A royal city
Stroll through the heart of The Hague’s old city centre you’ll feel something regal in the air.
A gentle curve in the street allows you to discover cafés and shops on the sunny Denneweg one by one as you make your way toward the Hotel Des Indes. As you reach the Lange Voorhout, trees meet majestically high above your head to shield your way from the sun, and as the wind gently stirs the leaves you can hear the echoes of the international royalty and statesmen who have been welcomed here for centuries.
Continue right and in a few moments you’ll find the Noordeinde Palace, the King’s professional quarters, resplendent before you; the flag fluttering above alerts you to his presence.
The feeling is palpable perhaps because, typical to Dutch egalitarianism, you just might encounter a member of the royal family on her bicycle shopping incognito at any of the ‘royal suppliers’ on the Noordeinde, Maliestraat or the Denneweg itself.
Huis ten Bosch Palace, Princess Beatrix’s former residence, is situated on the outskirts of the city, a 10-minute drive from the city centre. You can imagine her royal grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina, receiving the delegations to the Begin link: , end link. in 1899, the prestigious event that laid the basis for Boutros Boutros Ghali describing The Hague as the ‘legal capital of the world’.
Prinsjesdag (Prince’s Day)
Every third Tuesday in September is Prince’s Day, the opening of Dutch parliament. A festive day, children in The Hague are free from school so they may watch the procession of the Gouden Koets (Golden Coach) in which the King is driven from his palace on the Noordeinde to the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) in the Binnenhof, the houses of Dutch Parliament.
Here he reads the ‘Speech from the Throne’, written jointly by the Ministers and Secretaries of State, outlining the government’s plans for the coming year. As the procession returns to the Noordeinde Palace, the road is lined by members of the Dutch Royal Armed Forces, and in the afternoon the Royal Family appears on the palace balcony to address an adoring and often frenzied public.
King’s Day is the Dutch national holiday celebrating the King’s birthday on 27 April. Other than with King Willem-Alexander, the national holiday (then Queen’s Day) was celebrated on the actual birthdays of Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana, 31 August and 30 April respectively. Queen Beatrix decided that Queen’s Day would take place not on her own birthday, 31 January, but on 30 April, the birthday of her mother, Queen Juliana.
The night before King’s Day a well-known music festival is held in The Hague’s city centre featuring a wide range of bands and artists. This party attracts many thousands of people every year and starts in the early evening of 26 April, the eve of King’s Day.
- The Gouden Koets (Golden Coach) was presented to Queen Wilhelmina by the city of Amsterdam on the occasion of her investiture in 1898. The coach is kept in the Royal Stables in The Hague.
- Most Wednesday mornings, 2 new ambassadors will present the credentials authorising them to represent their countries in the Netherlands to His Majesty, King Willem-Alexander, at Noordeinde Palace between 9.45 and 10.30 hrs. in a formal ceremony.