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Den Haag is the third largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with a population of 485,818 - as of May 31, 2009 - population of agglomeration: 1,011,459 and an area of approximately 100 km². 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, like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and Almere, part of the Randstad metropolitan area, with 6,659,300 inhabitants.
Den Haag is the seat of government, but not the capital of the Netherlands, a role set aside by the Dutch constitution for Amsterdam.
Den Haag is the home of the States-General of the Netherlands. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands lives and works in Den Haag. All foreign embassies and government ministries are located in the city, as well as the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Supreme Court), the Raad van State (Council of State) and many lobbying organisations.
Den Haag is also the de facto judicial capital of the United Nations, being the location of its primary judicial institutions. The city contributes substantially to international politics: Den Haag is home to over 150 international organizations. These include the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
The foundation of Den Haag as an "international city of peace and justice" was laid in 1899, when the world's first Peace Conference took place in Den Haag on Tobias Asser's initiative, followed by a second in 1907. A direct result of these meetings was the establishment of the world's first organisation for the settlement of international disputes: the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Shortly thereafter the Scottish-American millionaire Andrew Carnegie made the necessary funds available to build the Peace Palace ("Vredespaleis") to house the PCA.
After the establishment of the League of Nations, Den Haag became the seat of the Permanent Court of International Justice, which was replaced by the UN's International Court of Justice after the Second World War. The establishment of the Iran-US Claims Tribunal (1981), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1993) and the International Criminal Court (2002) in the city further consolidated the role of Den Haag as a center for international legal arbitration. Most recently, on 1 March 2009, a U.N. tribunal to investigate and prosecute suspects in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri opened in the former headquarters of the Netherlands General Intelligence Agency in Leidschendam, a town within the greater Den Haag area.
Currently, Den Haag is the world's second UN city, after New York. In line with the city's history as an important convention center and the current presence of institutions such as the ICJ, Den Haag's city council employs a city branding strategy that aims to establish Den Haag as the Legal Capital of the World and the International City of Peace and Justice
Public transport in Den Haag consists of a sizeable number of tram and bus routes, operated by HTM Personenvervoer. Plans for a subway were shelved in the early 1970s.
A regional light rail system called RandstadRail connects Den Haag to nearby cities, Zoetermeer and Rotterdam. There are two main train stations in Den Haag: Den Haag Hollands Spoor (HS) and Den Haag Centraal Station (CS), only 1.5 km distant from each other.
The nearest airport to Den Haag is Rotterdam Airport. It is, however, not easily reachable by public transport. With several direct trains per hour from the railway stations Hollands Spoor and Centraal, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is more frequently used by people travelling to and from Den Haag by air. - Wikipedia
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