Governmental The Hague, The Hague

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  • Governmental The Hague
    by leics
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    Lily and dragon
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    Ridderzaal
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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Binnenhof - The Seat of Governement

    by johngayton Updated Nov 14, 2013

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    Although Amsterdam is de facto the capital city of the Netherlands the Dutch government has been based here in Den Haag since 1588, apart from a brief period when Napoleon ruled from Amsterdam between 1808 and 1813. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate meet at the Binnenhof (Inner Court) here in the city centre.

    This is an interested collection of buildings whose origins stem from being the private residences of the Counts of Holland from the early 13th century. Designed as a sort of castle the original was walled and protected by a moat-like canal system and the adjacent Hofvijver lake. At its centre is the Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) which was constructed in the later half of the 13th century to house visiting knights. This is now used for, amongst other things, the annual state opening of parliament when the reigning monarch addresses the members from the throne.

    The site itself is open to the public, and indeed is a main pedestrian and cyclists throughway, whilst guided tours of the individual buildings can be arranged through the VVV Tourist Office.

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    The Binnenhof and Ridderzaal

    by leics Updated Apr 13, 2013

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    The Binnenhof ('Inner Court') is the name used for the complex of buildings which have, over the centuries, been built on the site of a Medieval castle (1200s, nothing visible remaining). It's been the location of the Dutch parliament for many centuries.

    The vast inner courtyard has free public access but you can only visit the interior of buildings in a guided tour (for obvious reasons...this is still a functioning workspace). The link below gives details of tours, tickets and contacts in English.

    I had no intention of taking a tour, simply of wandering through the Binnenhof. I was pleased by the almost-Ruritanian feel of the inner courtyard, most particularly the pointy-towered Ridderzaal ('Hall of knights). It dates from the 1200s but I'm pretty sure it has been substantially enlarged and altered since it was first built. As well as being a meeting place for 'governmental' discussions the Ridderzaal has served lots of purposes over the centuries: book-trading in the 1600s, a drill hall, public record office. Nowadays it is used for the official opening of Parliament, for official royal receptions and also for conferences. You can visit the interior on daily guided tours (details on the link below).

    I also liked the elaborate, partially-gilded neo-Gothic fountain which stands directly in front of the Ridderzaal. It dates from 1865 and is made of wrought iron on a stone base...there are some beautifully-wrought lilies and dragons. The statue on the top represents King Willem ll and the fountain was commissioned by local residents as a 'thank-you' for the restoration of the Binnenhof buildings which began in 1879.

    The Binnenhof is an important place in the modern Netherlands and in dutch history so of course i is a 'must-see' when you visited Den Haag. But even if you have no interest in any of that, the inner courtyard a very pleasant place to wander or sit and people-watch for a while.

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    Het Binnenhof – Also the Hofvijver.

    by Jerelis Written Sep 22, 2011
    Me at the Hofvijver.
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    The city life of The Hague truly concentrates in and around the Binnenhof and its beautiful Hofvijver (Court Pond). Being at the inner court makes you realize that it is studded with monumental old buildings testifying of eight centuries of governing in the Netherlands, but it also has several ample open spaces, all freely open to the public, so do wonder around. Nice to know is that there is also a gilt neogothic fountain and the statue of King William II guards the main Stadtholder’s Gate, that dates from around 1600.

    After exploring the Binnenhof it’s always a pleasure to walk around the Hofvijver. This little lake is adjoined in the east by a road and in the south by the Binnenhof and the Mauritshuis. This provides some stunning view over the lake at the Binnenhof. I usually do sit down on a bench to overlook this beautiful view. Right there you will probably notice the small island in the middle of the Hofvijver with plants and trees which has no name, it is usually referred to as "the island in the Vijverberg".

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    Het Binnenhof – Former hunting residence.

    by Jerelis Written Sep 22, 2011
    Binnenhof and the Knights' Hall.
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    The city of The Hague was originated around 1230, at this time Floris IV, Count of Holland purchased land alongside a pond (now called the Hofvijver) in order to build a hunting residence. In 1248 William II, Count of Holland, decided to extend the residence to a palace. He died in 1256 before this palace was completed, but parts of it were finished by his son Floris V, of which the Ridderzaal (Knights' Hall), still extant, is the most prominent. It is still used for political events, such as the annual speech from the throne by the monarch. From the 13th century on the counts of Holland used The Hague as their administrative centre and residence when in Holland.

    With 20 million visitors a year, this part of the city exudes an elegant and international atmosphere. Being right at the square inside the Binnenhof makes you witness the elegancy and historical magnificence of the Binnenhof. It always makes me humble whenever I look at the beautiful buildings that surround me.

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    Het Binnenhof – A definitely must see!

    by Jerelis Written Sep 21, 2011
    We stood in awe.
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    Maybe it is a pretty weird statement, but at least I’m being honest. I have been to Den Haag (The Hague) many times, and I always visited the Binnenhof. And whenever I will visit the city again, once again I will go to the Binnenhof! Because, if you haven’t seen it … you haven’t been to The Hague. It’s that simple. Of course I can hear you asking: what makes the Binnenhof so unique that you have to visit once you’re in The Hague? The answer is easy and sounds like this: throughout the ages, the Binnenhof in The Hague has always been the centre of politics in the Netherlands, the place where affairs of state were discussed.

