The Hague Academy for Local Governance is based in The Hague, an interesting city for different reasons. After Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands and the country’s administrative capital (not to be confused with Amsterdam, the country’s official capital!).

As the administrative capital, The Hague is home to the Dutch central government including national ministries, the nation’s highest court and the national association of Dutch municipalities. The parliament, known collectively as the Binnenhof, is recognised as the oldest House of Parliament in the world still in use.

City of Peace and Justice

Most notably, The Hague is regarded as the International City of Peace and Justice and the ‘third city’ of the United Nations (after New York and Geneva). The foundation of The Hague as ‘City of Peace and Justice’ was lain more than 100 years ago in 1899, when the world’s first ever Peace Conference took place.

Over 130 international organisations and European institutions are based in the city, including the International Criminal Court, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Europol, the European Patent Office and the Peace Palace which is home to the International Court of Justice. More than 118 foreign embassies and consulates also reside in The Hague.

Peace Palace
Peace Palace, home to the International Court of Justice.

Other unique characteristics of the city include its beach in Scheveningen, more than 18 museums and a pedestrian-only city centre popular for its couture shopping and blend of historic and modern architecture.

Facts and Figures

  • After Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Hague is the third-largest city of The Netherlands with 482,510 inhabitants;
  • The Hague acts as seat of government although it is not the nation’s capital;
  • Culture: 30 theatres, 26 cinemas, 45 museums, 4,211 shops, 7 markets, 64 hotels, 490 restaurants and 363 cafés;
  • Green city by the sea: 70,000 trees along the roads, 11 kilometres of coast line, 1/3 of The Hague is green, 1,200 mooring places for pleasure boats, 250 kilometres of bicycle lanes;
  • Number of international organisations: 131;
  • Number of international businesses: 316 (responsible for 49,000 jobs);
  • Number of embassies and consulates: 107 (102 embassies and 13 consulates);
  • As home to the International Court of Justice, The Hague is the only city outside of New York with a UN main body and is a home base to nearly every international organisation in the field of peaceful administration;
  • With important international organisations like Europol and Eurojust, The Hague is also a European city.