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Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Hague (Den Haag)

Last Saturday, we went for a walk in The Hague.  In Dutch, The Hague is called Den Haag.  Many years ago, it was also called 's-Gravenhage.  The Hague was founded around the year 1230.  It is the third largest city in the Netherlands (after Amsterdam and Rotterdam).  The population is approximately 500,000.  It is located in the west of the country, in the province of South Holland, of which it is also the provincial capital.  The Hague is the seat of the Dutch parliament, government and Royal Court (but the city is not the capital of the Netherlands which is a role set aside in the Dutch constitution for Amsterdam).  Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands lives and works in The Hague. All foreign embassies and government ministries are located in the city, as well as the Supreme Court and the Council of State.  The Hague is also the judicial capital of the United Nations, being the location of its primary judicial institutions, including the World Court.

 This is the building where Angus' office is located.  The office is in the third floor.  The top two floors of the building are where the Belgium embassy is located.
 Angus in front of his office.
 Opposite side of Angus' office showing the pond.
 Street view of the Mexican Embassy.
 Typical street with a canal.
 This building is the Hotel des Indes for the Dutch East India Company.  The Dutch East India Company was established in 1602. It was the first multinational corporation in the world and the first company to issue stock (a return of 18% was paid for over 200 years).  It was also arguably the world's first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies. 

The Hague, which housed the Ministry of Colonies, was the favorite city for soldiers and civil servants on furlough from the Dutch East Indies. The Hague offered facilities for families on leave, including shops with colonial goods and boarding houses. The Hotel Des Indes on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague used to accommodate many of these travellers. 

Escher Musuem
 Mel is standing in front of the narrowest, smallest house in The Hague. 
 Area in the old center of The Hague.
 This street is referred to as the Queen's Mile.  It is a private road in the center of The Hague and can only be driven on by the Queen.
Two mounted police officers.
 This is the "Rusthof" door.  It leads to some "almshouses" in the center of the block, built originally for retired servants of the royal family or church. The almshouses were often destined for the elderly. Poor elderly were dependent on their family, church or wealthy people. The rich patrons or the church founded almshouses where poor elderly could live free. The founders of almshouses were often childless men or women who wanted to spend the money from their estates after their death in a meaningful way.
 The door leads to a narrow hallway.
 The Rusthof
 The Rusthof apartments in the center of the block with a beautiful garden.
 Dutch shops.
 The Dutch Parliament Buildings, Buitenhof.

 Shopping area near the Government buildings.
 Walking street.
 William of Orange.
 Courtyard in center of the Buitenhof (government buildings.)
 Angus in the Buitenhof or Parliament courtyard.

 Fountain in the courtyard.
 Mel enjoying the walk on a brisk February day.
 The old prison dating back a few centuries.
 The Jewish Quarter from World War II.  During the occupation of the Netherlands during WWII, over 100,000 Dutch Jews were rounded up to be transported to Nazi German concentration camps in Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. By the time these camps were liberated, only 876 Dutch Jews survived.
 Queen Beatrix's residence in the Hague.
 Another view of the Queen's residence.
 Gate in front of the Queen's residence.
 Narrow street in the old section of The Hague.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Bloemenhuis (flower shop) made this beautiful Valentine's Day greeting right in the middle of the Langstraat (the main road in the downtown shopping area.)  You can't drive a car or ride a bike down the Langstraat so this really stood out being right smack dab in the middle of the road!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One of my favorite pictures!

I took this picture at Crathes Castle outside of Aberdeen, Scotland.
I was just reminiscing.