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The Hague, or Den Haag as it is called in Dutch, is a famous city internationally as a diplomatic crossroads, and is also a world-class tourist destination. It is the self-proclaimed “city of peace and justice,” and home to international courts where many important trials have been conducted. It also features a very rich cultural scene, great shopping opportunities, and has both old-world Dutch charm and a modern appearance, depending which neighbourhood you are in. In addition to all the urban environment has to offer, there is great natural beauty to be found at the beaches of The Hague, which is located on the North Sea. The oldest buildings in the city were built in the 13th century, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that The Hague became politically powerful. The city remains the “political capital” of The Netherlands today, which means that it is the seat of government, though Amsterdam is the country’s official capital. The Dutch parliament, ministries, all foreign embassies, and most of the royal buildings are located in The Hague, and the Queen of Holland, Beatrix, lives and works there. The Hague is smaller than Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with a population of about 500,000. It is a very international city, however, and for centuries has had a cosmopolitan atmopshere due to the mix of many different cultures coming together in one place.