The Hague is one of the most extraordinary cities in the Netherlands. Not just because it is the Dutch government city, but also because of its many monuments, historic districts and its location near the beautiful North Sea coastline. The Hague is also known as ‘the Royal City by the Sea’ and is called ‘the residence city’.
The Netherlands’ third-largest city is a stately, regal place filled with embassies and mansions, green boulevards and parks, a refined culinary scene, a clutch of fine museums and a sybaritic cafe culture. Conversely, its seaside suburb of Scheveningen has a loud and lively kitsch and a long stretch of beach.
Officially known as ’s-Gravenhage (the Count’s Hedge), The Hague is the Dutch seat of government and home to the royal family. Prior to 1806, The Hague was the Dutch capital. However, that year, Louis Bonaparte installed his government in Amsterdam. Eight years later, when the French had been ousted, the government returned to The Hague, but the title of capital remained with Amsterdam.
In the 20th century The Hague became the home of several international legal entities, including the UN’s International Court of Justice, which regularly holds trials that put The Hague in the headlines. This is also where foreign embassies in the Netherlands are based, giving the city a significant international community of expats.