The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in London, United Kingdom

The Hague, city of peace and justice

A hundred years ago an iconic new building was constructed in The Hague: The Peace Palace. It was the beginning of the city’s identity as international city of peace and justice, and for The Netherlands as a centre of expertise in this field. Now, The Hague is now home to some 160 international organisations that all work towards a safe and just world.

History of The Hague as centre for peace and justice

The Hague has a long history in the field of peace and justice. It all started with the first Hague Peace Conference, held in the city in 1899. One of the main results of this conference was the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, housed in the Peace Palace which was built for this purpose and opened in 1913. In 1946 the Peace Palace also became home to the United Nations’ highest judicial organ, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) - the only main UN organ not headquartered in New York. Since then, more and more institutions have been drawn to The Hague. The city is now home to some 160 international organisations working towards a common goal: a just and peaceful world for everyone.

Since 2012, The Hague has been officially entitled to include the motto 'Peace and Justice' on its coat of arms. The Supreme Council of Nobility granted the city this right in recognition of its contribution over the past century to bringing about a world of peace and justice.

International organisations in The Hague

About 160 international organisations in The Hague work to create a more just and peaceful world by resolving conflicts – not with armed force but with reasoned legal judgments. Some of these organisations prosecute and try war criminals. The Hague is a place where knowledge, research and experience in the field of peace and justice come together, and a birthplace of projects that foster peace. Organisations like the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court (ICC), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are all based here. Some more information on leading organisations based in The Hague can be found here.

International Day of Peace

Each year on September the 21st, the inhabitants of The Hague celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace. In 2014, the City of The Hague will present a new annual event: Just Peace. Highlights will include the HagueTalks debating series, the World Press Photo Exhibition, the Peace Run, the ONE Festival and The Hague International Day, when various international organisations will open their doors to the public. More information about Just Peace can be found here.

International Institute for Global Justice

In 2011, The Hague Institute for Global Justice was established. The Hague Institute is an independent, nonpartisan organization established to conduct interdisciplinary policy-relevant research, develop practitioner tools, and convene experts, practitioners and policymakers to facilitate knowledge sharing. Through this work the Institute aims to contribute to, and further strengthen, the global framework for preventing and resolving conflict and promoting international peace. Find out more about the Institute, its publications and events.

Find out more about The Hague as the international city for peace and justice.  

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international peace and justice