A Conversation for Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Capital City

Post 1

Tube Boy

Why does the main "Amsterdam, The Netherlands" page here on h2g2 claim that the capital city of the Netherlands is Amsterdam (in the first sentence). I was always under the impression that the capital of the Netherlands is actually "The Hague". Am I imagining things? Someone please enlighten me.

Capital City

Post 2

Researcher 172173

Amsterdam is in fact the capital city but the government is seated in the hague. why this is i dont know it is just this way.
(btw im dutch so im quite sure about this)

Capital City

Post 3

Researcher 173387

The Hague is what we call the residence city. It's where parliament and government resides (and so officially also the Queen)

The Haque has had this funcion since the middle ages, when the courts of the counts of Holland were situated there. My guess is the the choice for Amsterdam as the capital city was made by Louis Napoleon (Napoleon Bonaparte's brother) in about 1800 (who made the famous Republic into a nation state) or by King William I in 1815 to appease the powerfull merchant elite.

Amsterdam was already the most powerfull city in The Netherland for centuries by then.

I hope this helps you out a bit.

Capital City

Post 4


Amsterdam is the capital because it is the largest city, where most of the interesting things take place, and most of the big-wigs live. The government is seated in Den Haag, or The Hague, because a long time ago when the Netherlands were formed from the different counties, such as Holland, Utrecht, Friesland etc. not one of the major cities wanted any other of the major cities to be the place where the government resided. Therefore, though Amsterdam (as mightiest of the cities) became the capital in name, all national government institutions were located in a totally insignificant town called Den Haag. This town has since grown a wee bit, but still is not very impressive compared with the old cities.

Capital City

Post 5


I was born and raised in Den Haag (The Hague) and first of all, The Hague has not grown a "wee bit", it is now the third biggest and the most densely populated city in The Netherlands with a population of about 500.000 (Amsterdam has about 770.000, Rotterdam a little over 600.000). Second, it is actually quite impressive if you ask me. It has both modern and old buildings, big and small, it has a gorgeous, very long beach, it is multi-cultural, it is in the middle of all the political humdrum...I wouldn't describe it as 'not very impressive'.

True, The Hague has nothing resembling the extremely busy and varied nightlife Amsterdam has and the city centre is nowhere nearly as big as that of Amsterdam. However, you can definitely have a good time at night, you just have to know where to look, ask the Dutchies and they'll know where you should go. There are nightclubs, lots of coffeeshops (again, when comparing the big cities The Hague is third in how many coffeeshops it has), prostitutes for those who are interested, big musea, cinemas, parks and good pubs.

The Hague is also the 'greenest' city in Europe. The percentage of parks and grass within the city is the highest of all European cities.

One of the reasons why Amsterdam is the capital and The Hague the seat of government still today, is because of the filosofy of decentralisation. Since the dawn of Democracy this term has been around and the Dutch government is all for it. The basic idea is that you want to spread out all the points of power in a country so that it is harder to become a corrupted society. For further info on decentralisation read up on politics, it is too big a topic to discuss here..

Anyway, all you potential tourists out there, when you go to Holland, don't get stuck in Amsterdam, but check out The Hague as well. Especially in summer it is a magnificent town which has everything to offer Amsterdam has. And above all, because all tourists get stuck in Amsterdam it is nowhere nearly as crowded, hardly anybody tries to rip you off, almost no junkies and bums on the streets, no queues at tourist attractions, friendlier people (even for a dutchie it can be hard to ask the way in Amsterdam as people will always think you want their money) and an absolutely perfect sandy and wide beach.

Capital City

Post 6

Hapi - Hippo #5

Since there are readers from the Hague: The Hague never actually has been a city. Historically the Hague is a village (old Dutch: "het dorp die Haage").

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