Governmental The Hague, The Hague
The Binnenhof (inner court) has been the location of meetings for the Dutch parliament since 1446. Originally it was a castle that was built in the 13th century and was enlarged by successive counts.
Binnenhof was also the site where the statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was executed in 1619 and you will find a statue of him outside the grounds.
The buildings are also open to public and you can take a short guided tour.
The hofvijver was made around 1350. Its nice to walk along the hofvijver you got a beautiful view at the Mauritshuis, het torentje (little tower), het binnenhof and the latest addition of scycrapers in The hague.
This more than 700 years old castle is now the home of the Dutch throne. This is where the queen does her speech to parlement every year. This is also the center of Dutch parliamentary life. You can bump here in to members of gouvernment or even the queen.
This was surely the highlight of my daytrip to Den Haag:
The Binnehof is a medieval complex of many buildings where most of the Netherlands' political life takes place. Both parliament chambers (eerste en tweede kamer) as well as many government offices can be found here. In the center of the Binnenhof is the Ridderzaal, the oldest part of the complex where different events take place - the most popular is the Prinsjesdag, the day when the Queen presents the government's plans for the next year. The Binnenhof contains also a memorial stone to remember the execution of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt.
In the basement of the Ridderzaal, you will find a visitor's center. For only 6 € you will get a movie about the history of the Netherlands (with focus on the royal family) and a guided tour to the Ridderzaal and one of the two chambers. The guided tour is excellent and you have the chance to ask whatever you want about the Binnenhof and dutch politics. This tour is the only chance to visit Ridderzaal and the parliament buildings.
Count of Holland Floris V (son of William II) completed the original 700 year old castle, built by Count of Holland Floris IV and, created by William II. These buildings now form the INNER COURTYARD (BINNENHOF), including the inner Knight's Hal (Ridderzaal). This fairy-like building started out as a hunting retreat for the royals of Holland. The beautiful Hofvijver (Court's Lake) was dug about 1350 just to the Northerly site and still attracts a lot of tourists.
This is the building where the Dutch throne is located; where you can hear the Queen for her speech to Parliament each year. It is the heart of Dutch parliamentary life; when walking across the Courtyard you get the opportunity to meet ministers, and also MP's, angry protesters and camera crew in the wild. The building is open to public; find the small gift shop where you can get a (short) guided tour.
Day Of The Little Prince & Queen's Speech
Here you'll get when you go with the tour for the Hall of Knights. And the guide will tell all kinds of interesting facts. I was suprised to learn that the room had no daylight on purpose. It turned out that voting was much more negative when the weather was gloomy then when it was a beautiful day. So daylight was eliminated from the room to make voting less subjective...
In the oldest part of the centre, you'll find the Old Townhall next to the busy shopping streets and the 'Grote Kerk' (St. Jacobs church). The Old Townhall was built between 1561-1565. The 'younger' part was added in the 18th century. It is one of my favourite buildings, many people don't really notice it but it actually has one of the most beautiful (and oldest) facades of the whole city!
Throughout the ages, ‘Het 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.
The Ridderzaal ('Hall of Knights') was built around the year 1230 inside the castle as part of the palace of count Floris IV of Holland. It's a major example of a profane building in Gothic style (Flemish Schelde Gothicism to be exact) but it has been changed often and owes much of its current look to a restoration it underwent around 1900. The little wooden porch at the front appears to be the work of P.J.H. Cuypers, architect of neo-Gothicism and the inevitable expert on restorations at that time. No building was restored without his advise! And not always for the better. Before that restoration some politicians wanted to see this building demolished altogether to get a bigger square, the big fashion of that time. Nice for parades and things like that.
Every year on the third Tuesday in September this place is the scene of some unexplainable ritual that involves the queen and lots of politicians and hordes of people gathering in the streets to catch a glimpse of the queen (and some other members of the royal family, especially princess Maxima, whom the whole country is in love with) riding in a golden coach. The queen then sits on her throne, reads a speach about how worried she is about stuff and after that politicians will talk about money and how they would like to spend it. Get it? I don't.
Since 1995 The Hague has a new City Hall (Stadthuis) Building, which is pretty impressive piece of architecture!
designed by the American architect Richard Meier, the building serves for many purposes including the municipal archives and the huge public library. Located right in the center, close to the central train station this building can't be missed or ignored! It is one of the most modern buildings in the city. Worth a look inside! Don't miss it.
The colors of the plenary hall are like the Dutch landscape: blue sky and green grass. The desk are made of Swiss pearwood. Notice the absence of daylight. The policital decisions are to be made in a neutral atmosphere. Each representative has her/his own seat. The peacock-blue leather seats have been designed by the architect Pi de Bruijn. The Back seats have been embossed with the emblem of the Second Chamber.There are 230 seats in the Public Gallery, The first row reserved for the parliament press. Studio by the Dutch Broadcasting Co. Cmaeras are fully automatic. Walls behind are made of very thin stianless steel to enhance the acoustics of the walls. The oil paintings on the wall have been made by Rudi van de Wint. Dutch painter who spent year and half in a studio in the dunes working on the paintings. Walking along the paintings you will sense the movement it evokes becuse of the different sizes and positions of the panels.
Dutch Parlaiment, the States-General, is compose of 2 chambers, the Second chamber(Lower House) and the First Chamber(Upper House). The Second Chamber consist of 150 members and is derectly elected by the Dutch people for a period of 4 years. The 75 members of the First Chamber are not directly elected but chosen byt he members of the 12 Provincial Councils. These people are elected by the Dutch people every 4 years.
A system of proportional representation is used in all Dutch elections so that the distribution of seats corresponds as closely as possibleto the distribution of votes.
In the Netherlands no single party will ever get the majority to form a government. Therefore they always have coalition cabinet.
This is the cnetral of the building. All meeting rooms open into the hall. Dutch architect Pi de Bruijn wanted to emphasize the open character of the building, to stress spaciousness and light, therefore the roof is made of glass. The open construction also a has a metaphorical meaning: the parliament of a democracy should be open and accessible to the public.
The work of art:
the 4 marble panels were once in the session Hall of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. The panels were preserved and put together by the Dutch artist Lex Wegchelaar. The 4 panels represent 4 famous legislators: Mose, Solon(Greek politician in the 6th century B.C.), justinianus (Byzantine Emperor, 500 A.D.), And Napoleon.
The Latin Text around the sculpture reads, translated in english: "When the administration of justice fails, war begins."
The Hague is the political center of The Netherlands. One of the places you can visit is the Second Chamber (Lower House). You can attend one of the meetings that are held here, or do a guided tour when there are no meetings. Most meetings are on tuesdays, wednesdays and thursdays. There are 230 seats available for guests.
It is nice to go and visit the Binnenhof, the place where our national government is seated.
Too bad I missed the grand tour, haven t been there in 20 years and so I still do not know what renovations have been done.
This a view on the binnenhof through the entrance gate of the prisoners gate.
Willem II was proclaimed Holy Roman EMperor in 1247 and he had the Gothic Ridderzaal - Knight's Hall - built as a Banqueting Hall.
In 1581 when the northern provinces of the Netherlands broke free of Spanish rule a huge feast was held here for William of Orange.