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Basic Facts

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The Hague , Dutch: Den Haag, or 's-Gravenhage)
The administrative capital of the Netherlands, situated at the North Sea between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It's located in the west of the country, in the province Zuid-Holland of which it is also the capital.

Population of the city: 465,000 inhabitants. The area of Haaglanden (The Hague and suburbs) has 970.944 inhabitants.

Founded in 1248 AD, is 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". The stork is the symbol of Den Haag.
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.
The Hague was where monarchs, stadholders and counts lived and where the representatives of the cities and provinces met, just as the members of parliament do today.

Political and royal centre
The Hague is the Netherlands' political centre being the home of the Dutch Parliament and its ministries. 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. The Hague has a rich tradition when it comes to royalty. Although the Netherlands first became a monarchy in 1813, the Royal House of Orange had been playing an important role in its history since 1559.

Tourist attractions
Besides being the political capital of the Netherlands The Hague has a lot to offer tourists. Most important is of course the Binnenhof. Also interesting are Paleis Noordeinde, Vredespaleis, Mauritshuis, Panorama Mesdag, Omniversum, and of course Madurodam, which is the Netherlands rebuilt as a small city, with a lot of replicas of famous Dutch buildings and customs.

The beach resort Scheveningen, in the northwestern part of the city, is another popular destination for tourists and young people to go out. Don't miss the parties in the alternative bars on the Northern beach called 'Black Path'.

Old town
City life concentrates around the Hofvijver and the Binnenhof, which is where the Parliament is located. The Binnenhof is the oldest part of the city. This is where the village 'Die Haghe' as it was called way back in the 13th century came into being. The settlement soon became a prosperous village and a modest centre of industry (textiles and beer brewing). The older parts of the town usually have characteristically wide and long streets. Houses are generally low-rise (not more than 3 floors), and quite elegant. The layout of the city is more spacious than other Dutch cities. There are almost no canals in The Hague, as they were all drained in the late 1800s.

The former Dutch colony of Netherlands East Indies (nowadays called Indonesia) has left its mark on The Hague. Many streets are named after places in Netherlands East Indies and there is a sizeable "Indisch" (i.e. mixed Dutch-Indonesian) community. After the loss of these Dutch possessions in December 1949, "Indisch" people often refer to The Hague as 'the Widow of "Indië"'. Each year in June a large indonesian basar is held on the Malieveld, called Pasar Malam Besar.

Edited bytijs on 28.06.2004

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