The Hague

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Moving to The Hague

The Hague is a major political center of the Netherlands and the EU and a move there can open up great prospects in international law. Before moving to The Hague, the Netherlands’ largest city, get informed! Our guide on moving to The Hague has all the details on visas, transportation, and more.
Storks used to nest on the rooftops around the Binnenhof and Groenmarkt.

 At a Glance:

  • The Hague is regularly described as the ‟legal capital of the world”, housing numerous international organizations and NGOs.
  • If you are planning to stay for longer than three months and come from a country outside the EU or EEA, you will need an MVV visa and a residence permit.
  • The EU Blue Card is available for those who earn at least 65,655 EUR and who have completed three or more years of higher education.
  • The Hague has an excellent public transportation network, with twelve tram lines and eight bus routes, as well as a subway connection to Rotterdam.


The Hague is not just another Dutch city in Zuid-Holland (the province of South Holland). Instead, moving to The Hague will take you to the political center of the Netherlands and the EU. The city is home to numerous international organizations such as Europol, the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court.

Although Amsterdam is the official capital of the Netherlands, The Hague is still the seat of government and the residence of the Dutch monarch. When moving to The Hague, you will be charmed by the city's historical atmosphere. It also benefits from excellent transportation connections to other Dutch cities as well as its proximity to the beautiful seaside.

The Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area

On 1 January 2015, the region around The Hague was incorporated into the larger “Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area”, a cooperation between Rotterdam, The Hague, and 21 other municipalities. This metropolitan area is part of the even greater Randstad region, a megalopolis that includes all major cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht).

The major reason for the cooperation among Rotterdam, The Hague, and smaller cities, such as Delft, was economic, making the area more attractive for international businesses. The metropolitan region now has about 2.2 million residents from 175 countries, with an expat population of about 80,000 and circa 12,000 international students. It also offers jobs for 1 million people, with a GDP of about 34,500 EUR per inhabitant.   

The Hague and Its Districts

When moving to The Hague, you can choose between eight districts in the city. You will also need to know where the eight district offices are — that’s where you take care of various administrative issues.

  • Centrum: As the name suggests, this district is home to the Oude Centrum, the historical center of The Hague. The oldest part of the city, with its 17th-century Renaissance buildings, now houses such landmarks as the Binnenhof or the Mauritshuis museum. However, as the city’s second-largest district, Centrum includes another eight neighborhoods, with a wide range from low-income housing to affluent residential areas.
  • Escamp: Built largely after World War II, Escamp has grown into The Hague’s most populous district. Two of the city’s largest and most popular recreational areas — Zuiderpark and De Uithof — are located here.
  • Haagse Hout: This is one of the greenest districts in The Hague, featuring an urban public forest. Moreover, Haagse Hout is home to some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods, especially Benoordenhout and Mariahoeve en Marlot, with their villas, mansions, and various sports clubs.
  • Laak: Less than 10% of the population live in The Hague’s smallest district, where various business developments like De Binckhorst, as well as The Hague University of Applied Sciences, are located. 
  • Leidschenveen-Ypenburg: Technically the youngest part of the city, this district only became part of The Hague in 2002. It almost feels like a separate town of its own as it is barely connected to the rest of The Hague by a narrow tract of land. This area could be of interest to expats with kids — the British International School has a campus here.
  • Loosduinen: This former village still features a charming Dutch windmill as its local landmark. Expat families may be more interested in the fact that it is home to an international school as well as excellent shopping facilities.
  • Scheveningen: This green district, particularly the seaside resort with its famous beachfront, is quite the tourist hotspot and has an international feel.
  • Segbroek: Another fairly young part of The Hague (annexed in 1988), this district is divided into five neighborhoods. One of them — Vogelwijk — even offers direct access to the North Sea coast.

Facts and Figures

Expats in The Hague have settled down in the Netherlands’ third-largest city, adding to its about 526,000 inhabitants. The Hague has been described as “the legal capital of the world” by former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. This is due to the international organizations and businesses with offices and headquarters here.

All in all, there are up to 170 international organizations in The Hague dealing with judicial or political issues; in 2013, about 14,000 employees were dedicated to the cause of a more just and peaceful world. Many expatriates and foreign employees moving to The Hague find work with one of these organizations, which account for a significant share of the city’s overall employment.

In addition, there are over 300 international businesses which also provide up to 50,000 jobs. For example, the head offices of Shell, Siemens, and Nationale Nederlanden are all located in the city.

Historical Background

When you move to The Hague, you may hear locals and visitors refer to the city as “s-Gravenhage”, which means “The Count’s Woods”. This name goes back to the Counts of Holland, who enjoyed hunting in the area’s vast forests. They then began to settle in the area, which soon was to become The Hague, and built the Binnenhof. Today, the counts’ former residence houses a complex of government buildings, for example the Staten-Generaal (the Dutch parliament) and the office of the Prime Minister.

These days, The Hague is not only the seat of the Dutch government — it is also home to the royal family. It served as the de facto capital of the Netherlands from as early as 1588 until 1806: after the French Revolution, the Netherlands temporarily became a French satellite state in Napoleon’s empire, and Louis Bonaparte decided to make Amsterdam its capital. This title remains with Amsterdam until today. However, after the French left the Netherlands, the government was once again transferred to The Hague.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

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