The Hague

The Hague originated around the 13th century Binnenhof, and this is still considered the cultural centre of the city. Night life centres around the three main squares in the city centre. The Plein (literally "Square") is taken by several large sidewalk cafés where often politicians may be spotted. The Grote Markt (literally "Great Market") is completely strewn with chairs and tables, summer or winter. The Buitenhof (literally "Outer Court", located just outside the Binnenhof) contains a six screen Pathé cinema and a handful of bars and restaurants in the immediate vicinity. Adjacent to the Buitenhof is De Passage, the country's first covered shopping mall. Dating from the late 19th century, it contains many expensive and speciality shops. One of the country's largest music venues, Paard van Troje, can be found in the centre of The Hague. Another popular music venue in The Hague is Muziekcafé de Paap.

The Spuiplein is a modern fourth square in the city centre, opposite the Nieuwe Kerk. Besides the City Hall, this is also the location of the Dr. Anton Philipszaal, home to the Residentie Orchestra, and the Lucent Danstheater, home to the internationally celebrated modern dance company Nederlands Dans Theater. These buildings, designed by Rem Koolhaas in 1988, are planned for demolition to make space for a new theatre, the Spuiforum, which would house both institutes as well as the Royal Conservatory. Despite efforts of the municipality, public support for the proposed theatre remains low. At the heart of the city centre across the palace gardens is the home of Summerschool Den Haag, international school for dance with guestteachers such as Valentina Scaglia, Igone de Jongh, and Maia Makhateli. The Koninklijke Schouwburg, home to the Nationaal Toneel, can also be found in the city centre - on the Korte Voorhout. New European Ensemble is an ensemble for contemporary music consisting on international musicians. The ensemble has its main base in the city.

Scheveningen forms a second cultural centre of The Hague, having its own Pathé cinema as well as the musical theatre Circustheater although, especially in the summer, most night life concentrates around the sea-front boulevard with its bars, restaurants and gambling halls. Several other attractions can be found in Scheveningen, such as the miniature city Madurodam, the panoramic painting Panorama Mesdag, and Europe's first 360° IMAX-cinema the Omniversum.

The Hague is the residence of the Dutch monarch, and several (former) royal palaces can be found in the city. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands live in Huis ten Bosch in the Haagse Bos, and work in the Noordeinde Palace in the city centre. Moreover, there are two former royal palaces in The Hague. The Kneuterdijk Palace, built in 1716, is now home to the Council of State of the Netherlands, and the Lange Voorhout Palace is now occupied by the Escher Museum, dedicated to Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher.

The Hague has its share of museums, most notably the Mauritshuis, located next to the Binnenhof, which exhibits many paintings by Dutch masters, such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn and Paulus Potter. Other museums include the science museum Museon, the modern art museum Gemeentemuseum, the historic museum Haags Historisch Museum, the national postal museum Museum voor Communicatie, the Museum Bredius, the Louis Couperus Museum, the museum Beelden aan Zee in Scheveningen, and the former prison housed in a 15th-century gatehouse, the Gevangenpoort.

Since early times, possibly as far back as the 16th century, the stork has been the symbol of The Hague.

Several films have been (partially) shot in The Hague, including Hum Tum (2004), Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Zwartboek (2006). An alternative music video of Coldplay's Viva la Vida was also shot in The Hague.

 

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