War, The Hague was also ruthlessly plundered and almost depopulated. The city was the Spanish headquarters during the Siege of Leiden.


Since at least around the beginning of the 15th century, The Hague had several thousand inhabitants, making it more of a city than a village. At that time, however, a city used to have a very far-reaching degree of self-government and the Counts of Holland (and later their successors: the Dukes of Burgundy and the Habsburgs) chose to be in control of their own residence. From 1585 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands continued this practice, because The Hague was the place where the highest governmental body, the States General, resided. The stadtholder's court was also located there. Initially, in the 1580s it was still a matter of tense whether the devastated The Hague would be rebuilt: the powerful city of Delft preferred to prevent the emergence of a dangerous rival in its immediate vicinity, partly because this city wanted the States General to would settle permanently in Delft. It was nevertheless decided to rebuild, and the States General settled permanently in The Hague in 1585, after Middelburg, among others.

In 1622 The Hague had 16,000 inhabitants. In the 17th century, The Hague was surrounded by canals, which had been built by Stadholder Prince Maurits as an impetus to complete fortifications, but nothing more came of the planned real defenses. At the end of the 18th century, the population had risen to about 40,000, making this "village" the third largest settlement in the Netherlands (after Amsterdam and Rotterdam). Due to the presence of the Stadholder's Court, the States General and foreign diplomats and (foreign) nobility, The Hague had a much more aristocratic character than most other Dutch cities. There was a great contrast between the aristocratic district around the Binnenhof and Voorhout and the more popular parts of the "village".

It was not until 1806, under French rule, that The Hague received its city rights, but at that time a fortress wall was more of a straightjacket than an advantage: The Hague remained without walls and could expand on a large scale. Under the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which was created in the years 1813-1815, The Hague remained the seat of government and parliament (the modern States General). After 1850, the city began to expand beyond the 17th-century canal belt. The population was then more than 70,000.

Around 1870 the number would be reached of 100,000, and around 1900, in the fin de siècle era of Louis Couperus, the city had about 200,000 inhabitants. To the south of the old city center, densely populated working-class neighborhoods such as the Laakkwartier and the Schilderswijk developed, while new neighborhoods were built for the more wealthy citizens on the dune side, such as the Statenkwartier, Duinoord and the Archipelbuurt. At that time, The Hague also played an important role in an artistic sense because of the painters of the Hague School. In 1873, the first sewer system in The Hague was probably constructed on Lange Voorhout, the manhole cover was made by the iron foundry the Prins van Oranje.

In 1899 the First Hague Peace Conference took place in The Hague, which led to the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was established in The Hague. The Peace Palace was built between 1907 and 1913, in which this Court would reside. The International Court of Justice was also later established in the Peace Palace.

The Hague suffered greatly under the German occupation. First of all, about 11,000 Jews in The Hague were deported to the extermination camps, of which only a few hundred returned. Many office workers lost their jobs because the Netherlands was cut off from its colonies and other business interests abroad. The national government fell under the occupier, resulting in conflicts of loyalty or dismissals among the many civil servants in The Hague. The construction of the Atlantic Wall and other fortifications by the Germans forced more than 100,000 residents of The Hague to evacuate, often far outside the city. Thousands of homes were demolished. The Hunger Winter of 1944-1945 took the lives of hundreds of weakened people.

Towards the end of the Second World War, on March 3, 1945, 510 people were killed in the bombing of Bezuidenhout. The bombing was carried out by the Allies and was aimed at destroying the Germans' mobile V2 launchers.

On October 29, 1983, more than 550,000 people demonstrated peacefully against the deployment of cruise missiles in the Netherlands and against nuclear weapons in general. It is the largest street protest ever held in the Netherlands.

In 1960 the population of The Hague had risen to over 600,000. Suburbanization and the emergence of growth centers around the city, such as Zoetermeer, left 441,000 inhabitants at the end of the century. Since then, new annexations and urban expansions have followed, including in Ypenburg and Leidschenveen, which once again exceeded the 500,000 inhabitants mark in 2011.



City layout
The Hague has eight districts. Each of these districts has its own office, where most of the services of the municipality are located. Thanks to these offices, the municipality is more easily accessible for many things. The division into city districts was established by the city council in 1988. Each of these city districts is subdivided into districts and neighborhoods. This division differs from the well-known district and neighborhood division that has been used since 1953.

The distribution of the number of inhabitants in 2015 was as follows:
Center 100,651 inhabitants
Laak 40,359 inhabitants
Leidschenveen-Ypenburg 48,221 inhabitants
Escamp 120,080 inhabitants
Loosduinen 45,865 inhabitants
Segbroek 60,593 inhabitants
Scheveningen 55,717 inhabitants
Haagse Hout 44,253 inhabitants

The Hague North
In The Hague, on most maps of the city, the North Sea is seen as the North, while in reality the sea is in the west-northwest. On a map of The Hague with the sea in the North, street and neighborhood names are (partly) named after points of the compass in the 'right' place.

For a city, The Hague is very rich in nature. Within the municipal boundary lies an extensive, rugged dune area, with a wide, natural sandy beach almost twelve kilometers long along it. Scattered throughout the city are several larger and smaller parks, such as the Rosarium, Sint Hubertuspark, the Paleistuin, Wapendal, the Bosjes van Pex, the Westbroekpark, the Zuiderpark, Madestein, and the Uithof. There are several old estates and forests, partly a stone's throw from the city center: the 120-hectare Haagse Bos en Arendsdorp, both dating from the 17th century.

