Located in Western Europe,
bordered by Germany to the East, and
Belgium to the South.
· Total land area is 33 889 km˛
· One of the highest population densities
in the world
· Lowest point at Prins Alexanderpolder,
at -7m below sea level
· Highest point is Vaalserberg, at
321m above sea level.
Map of The Hague
A temperate maritime
· winter daytime 0 - 10°c
· winter nighttime often below freezing
· summer daytime generally between
20 - 30°c.
· summer nights tend to fall in the
10 - 20° range.
Rainfall throughout the year is evenly
distributed, often as a light, persistent
From March to May, the rain tends
to fall in short, sharp bursts. The
summer months can be quite humid,
particularly in the warmest months
of June to September. Sunshine is
prevalent throughout May to August.
Netherlands has a fascinating history
and was once the dominant economic
power of Europe. This tiny country
had produced great thinkers, explorers,
artists and scientists.
Origins of the nation
The Netherlands of today
has it roots in the late 16th century.
Through a long process of marriages
and political manoeuvrings, the provinces
that we know as the Netherlands became
possessions of the Holy Roman Empire
and eventually of Phillip II of Spain.
These provinces enjoyed a degree of
autonomy before the authoritarian
and centralized rule of the new Catholic
overlord. After a series of rebellions
in the late 16th century, the 7 northern
provinces succeeded in breaking away
from Spanish rule and formed the “Republic
of the Seven United Netherlands”.
(Although called a Republic they were
in fact ruled by the princes of the
House of Orange, the ancestors of
the present royal family of the Netherlands.)
The Golden Age
The Golden Age followed,
a period during the 17th and early
18th centuries when The Netherlands
dominated the world in trade, science
and the arts. Well-built Dutch ships
sailed the seas, bringing wealth from
colonies in the East Indies and Africa
and extending Dutch influence around
the world. Trade produced a wealthy
middle class of merchants who built
the tall gabled houses now so typical
of Dutch cities, and produced a society
that was affluent and orderly at a
time when much of Europe was desperately
poor. The arts and sciences flourished;
artists such as Rembrandt, Hals and
Vermeer left a legacy of great paintings
while Dutch scientists were responsible
for many inventions of the day including
the microscope and the Mercator Projection
– the style of map still familiar
to school children and seamen alike.
The Dutch practiced a tolerance to
other nationalities and religions
that was unprecedented in Europe of
the time. In the 16th and 17th centuries,
Huguenots fleeing religious persecution
in France found refuge in the Netherlands,
working in the textile industry. Similarly
the English pilgrims lived in Leiden
for 12 years before setting out for
America. Although the Netherlands
was by this time a Protestant nation,
Jews and Catholics were allowed to
practice their own religions.
Dutch influence waned in the late
18th century and the Netherlands fell
under control of the French under
Napoleon until his eventual defeat.
During WWII the German army
occupied The Netherlands. Despite
initial protests from Dutch leaders
and academics, the Jewish population
was ruthlessly hunted down. The civilian
population suffered much hardship
during the war years. Evidence of
the history of this time is all around
– the bunkers in the dunes of
the North Sea, the battlefields in
the west and in the many individual
tales of tragedy and heroism.
May 4th is commemorated each year
with solemn wreath laying ceremonies
and two minutes of silence at 8pm
for all those killed in war. Please
respect this, should you be here at
the time. Every 5th year, Liberation
Day, 5th May 1945 is also celebrated
as an official holiday, usually accompanied
by displays and local events –
although recognition has become less
in recent years. Here in The Hague
area, Scheveningen prison, Clingendael
Park, Bezuidenhout and even south
Wassenaar have wartime stories to
Introduction to The Hague
In the beginning of the 13th century,
Count Floris IV of Holland bought
a dune area around a pond. He built
a house on the dune top and the pond
still exists as the “Hofvijver”
which means Court Pond, next to the
Binnenhof. The house and its surrounding
area were called Haga which means
"land surrounded by hedges".
In later centuries "Haga"
is Dutch for "counts").
In 1256 Count Floris V built a palace
in the area. This palace still stands
today and is called Ridderzaal ("Knight's
hall"). From that moment on the
number of inhabitants started to grow
and Haga became a village. Other buildings,
walls and gates gradually surrounded
In the 17th century, after the liberation
from the Spanish catholic kings, these
buildings were replaced by palaces
of the new protestant leader, the
Princes of Oranje. One of these is
the Mauritshuis ("House of Maurits",
now a museum) and some government
buildings. The Binnenhof and Ridderzaal
are still in use by the Dutch Government.
