What Is The Capital Of The Netherlands?

Binnenhof - the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, Netherlands
Binnenhof - the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, Netherlands

When it comes to determining the capital city of the Netherlands, the questions is not as easy to answer as it is for other countries. While Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands according to the Dutch Constitution, the Hague is the seat of its government. The Netherlands is one of the most developed countries in the world, and it has become a benchmark for developing countries, keen to achieve its level of political and economic stability. The Netherlands boasts two capitals, both of which are significant in Europe and even in the world.

The Two Capitals Of The Netherlands

The Netherlands is characterized by two capitals: Amsterdam and the Hague. Amsterdam became the official capital of independent Netherlands in 1814 after the defeat of the French. The Hague is the administrative center of the Netherlands, housing both the government and the court.


Amsterdam began as a fishing settlement around the Amstel River in the 13th century. The city rose to economic prominence in the 14th and 15th centuries, as Netherlands ushered in the ‘Golden Age.' During this period, Netherlands rose to become a European economic power, and Amsterdam was at the center of trade activities. By the 16th century, Amsterdam was the most significant city in the Netherlands as far as the economy and culture are concerned. With its growth came political tensions between the city council and other political elements in the Dutch Republic. Amsterdam’s dominance in Europe waned in the 18th century, and after a brief French occupation, it was declared the country’s capital in 1814 by King William I.

Amsterdam in modern day is the economic hub of the Netherlands, hosting numerous multinational headquarters and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX). The port city is also home to manufacturing industries such as diamond cutting, metallurgy, and clothing. The North Sea Canal enables international trade, and the city is also a tourist, transport and cultural center.

The Hague

Besides being the seat of government, the Hague is also the capital of South Holland Province. The development of the Hague began with the construction of a hunting residence by Floris IV of Holland. Eager for some peace and quiet, he chose the area since it would not attract any land conflicts. The residence was extended by his son William II, King of the Romans, upon whose death the residence was completed by his son, Count Floris V. The Hague subsequently became the capital of the county of Holland. After several occupations, the Hague became the capital of the Republic of the Netherlands in 1588. After significant damage during World War II, the Hague was reconstructed, and its population boomed. The Hague is home to the parliament, ministries, Supreme Court, the government and the Council of State. The city is home to the Peace Palace, where the International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and the Permanent Court of Arbitration are situated. The Hague has over 100 international organizations and multiple embassies. The Hague is an especially significant city for the United Nations’ operations. The Hague in modern day is synonymous with International Peace and Justice.

Role Of the Two Capitals Of The Netherlands

Both the Hague and Amsterdam play significant roles in Netherlands’ administration. While the Hague is home to the Dutch government, Amsterdam is the economic backbone of the country. Amsterdam reflects the implementation of policies and laws formulated by the government in the Hague, and its growth directly correlates with the effectiveness of the government.


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