While some tourists traveling through Holland base themselves in Amsterdam, others prefer the city of The Hague, which is a cosmopolitan yet more laid back location. Indeed, though Amsterdam is the country’s capital, the seat of the national government and the official residence of the country’s monarchs has always been The Hague. The entire city has a rather 18th century French style, with elegant homes, but it also houses a number of very well kept parks. It is internationally very well known for being the home of the International Court of Justice, which is located in the Peace Palace.
This is the third largest city in Holland and actually started out as a small village, which was chosen by the country’s counts as the site to build their hunting lodge. The name of this original village was Haag, or “hedge”, which later became ‘s-Gravenhage, or “the count’s hedge”. This village grew to accommodate a castle and the administrative center of the Netherlands. It was the first capital of the nation. The parks and various green areas still located throughout the city are the remnants of the original royal hunting grounds. While you’re visiting The Hague, check out Binnenhof, the old castle, which also houses the Royal Picture Gallery, the Peace Palace, and Scheveningen beach resort.