Binnenhof, political heart of The Netherlands (The Hague)

Step through the famous entry gate into the historical Binnenhof (Inner Court) in the heart of our democracy. This is the place where the most important events in the nation’s history took place. It is also where the future is created. The Inner Court in The Hague is studded with monumental old buildings testifying of eight centuries of governing in the Low Countries, but it also has several ample open spaces, all freely open to the public. The Binnenhof is a must-see if you’re in The Hague. Take a stroll through the courtyard and admire the fairytale-like splendour or take the time to take a tour through the various halls. You won’t be disappointed!

Guided tours 
During a tour by ProDemos, take a look inside the House of Representatives. Climb the stairs to the Hall of the Knights with its many historical details and view the throne on which King Willem Alexander deliveres his realy speech on Prince’s Day.

The Binnenhof is situated in the heart of The Hague’s city centre. It has been the location of meetings of the Dutch parliament, the Staten-Generaal, since 1446, and has been the centre of Dutch politics for many centuries. The grounds on which the Binnenhof now stands were purchased by Count Floris IV of Holland in 1229, where he built his mansion, next to the modest lake that has been called Hofvijver or ‘Court Pond’ since the 13th century. More buildings were constructed around the court, several of which are well known in their own right, such as the Ridderzaal (Great hall; literally Knight’s Hall), where King Willem-Alexander holds his annual speech at Prinsjesdag (Prince’s Day).

Office of the Prime Minister 
One of the towers, simply known as het Torentje (‘the Little Tower’; directly next to the Mauritshuis) has been the office of the Prime Minister of Holland since 1982.

House of Representatives 
A large modern building at the south side of the Binnenhof since 1992 houses the House of Representatives, the lower but more important of the Dutch democratically elected Houses of parliament.

Famous neogothic fountain 
A gold neogothic fountain adorns the main square and one of the few Dutch equestrian statues (of King William II) guards the main Stadtholder’s Gate, that dates from around 1600.

Court Pond 
Standing at the Hofvijver, ‘Court Pond’, the artificial lake beside the Binnenhof, one has a splendid view at numerous buildings from different centuries. The Hofvijver was first dug out by the counts of Holland in the late 13C. Originally a natural body of water among the sand dunes, the Court Pond was extended over the years. The excavated sand was piled up on the north side of the lake to form the elevated area known as the Lange Vijverberg, now occupied by a graciously curving line of mostly 18C mansions. The 17C buildings along the short side of the lake, the Korte Vijverberg, include the King’s Cabinet and the city’s historical museum.