Hague , The (Dutch, 's Gravenhage; Fr. La Haye; Ger. Der Haag), a city of the Netherlands, capital of the province of South Holland, about 2 m. from the sea, 31 m. S. W. of Amsterdam and 12 m. N. N. W. of Rotterdam; pop. in 1872, 92,785, of whom one third are Roman Catholics. It is the seat of the court, the government, the states general or parliament, and of the foreign ministers, and has become since 1850 one of the finest cities in Europe, owing to the erection of stately houses and the laying out of fine parks. The streets are regular and spacious, and many of them are traversed by canals and lined with trees. The most conspicuous buildings are the royal palace and the palace of the prince of Orange; and in the outskirts of the city is the Huis ten Bosch (the house in the wood), a private palace of the queen of Holland. The Binnenhof, so called because it formed the inner court of the count's palace, contains the chambers of the states general and other public offices, and its Gothic hall is celebrated. Barneveldt was executed in this building.
Among other notable edifices are: the state prison in which Cornelius de Witt was confined, and from which he and his brother John were dragged and torn to pieces by the populace; the town hall; three Calvinistic, a French Reformed, English Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Remonstrant, and five Roman Catholic churches, two synagogues, and a fine theatre. The royal library contains about 100,000 volumes. The principal artistic attraction of the Hague is the picture gallery and museum, situated in the building called the Maurits Huis after Maurice of Nassau, by whom it was built; it contains some of the best works of the Dutch masters. The museum abounds with rarities from China and Japan, and contains a large collection of Japan ware and Japanese weapons, and many historical relics. The Hague possesses many educational, charitable, artistic, scientific, and religious institutions. There is a brass foundery, but little trade and industry. Within a few miles of the city is the fashionable watering place Scheveningen, and the environs are dotted with elegant villas. - The Hague owes its origin to a hunting seat built by the count of Holland in the 13th century, and the name is traced to the enclosure (hage or hedge) which surrounded the counts' (graven) park.
In the 16th century it became the residence of the states general, the stadtholder, and the foreign ambassadors; and it acquired, especially in the 17th century, great historical interest as the most important focus of European diplomacy. A convention was held here March 81, 1710, in which Germany, Russia, Prussia, and the maritime powers took part for maintaining the neutrality of North Germany against France. A triple alliance between France, England, and the Netherlands was concluded here Jan. 4, 1717, and on Feb. 17 a treaty of peace between Spain, Savoy, and Austria. Yet the Hague was never mentioned in all these great transactions excepting as a village, and it was certainly the most extensive and remarkable village that ever existed. The revolution of 1795 gave a great shock to the prosperity of the place, and a final blow was given to it by King Louis Bonaparte in removing the seat of government to Amsterdam and of the law courts to Utrecht. Since the restoration in 1813-'14 of the house of Orange, the Hague has rapidly recovered its former prestige, especially as it once more became the virtual capital of the nation, although Amsterdam remains the nominal capital, and retains as such various prerogatives.
The Maurits Huis.