Haag remained a village until the
days of Napoleon. In those days Napoleon
made his brother Lodewijk the first
King of the Netherlands. Holland had,
until then, been a Republic, governed
by the cities. Lodewijk finally gave
Den Haag city rights.
• The Hague has traditionally
been a city of storks, thus the stork
on the coat of arms and as the logo
of the municipality. In the Middle
Ages they were domesticated to remove
fish from the market and nested on
the buildings around Binnenhof and
in the area of the Groenmarkt and
were seen as bringers of luck and
• In 1456 the Thirty Knights
of the Mighty Order of the Gulden
Vlies (Golden Fleece) came to The
Hague for their first meeting in the
full armour, some on horseback and
many on foot. The Knights had their
meeting in the Hall of Knights, or
Ridderzaal, and at the Grote Kerk
(Big Church) where you can still see
the remnants of their weaponry.
• The greenery in The Hague
has always been protected. In the
early Middle Ages by the Counts of
Holland and from the 14th century
onwards, by forest wardens and citizens
alike. They were supported by the
1576 act of Redemption, a law banning
the felling or selling of trees.
Would you like to know more?
• The Embarrassment
of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch
Culture in the Golden Age by Simon
Schama: a very readable book about
the life and culture of the times.
• The Mauritshuis (Korte Vijverberg
8, The Hague) houses famous masterpieces
from Rembrandt, Vermeer, Steen and
Hals and others from the Dutch Golden
• The Hiding Place by Corrie
Ten Boom, her story of protecting
Jews from the Nazi invaders. Visit
her house in Haarlem (about 45 minutes
drive from the Hague) and the church
of St Bavo, and imagine the military
trucks rumbling through the square.
• Arnhem Region – Operation
Market Garden, The National War and
Resistance Museum in Overloon, the
Hartenstein Airborne Museum, and the
Museum of the 1944 liberation in Groesbeek.
For the very studious, courses on
Dutch History and Culture are available
in English from some of the Universities.
Details can be obtained from the Nuffic
Institute (e-mail: nuffic
@ nuffic.nl, website: www.nuffic.nl).
An ‘Understanding the Dutch’
course offered by Shell Learning is
also available to interested expatriates.
The official language is Dutch. The
Dutch are excellent linguists. English,
German and French are widely understood
Why do we call it “Dutch”
in English? The word originates from
the old Dutch word Duits -“from
the people” and prior to the
19th century the people of The Netherlands
(Nederland) referred to their language
as Nederduits. Today however Duits
refers to German and the language
of the Netherlands is called Nederlands.
If you would like to have a list of
Dutch teachers or Institutes, please
contact Outpost The Hague on Tel:
+31 (0)70 377 6530 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dutch culture has been shaped by
the strict Calvinist principals of
the past. However, Dutch society today
is largely secular. Whatever your
religion, you will be free to practice
as you choose.
Places of Worship in The Hague
Christian (English speaking):
The Church of St. James :
A Christian community in the Anglican
Main Sunday service at the
British School, Jan van Hooflaan 3,
Office Tel: 071 561 1528, website:
The Church of St John and
St Philip, The Hague
(Anglican & Episcopal
Ary v.d. Spuyweg 1, 2585 HA The Hague
Tel: 070 3555359
English Speaking International
Roman Catholic Parish of The Hague
Church of Our Saviour, Parish
House: Ruychrocklaan 126, 2597 The
Tel: 070 3280816, e-mail: email@example.com,
Church of Our Lord of Good Counsel,
Bezuidenhoutseweg 157, The Hague
The American Protestant Church
of The Hague
Esther de Boer – van
Rijklaan 20, 2597 The Hague
Tel: 070-324 4490, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trinity Baptist International
Gruttolaan 23, 2261 ET Leidschendam
Tel. 070 5178024, website: www.trinitychurch-nl.com
(1 block north of Leidsenhage Mall,
behind Antoniushove Hospital)
international and interdenominational
Meeting at The British School of the
Netherlands - Junior School, Vlaskamp
19, The Hague
Church office Tel: 070 3222485, website:
of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Brahmslaan 2, 2234 AM Leiden Tel:
071 572 0352
Russian Orthodox Church
1e Sweelinckstraat 54, 2517
Den Haag Tel: 070-3653497
Green Park Hotel (Golden Tulip) Leidsenhage
Shopping Complex, Leidschendam
International Church of Leiden (ICL)
A growing community of different nationalities living in the Leiden area; seeking to
be a relevant 21st Century church.
