Binnenhof (translation: Inner Court) is one of the most visited sites in the center of The Hague. It was built around the 13th century as the residence of Count Floris IV of Holland. The construction grew into a castle following its multiple successors. It became the venue of Dutch political center in 1584. Binnenhof is now a complex of parliament and government buildings. It is the oldest House of Parliament in the world still in use.
I consider this as one of the FREE things to do in The Hague. It is freely open to the public. A 5-minute quick stroll through the historic courtyard admiring the fairytale architecture is definitely something you must do. Binnenhof is located about 12 minutes walk from Den Haag Central train station.
Inside the courtyard of Binnenhof …
Ridderzaal or the Hall of Knights in the center of Binnenhof courtyard.
Originally built as a large hall for hunting parties for the Counts of Holland. It was restored between 1898 and 1904 to accommodate the present purpose.
Every third Tuesday of September, the King of the Netherlands delivers his annual speech from the royal throne inside the Ridderzaal. It is called Prinsjesdag , also known as Budget Day because the King’s speech describes the government’s policy plans for the coming year.
The Ridderzaal is also used for royal receptions and inter-parliamentary conferences.
Did you know you can join a guided tour to visit the inside of Hall of Knights, the Senate and/or the House of Representatives? Price ranges from €5-€10 per person (2017). Guided tours are available in Dutch and a very limited English tour throughout the week. Something I have yet to do. https://reserveren.prodemos.nl/bezoekerscentrum
Not forgetting … the gilded Neo-Gothic fountain across the entrance of Ridderzaal.
This fountain was designed by P.J.H Cuypers, the architect who was responsible for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, to honor the founder of Binnenhof, Count Willem II of Holland. The fountain was first seen in full operation in September 1885.
Feel free to walk-in to the Binnenhof and have a look around the courtyard. One of the FREE things to do in The Hague!