CITY OF ROYALS
The special connection with our Royal Family is apparent all over town. The many palaces with their rich history are a testament to this. The Lange Voorhout Palace is situated a stone's throw away from Hotel Des Indes, and if you walk down the Lange Voorhout avenue in search of the Noordeinde Palace, you will first stumble upon a hidden historic jewel: the Kneuterdijk Palace.
In the Great Church, which rises high above the Hague with its hexagonal steeple, members of the royal family were wed, and princes and princesses were baptized. In the Palace Gardens, you can view art, practice yoga or enjoy a picnic.
Following along the extended area of the Lange Voorhout you will find a historical jewel which is unknown to many: The Kneuterdijk Palace. Although it's not as well known as the Noordeinde Palace, the rich history of this building is considerably intertwined with episodes from the life of our Royal family.
King William I, bought this house for his son William II, who took up residence there with his wife Anna Paulowna, after extensive renovations. A new dining hall, ballroom and a small chapel where added, and to give the palace a more modern allure the exterior was painted white. This is the reason why it was nicknamed the Little White Palace. William III also chose Kneuterdijk Palace as his residence. Queen Juliana chose to exclusively use it as her working quarters.
It was William II who had the Gothic hall built as an annex, meant to house his extensive collection of paintings. This Hall was also used for wedding ceremonies and worship services.
Now the Gothic Hall is a small concert hall, where shows are regularly performed. At this moment the Supreme Administrative Court uses Kneuterdijk Palace. The Supreme Administrative Court is an advisory body of the government and also of the highest administrative Court in The Netherlands.
Noordeinde Palace is the working quarter for King Willem Alexander. In times gone by both King William III and Queen-mother Emma, as well as Queen Wilhelmina have resided here.
If the palace walls could speak, they would regale of fairytale weddings and births of princesses which occurred here, but also of the bereaved that mourned their beloved, who were laid in state here.
Noordeinde Palace is also the stage for the Royal ceremonies of offering the credentials of new ambassadors. They arrive in a ceremonial horse-drawn carriages and are presented with an honorary salute by four drum rolls, followed by the national anthem of the country in question played by the Royal Military Band. After inspection of the guard of honor, they are welcomed inside by the King.
Because the Noordeinde Palace serves as working quarters, it is generally not open to the public, except for a few days during the summer. However, it is possible to visit the elegant Palace Gardens, which are situated between the Royal palace, the Royal Stables and the Royal Archives. The Palace Gardens are an ideal spot to enjoy a delicious picnic and from May to September yoga classes are offered here on Sunday mornings.
Since 2017 it is possible to walk the seven paths of the classic labyrinth, which is delineated by stones. There are two entrances to the garden, located on Prinsessewal and Prinsestraat. The garden has open free access from sunrise to sunset, and you can enjoy beautiful lawns, romantic flowerbeds, art objects, ponds and old majestic trees.
THE GREAT ST. JACOB'S CHURCH
One of the oldest buildings in The Hague, the Great Church, also known as St. Jacob's Church, has a strong bond with our Royal family. In the Great Church, members of the Royal family were wed, and princes and princesses were baptized.
The breathtaking interior includes Coats of Arms referring to the gathering of Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the imposing tomb of Admiral Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam, commander of the Dutch fleet in the 17th century.
The hexagonal steeple is 92.5 meters (303 ft) high and has served as a landmark for lost travellers. The tower also proved to be useful for the timely spotting of dangers that could threaten the city. Another feature was that of a fire observation post, where tower guards watched over The Hague while the city lay asleep.
A tour is offered every Saturday and Sunday at 13.00 and 15.00 hours. During the ascent of the 288 steps, the guide will occasionally pause to let you catch your breath and share some facts and anecdotes with you. Once you have reached the top you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city.
LANGE VOORHOUT PALACE
The Lange Voorhout Palace can count many monarchs and even an emperor as its inhabitants, although the latter only stayed there briefly. William II bought the palace for his son Henry, Queen-mother Emma lived there in winter, and the queens Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix used it as their working quarters.
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Marie Louse of Austria stayed here in 1811 during a short official visit to The Hague. Queen Emma took up residence in the palace after her daughter's wedding in 1901 and would reside here till she passed away in 1934. The Escher Museum was established here in 1992. In its function as a museum, this property is the only public building where you can see how affairs were run in times that it still functioned as a palace.
DISCOVER THE HAGUE
Normally the buildings of parliament, where a country is governed from, are located in the country’s capital. The Netherlands are an exception to that rule. The city of The Hague is where history is being written and the future of democracy is determined.
A stay in The Hague is incomplete without visiting the exclusive specialty stores in the many welcoming shopping areas, which are abundantly spread around the Buurtschap 2005 quarter and Hofkwartier (Royal Quarter).
MUSEUMS & THEATERS
The inner-city of The Hague has many museums and theaters. Lovers of art and culture find more than their money's worth here. In the nearby theaters you have your pick of an extensive selection of music, drama, dance and cabaret shows.