What The Hague? The top facts about Holland’s 3rd largest city
When naming Dutch cities, you may immediately think of Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ capital, known for its historic character and forward-thinking attitudes. You may also list Rotterdam, home of the world’s smartest port, or Eindhoven, an inventive city within Europe’s Brainport region. But what do you know about The Hague?
As the Dutch seat of government and home to approximately half a million residents, The Hague is teeming with diplomats, legislators and global business leaders. As a result, the city is responsible for a majority of international ideas, innovations and laws. Read on to discover more about this illustrious and important Dutch city.
Historic Hunting Grounds Create a City
Source: Den Haag NL
Home to classic Vermeer paintings and the Dutch royal family, The Hague plays an important role in Holland’s history. Originating in 1230, The Hague was initially the hunting grounds for the Count of Holland. The city’s name comes from the Dutch title “‘s-Gravenhage,” which means “The Count’s Hedge.” In 1588, The Hague officially became the Dutch seat of government.
To this day, The Hague is still the home of the cabinet of the Netherlands, the States General, the Supreme Court and the Council of State. The Netherlands’ Binnenhof, a Gothic castle turned government complex, remains the world’s oldest House of Parliament still in use.
The International City of Peace and Justice
Source: International Court of Justice
With such a historic legacy in government, it’s no wonder The Hague has become a global center of justice. In 1899, The Hague held the world’s first Peace Conference. Less than 50 years later, the United Nations selected The Hague as its hub for international law. Today, the city even hosts the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. If a global dispute needs to be settled, The Hague is likely at the center of its resolution.
As an extension of the city’s dedication to peace and security, The Hague is also at the forefront of helping Holland become the “secure gateway to Europe.” The city helped foster the world’s leading security cluster, The Hague Security Delta (HSD). HSD brings together businesses, governments and knowledge institutions to protect cybersecurity and critical infrastructure.
In fact, thanks to the presence of more than 400 security companies in The Hague, US data and tech firms like LeoStat and Dtex Systems have recently established offices in the city.
The Hague: A Dutch Hotspot for Business
Source: Den Haag Greeters
Thanks to these strong foundations, the city has become a highly attractive location for business. Diverse companies like APM Terminals, Siemens, Jacobs, AT&T, Samasource and Shell call The Hague home for regional and European headquarters. In fact, in 2016 alone, a total of 49 foreign companies invested in The Hague.
Aside from private companies, The Hague also boasts 240 international organizations, tribunals and NGOs. Such organizations include the NATO Communications and Information Agency, the European Patent Office and Europol.
Testing Ground for New Innovations
With nonprofits, government and private companies working side by side, The Hague is the perfect testing ground for new ideas.
Recent innovations pursued include drone use in emergency situations, simplifying complex data communications and green energy solutions. Recently, The Hague even welcomed the first United Nations Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.
The city also holds more than 20 international schools and institutions of higher learning, which help foster new ventures. For example, Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands, maintains its Center for Innovation in The Hague. Impact City is also the city’s official hub for entrepreneurship, where they host programs like Startup in Residence and The Hague Innovators Challenge.
So next time you’re asked about innovative Dutch cities, make sure to add The Hague to your list!