The Hague Tourist Attractions
The Hague, officially called 's- Gravenhage, is the third largest city in the Netherlands and part of "Randstad Holland", capital of the province of Zuid- Holland, the seat of the Dutch government and the residence of the royal family.
It lies close to the North Sea, and the seaside resort of Scheveningen is within the city limits. The Hague, a place of residence much favored by retired people, including many from the former Dutch colonies (hence its nickname, the "widow of India"), bears the mark of its function as a political, administrative and cultural center, with its ministries and embassies, the headquarters of several international organizations, the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In addition there are numerous research institutes, learned societies, academies and higher educational establishments, as well as the headquarters of many banks and commercial and industrial firms. The Hague is also a city of the arts. Many Dutch painters live here and it is an important center of the international art trade. The applied arts (furniture, china, gold and silverware) are also well established.According to a popular saying in Rotterdam they make money, in Amsterdam they spend it and in The Hague they talk about it. Industry plays a subordinate role, providing employment for only some 30 per cent of the working population. Although limited in scale the range of the city's industry is wide - textiles, electrical apparatus and appliances, metalworking, furniture, printing, rubber goods, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs. Most of the industry is in Scheveningen, the largest seaside resort in the Netherlands, and in the harbor area with its convenient transport facilities. Scheveningen is also an important fishing port. The Hague is linked by rail with Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport.The Hague was originally a hunting lodge of the Counts of Holland - hence the first name of the town, 's- Gravenhage, the "Count's preserve" - and from the mid 13th century it was their permanent residence. Around the Binnenhof, the Count's palace, there grew up at an early stage a village of peasant farmers, craftsmen and traders which became known as Den Haag. To this day the city retains something of the character of a village. From the outset the neutrality of The Hague made it well suited to be the seat of government. From 1593 the States General held their meetings here, and in the 17th and early 18th centuries The Hague was the scene of important diplomatic negotiations and a place of luxury and pleasure, with much building activity. The jealousy of the other towns which sent representatives to the States General excluded The Hague from membership, and it remained the "largest village in Europe" until King Louis Bonaparte granted it a municipal charter - though he also reduced its importance by transferring the meeting place of the States General to Amsterdam. It was only in the middle of the 19th century, when the population passed the 100,000 mark, that The Hague began to come into its own. Today, with its wide streets, spacious squares and promenades and fine residential suburbs, it is a very elegant and attractive city.The Hague hosts numerous annual events and festivals. Throughout the summer months many visitors come to this area to enjoy the beaches and seaside resorts of Scheveningen and Kijkduin.
From the Korte Voorhout, Leidsestraatweg goes east between the Malieveld and the Koekamp deer park to the Haagse Bos (Het Bos), a 2km/1.25mi-long expanse of wooded parkland in The Hague, with beautiful avenues.
Huis ten Bosch
At the east end of the Haagse Bos, surrounded by a moat, is the Huis ten Bosch, built by Pieter Post in 1644-46 as a country residence for Amalia van Solms, wife of Stadholder Frederick Henry. The facade was rebuilt by Daniël Marot in 1734-37, and two wings were added in 1748. The first international peace conference met here in 1899. The house is now the residence of Queen Beatrix and her family. A notable feature is the octagonal Orange Hall, the 15m/50ft high walls of which were entirely covered by the widowed Amalia van Solms between 1648 and 1653 with pictures in memory of her husband.
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