Most other estates are located, sometimes contiguous, on the outskirts of the city, where they form an extensive green belt that merges on the north side into the even greener neighboring municipality of Wassenaar. These include Bloemendaal, Clingendael, Duindigt, Marlot, Duinweide, Meer & Bos, Ockenburgh, Oostduin, Oosterbeek, Reigersbergen and Sorghvliet. Between The Hague and Scheveningen lie the Scheveningse Bosjes and the Nieuwe Scheveningse Bos together of 116 hectares, traditionally a pristine dune area, which has been gradually planted from the beginning of the 18th century to prevent sand drift.

The leafy streets in the center: Lange Voorhout and Lange Vijverberg, located on the Hofvijver, contribute to the spacious and green impression that The Hague makes.

Like other cities in the Netherlands, The Hague had many canals, also called ruien. They served for shipping, but also as sewer. Already around 1350, The Hague was connected to Delft via the Vliet, and in 1619 the canal belt around The Hague was completed. In 1900 the Laakhaven was built, which grew into the sixth inland port in the Netherlands.

As the population grew, the canals started to smell more and more. The wealthy had houses outside the city to escape the stench in summer, but most people lived in the city. There were regular epidemics. In the 19th century, the first sewers were built, and many canals were covered or filled in. A major problem in The Hague was that the canal water could not be discharged to the sea. The Verversingskanaal was constructed towards the North Sea, but the Koninginnegracht was never extended to the sea.

In the late 20th century, plans were made in various cities to restore several old canals, the so-called canal plan. Since 2003 it has also been possible to take a cruise through the canals of The Hague and to sail through Avenue Culinaire and the other The Hague neighborhoods.

In addition to Hagenaar, a resident of The Hague can also be called Hagenees. The classic story has it that there is a division between the residents of The Hague, who live on sand, and the Hague residents, who live on peat. The Hague is partly built on sand dunes, the boundary of which with the peat areas is roughly level with the Laan van Meerdervoort. Districts such as Laakkwartier, Schilderswijk and Escamp are built on peat soil. Anyone born on the sand is then called a Hagenaar, those born on peat soil a Hagenees. Another definition of Hagenezen is: people who speak flat The Hague, while Hagenaars are the people who speak primarily Hague. The word Hagenees therefore has a negative connotation for some.


Population composition
The Hague had 545,863 inhabitants on 1 August 2020, making it the third city in the Netherlands. More than half of the inhabitants now have a recent migration background (Western and non-Western). The proportion of people with a migration background is steadily increasing. In the Schilderswijk and the Transvaalkwartier, the percentage of residents with a migration background has been close to 100% since 2005. People with a migration background are also in the majority in the Groente- en Fruitmarkt, Laakkwartier and Stationsbuurt neighborhoods. The composition of the population differs per neighborhood. The neighborhoods with the fewest inhabitants with a migration background in the city are Duindorp, Kijkduin, Kraayenstein and the Vogelwijk.

The neighborhoods with the lowest per capita incomes are the Schilderswijk, the Transvaal and Laakkwartier and the Spoorwijk (all € 9,000 or less). The neighborhoods with the most income per capita are Benoordenhout, Haagse Bos (although this neighborhood has less than 300 inhabitants and we can assume that the income of the king - who also lives there - is not included in this statistic) and Westbroekpark / Nap shuttle (all € 19,000 or higher). Some of the residents with a migration background come under the term expat. In 2019 and 2020, The Hague was in third place (out of 490 locations) in a ranking of the most livable cities.

According to Statistics Netherlands, 51.3% of the population belonged to a religious denomination or an ideological group, while 48.7% was non-religious. The largest religious denomination is the Catholic Church (15.1%), followed closely by Islam (14.8%). In addition, there are a number of other religious groups, including the Dutch Reformed Church (4.8%), Hinduism (4.6%), the Protestant Churches (3.9%), Buddhism (0.7%) and the Judaism (0.2%).

Gay culture (historical)
In The Hague, as early as 1702, there were permanent locations where sodomites met and during the wave of legal prosecutions in 1730 it emerged that there were three fun houses where gay men came together for paid or unpaid sex. In addition, they met each other on so-called cross lanes in the open air, such as the Voorhout.

Modern gay emancipation in the Netherlands also started in this city when Jhr. Jacob Schorer founded the Nederlandsch Scientific Humanitair Komitee (NWHK) in 1912, the first Dutch organization to fight against discrimination against homosexuals. After Schorer wanted to show the film Anders als die Andern in 1920, a manhunt for alleged gays started, which came to be known as the Hague sex scandal. After Amsterdam, The Hague had the largest homosexual subculture with relatively extensive networks. Besides meeting places in the open air, gays were tolerated in various catering establishments around 1920 and there were several distinct gay cafés during the German occupation.

On January 21, 1969, the first Dutch demonstration for equal rights took place at the Binnenhof in The Hague. In 1993, the Homomonument The Hague International was unveiled near Madurodam, which was moved to the Koekamp in 2015. The Hague has been one of the Rainbow Cities since 2008 and a year later the national Pink Saturday took place in the city for the first and so far only time. As a follow-up there was a The Hague Pride in 2010, later replaced by the The Hague Rainbow Festival, which is held annually in June and included a Pride Walk for the first time in 2017. Another visible expression of the attention for LGBT emancipation was the construction of a "gay crossing path" on the central reservation of the Bezuidenhoutseweg in May 2016.