The Hague, history and present

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The Hague

Afbeelding toevoegen International city and centre of legal knowledge

In only a handful of countries the seat of government is not the capital; The Hague (population: 515,000) is one of them. Amsterdam (population: 821,000) is the constitutional national capital, even though the Dutch Government, the Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Council of State, and the working palace Noordeinde of King Willem-Alexander are all located in The Hague, as are all embassies.

The Hague has been an international city and a centre of legal knowledge for several centuries. Since the late 16th century, when the Government of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands was founded in The Hague, the city has been home to foreign diplomats. Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) wrote his book Mare Liberum in The Hague. Published in 1609, this work forms the basis for modern international law. The 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, known on account of his fundamental ideas on peace and freedom, spent the final years of his life living and working in The Hague.

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Visiting The Hague, you are in for a treat when it comes to roving through the veils of history. The recently renovated but still intimate Mauritshuis Museum, next to the Houses of Parliament and to the office of the Prime Minister, houses a world-famous collection from the Dutch Golden Age. At the unique 17th-century palace you can make the acquaintance of The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder, The Bull by Paulus Potter and The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt van Rijn. (www.mauritshuis.nl/en)