    Not only are the buildings themselves well worth seeing, but it was here that the most important events in Dutch history took place. Parliament still meets here, and thus the Binnenhof remains the centre of Dutch political life today. So, for me being Dutch this is probably the most important spot politically speaking and historically it is a magnificent place as well.

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    Binnenhof – Inner Court

    by penumbra Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Grenadierspoort -Grenadier's Gate
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    Originally a castle surrounded by a moat, the Binnenhof is a collection of buildings where the Staten-Generaal (the Dutch parliament) has met since 1446.

    Ridderzaal: (Knight’s Hall) was built by Floris V (1230 and 1248). This is where the queen gives her annual speech to parliament.

    Het Torentje: (Little Tower) is the small round tower opposite the Mauritshuis and the home of the Prime Minister's office.

    Grenadierspoort: (Grenadier's Gate) is the north entrance to the Binnenhof. Built in 1634, the entrance is located diagonally opposite the Mauritshuis.

    Gevangenpoort: (Prison Gate) was built in 1300 and was originally an entrance gate of the Buitenhof. Between 1420 and 1820 the gate house was used as a prison but is now a museum.

    Buitenhof: (Outer Court) is the square south of the Binnenhof. Since the 19th century the square has been opened to traffic.

    Hofvijver: (Court Pond) is the lake in front of the parliamentary buildings.

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    Former Department of Justice

    by RoyJava Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    See the beautiful former Department of Justice, built in Neo-Renaissance style around 1880. The name of C. Peters and Mialaret are responsable for this piece of beauty of Empire at the Plein/Square (see above). It got world famous for its many art details, which unfortunatedly were transported to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

    Still enjoy the unique grandeur of this building, where the Government and the ministers spend their time. The reddish colour got trendy today again, so this building is visited, and photographed, by many Dutch tourists ...

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    Binnenhof

    by MATIM Written Feb 7, 2008

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    The oldest part of this medieval earl's castle, the Knights' Hall and the 'Rolgebouw' behind it, date from the 13th century. In the course of the centuries, the Binnenhof was renovated and expanded continuously. As early as the 15th century the Binnenhof housed the County Council and in 1585 it became the seat of the States General of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

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    Binnenhof and Buitenhof #5

    by egonwegh Updated Nov 23, 2007

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    Buitenhof, statue of King Willem II

    Statue of King Willem II ('the hero of Waterloo') on the Buitenhof. Well-known as the Hero of Waterloo, where he personally commanded the Dutch soldiers of the alliance against French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. A less well-known thing is that the King is said to have been bisexual, something that was written in a book in 2007 and caused a bit of a row.

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    Binnenhof

    by pieter_jan_v Written Sep 20, 2007

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    Binnenhof fountain.
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    The Binnenhof houses the First and Second Chambers, the heart of the Dutch government.

    The Second Chamber is the representation of the Dutch people (The Parliament) since 1446 and the First Chamber is the Senate.

    The history dates back to 1229 when the first grounds were bought by Count Floris IV of Holland.

    Guided tours

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    Binnenhof

    by didgeridorien Updated Apr 24, 2007
    Binnenhof
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    This is where the Dutch government resides. The prime minister has his own small tower, you can see it from across te water (Hofvijver). You can walk into the Buitenhof, in the middle of the buildings.

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    the parliament buildings

    by margaretvn Updated Sep 24, 2006

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    the parliament buildings
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    The Binnenhof is a collection of buildings which centre around the hunting lodge of the counts of Holland.
    The Binnenhof has been the residence of Stadhouders, princes and governments since the time of Willam II.
    There are tours through the buildings which take you through medieval cellars, the ridderzaal and the debating chambers of the upper and lower house of parliament. They have to be booked

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    Buitenhof

    by robertgaz Updated Sep 2, 2006

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    Buitenhof with Hofvijver
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    The "Buitenhof" (outer court) were originally a part of the original castle that was built during the 13th century.

    It was a basically a square surrounded by walls. Inside these walls were military houses and stables for the horses of the Counts of Holland.

    The Hofvijver (Court Pond) surrounds the Binnenhof is where the Dutch Parliament is currently located.

    Until the 17th century the pond surrounded the whole Binnenhof for protection so that you could only reach it by bridges and gates.

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    Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

    by robertgaz Written Aug 30, 2006

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    Johan van Oldenbarnevelt

    Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (September 14, 1547, Amersfoort – May 13, 1619, The Hague) was a Dutch statesman who played an important role in the Dutch struggle for independence from the Spanish.

    A short walk from the Houses of Parliament is a commemorative monument of one of the founding fathers of the Netherlands.

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    Ridderzaal

    by robertgaz Updated Aug 29, 2006

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    Ridderzaal
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    The Ridderzaal (Knights Hall) was built way back around 1230 inside the original castle as a part of the palace of Count Floris IV of Holland.

    Each year the Dutch Queen holds her much anticipated address to Parliament here.

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