The Royal City of Holland

By: Douglas Scott

The Hague is Hollands Royal City has a rich history and tradition. It is not the capital of Holland, although it is the seat of the government and has some wonderful architecture including the Houses of Parliament. The Hague is the traditional seat of Hollands royal family and has three beautiful royal palaces.

It has more square shopping metres than any other city in Holland. Down town boasts dozens of antique and art stores and upscale apparel and jewellery shops. The main pedestrian streets stretching towards the Grote Marktstraat and are always busy with shoppers. This is where the department stores are located, including V&D, Hema, C&D and De Bijenkorf.

The Hague has a varied nightlife, which follows the latest trends and changes constantly.

The Hague has a famous night in the whole of Holland it is the eve of Queen Beatrix' birthday. The whole of downtown in The Hague becomes one big, swinging party with shows by various well-known bands, new musical talent and a festive fair around the Hofvijver pond. This night is called KoninginneNach.

It has two beaches one Scheveningen with the harbour buzzing with activity, while screeching seagulls hover around the fishing boats coming in. The other is the quiet seaside resort Kijkduin and is worth visiting. A romantic walk on the beach, followed by a nice meal in one of the small restaurants on the boulevard. Or, if you feel like doing something a bit more active, a bracing walk or cycle tour in the dunes.

The Prison Gate is the former prison of the Court of Holland. It was only for capital crimes like murder or forgery, or crimes against the monarch. Could end up in the Prison Gate. Lesser crimes were treated by the municipal court of law. The museum has an unique collection of punishment and torture devices that originate from different courts of justice of various Dutch cities.

The Hague and close region features some thirty museums. Mauritshuis is one on them. The mansion of Johan Maurits, governor-general of Dutch Brazil, Count of Nassau Siegen, arose in about 1640. The core of the collection consists of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden-Age, including excellent paintings by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Steen and Frans Hals. The works on permanent displays provide a magnificent panorama of Dutch and Flemish art from 15th to 17th century; from Flemish primitives to sun lid landscapes, from biblical characters to meticulous still lifes, and from calm interiors to humorous genre scenes.

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