Sundays, meet at 11am, Leidse Instrumentmakers School, Einsteinweg 61, Bio Science Park, Leiden. Email: email@example.com, website: www.ichurchleiden.nl.
Buddhist Group Den Haag
De RuimteWitte de Withstraat
25/27, 2518 CN Den Haag, Tel: 070-3488071
Brahma Rishi Mission
Loosduinseweg 717, 2571 AM Den Haag,
Tel: 070 362 0961
2531 HK Den Haag (close to Rijswijk
Tel: 070 - 3108197 / 3692449
Muslim Information Centre
Beeklaan 207-209, 2562 AE The Hague
Tel. 070 3614463 (in the afternoon)
Islamic Cultural Centre (Islamitisch
Scheldestraat 173 2510 TD
Tel: 070 3839304
Liberal Jewish Community
Prinsessegracht 26, 2514
AP, The Hague. Tel: 070 3656893
Ashkenazi Community, information Tel:
Synagogue: Cornelis Houtmanstraat
11, The Hague
For more information on places of
worship, please contact
Outpost The Hague.
750 year- old city of The Hague is
the third largest city of The Netherlands.
Home to Queen Beatrix, The Hague is
known as the royal city. With the
presence of the Houses of Parliament
and the several Ministries, it is
also known as the political and administrative
capital of The Netherlands. Many international
companies are based here. In recent
years, The Hague has developed a reputation
as an International City of Peace
and Justice and is the fourth UN city
in the world, thanks to the establishment
of the International Court of Justice,
the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals
and the International Court. A permanent
peace flame symbolizes the peaceful
character of the city.
The Hague is a multicultural city
with almost a half million people.
The Hague is the place to be for people
who love shopping. All the major department
stores are located in the city centre.
You can also saunter in the small
shopping malls, streets, or at the
historical squares. Many boutiques
and clothing shops can be found here.
The Hague is also known for its variety
of antique shops and art galleries.
In town you will also find nice restaurants
and grand cafés. The Dutch
in general enjoy many types of cuisines
such as Indonesian, French, Dutch,
Italian and Arab. Chinese cuisine
is also popular here.
There is always something going on
in The Hague to suit everybody, young
and old, from clubs to sports to city
events. The many events create a pleasant
festival atmosphere in The Hague.
Parkpop for example, the largest free
pop festival of Europe, or the Haagse
Paardendagen, an event with horses
which attracts many people every year.
The real sports fanatics participate
of course in the City-Pier-City Loop,
the international half marathon of
The Hague. For updated information
on what’s on in the city check
the local council website www.thehague.nl
The Hague is also a city of museums.
Many well -known museums are located
in this city, with an international
arts collection, like the Mauritshuis.
This museum has many paintings of
Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans
Hals and Paulus Potter. The Panorama
Mesdag is one of the largest panorama
paintings of the world, which portraits
Scheveningen as it was in 1881. The
Gemeentemuseum owes its reputation
to paintings of Piet Mondriaan, like
the Victory Boogie Woogie, paintings
by Picasso and the British painter
Scheveningen, the most famous beach
resort in The Netherlands, is not
very far from the city centre of The
Hague. Other than the beach, there
are fine restaurants and one can also
enjoy walking on the Palace Promenade.
The shops are open the whole year
through. In the heart of Scheveningen
is the modern Holland Casino, the
beautiful Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel
and the Fortis musical theatre.
Sensitivities - Do’s and Don’ts
· Do be punctual
- whether it is an appointment at
the dentist or an invitation to a
· Do not drop in unannounced to visit
your Dutch friends. Make an appointment
to visit first.
· Do shake hands when meeting someone
new or when visiting someone in an
official capacity – such as your doctor
or dentist. It is also quite usual
to shake hands again as you leave.
On social occasions, three kisses
instead of a handshake is normal.
· Do take notice of the Dutch style
of dress. The Dutch will dress informally
for most occasions, but this is done
with a sense of style. Casual does
not mean sloppy.
· Do offer coffee! Serve proper brewed
coffee, not instant and not decaffeinated.
Have plenty of milk (or better yet
Dutch "koffiemelk") and
sugar on hand too.
· Do adapt to the dog loving culture.
and Makeup of the Expatriate Community
Due to the number
of large, multinational companies
located in the Netherlands, there
is a high proportion of expatriates
and foreigners within the population
in The Hague. This is reflected in
part by the number of services geared
toward the English speaking expatriate
community. Organisations such as Access,
Expatica and Roundabout all provide