The Hague and the royal family
The history of the Kingdom of the Netherlands begins in The Hague. It was here on November 30, 1813 that Prince Willem Frederik of Oranje-Nassau, after sailing from England, landed on the beach at Scheveningen. He was the first king of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and established his residence in The Hague. Ever since, The Hague has been both the seat of government and the residence of the Dutch royal family. And it is that special status that is reflected in the city’s regal allure.
The Hague and the Kingdom of the Netherlands remain closely linked. The Noordeinde Palace has long served as the working palace of the king as head of state. And King Willem-Alexander has, just as his predecessor, Princess (formerly Queen) Beatrix, chosen to make the Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague his official residence. Every year on ‘Prinsjesdag’, the king rides through the city in a horse-drawn carriage and then gives the ‘Troonrede’, a speech in which he presents the government’s policy proposals for the coming year.
The royal traditions also have an important role to play on the international level. New ambassadors ride through The Hague to the Noordeinde Palace in a ceremonial carriage to officially present their credentials to the king. The Netherlands hosts around 170 ambassadors from friendly nations, and nearly all of them are based in The Hague.
This regal allure is clearly evident all around the city. You’ll find it in the stately mansions in the ‘Lange Voorhout’ and in the ‘Statenkwartier’, in names like ‘Plein 1813’ and the ‘Hofkwartier’ that are associated with the history and traditions of the city, as well as in in organisations, businesses and shops in The Hague. In The Hague, the king grants the status of ‘royal’ or ‘purveyor to the royal family’ to organisations that have established reputations for quality and integrity, including the Royal Theatre, the Royal Academy of Art, the Royal Conservatory and Royal Dutch Shell. All of these organisations based in The Hague epitomise exceptional quality – the allure that typifies The Hague.
Delft and the royal family
Did you know that the Netherlands was founded in Delft? In the 16th century, in 1572 to be exact, William of Orange, the ‘Father of the Nation’, came to Delft to lead the rebellion against the Spanish invaders. After he had defeated the Spanish, he founded the Netherlands as a parliamentary state based on the principles of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
The palace where William of Orange lived and worked is now the Museum Prinsenhof Delft. In 1584, he was gunned down by Balthasar Gerards in the stairway of his palace. The bullet holes in the wall can still be seen in the museum even today. Ever since that assassination, the Royal House has always had close links with Delft. Not only William of Orange, but many other members of the Royal House have been laid to rest in the Royal Crypt of the New Church.