The Hague is considered to be the third largest city in the Netherlands with a population of 700,000 in the metropolitan area alone with an additional 472,087 people in other areas, all densely packed into roughly 100 km? of land (as of January 1, 2005). Den Haag is conveniently located in South Holland where it serves as the province’s capital and center of government for the whole nation. Though the government is seated in Den Haag, Amsterdam remains to be Netherlands’ capital as declared by the Constitution.
The Hauge is home to Queen Beatrix, and it also houses the “Eerste Kamer” (translation: “First Chamber” or upper house) or “Senaat” and the “Tweede Kamer” (translation: “Second Chamber” or lower house), together forming the “Staten Generaal” (or “Estates-General”). This, and most foreign embassies, government ministries as well as the Supreme Court (or Hoge Raad der Nederlanden) are all located within Den Haag (“The Hague”, 2006). What makes Den Haag a global city? To be declared as a global city certainly has socio-economic, cultural and political effects upon the city’s global affairs.
The term “global city” was actually conceived by Saskia Sassen in one of his works in 1991, and since then it has been used to refer to cities that have global appeal (“Global City”, 2006). Looking at it closely, Den Haag has several characteristics that qualifies it to be a global city, among these are: international name recognition, a large enough population compared to other cities, efficient and modern transportation system, culturally-diverse communities, the presence of international firms, technologically-updated communications and infrastructures, world-class institutions, updated sports facilities and a strong media presence.
Den Haag City has International, first-name familiarity Den Haag has been involved in many international affairs in the past. A fine example of this was during the world’s first Peace Conference in 1899, when Den Haag was declared as a “city of peace and justice” (this event was followed by a second one in 1907). These events would later give birth to the Permanent Court of Arbitration which was established to settle disputes stemming from international matters.
Almost immediately after the Court’s founding, American millionaire Andrew Carnegie built the Peace Palace, which later on, became the Permanent Court of International Justice’s seat of power. After World War II, the Permanent Court of International Justice became known as the International Court of Justice. After this, the establishment of the Iran- U. S. Claims Tribunal in 1981 further cemented the Hauge’s role as the center of justice in the whole world (“City of peace and justice”, 2006).
Den Haag City has an advanced transportation system Den Haag’s main form of transportation consists of trams and buses mainly operated by HTM Personenvervoer. There were plans for a city subway system but these were put on indefinite hold in the 1970’s due to unknown reasons. However, 2 underground train stations were built in 2004 (namely “Spui” and “Grote Markt”) which regularly serves Tram routes number 2, 3 and 6 (“The Hague”, 2006).
Also, a regional light rail system known as Randstadrail currently being built to serve The Hague, Rotterdam, Zoetermeer and their surrounding area. The Randstadrail will also join the existing tram network with the central station at Den Haag, providing more flexibility to the already efficient transport system. This is possible through the tunnel built under the city centre going out into the fringes via specially designed tram routes (“The Hague”, 2006).
Freeways or highways such as the A12 (the first of its kind in the Netherlands) connects Den Haag to Ultrecht and up to the German border. A12 is also one of the oldest freeways in existence; its age is shown by constant “overburdening” in the “Utrechtse Baan” section. An attempt to build another artery road going into the city (known as “Trekvliettrace”) in the 1990’s was planned though it was put on hold for sometime. Other major motorways include: the A4, (connects Amsterdam to Den Haag), and the A13 (runs from Rotterdam to the Belgian border) (The Hague”, 2006).
Den Haag City is the home of International financial institutions, law firms, and corporate headquarters Employment in Den Hag is brisk due to the presence of government ministries and public institutions within the area. Also the presence of companies such as oil giant Royal Dutch-Shell, communications companies KPN (Koninklijke PTT Nederland) and the Dutch national telephone company, insurance icon Nationale Nederlanden and of course TPG post assures that business is vigorous in The Hauge (“The Hague”, 2006).
Aside from these, Den Haag also hosts about 150 legal organizations such as: The International Court of Justice; Permanent Court of Arbitration; The Hague Academy of International Law; International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; International Criminal Court; Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal; Europol; Eurojust; The Carnegie Foundation; The Hague Conference on Private International Law; The Peace Palace Library (“International Organisations”, 2006). Den Haag has a lively cultural scene
Den Haag boasts of a lively multi-cultural scene especially during summertime when various cultural shows, music concerts art exhibitions and other events are highlighted. Notable vacation spots include Scheveningen beach, Kijkduin (known for cafe’s and restaurants along its boulevard) and the town square itself, which offers a variety of entertainment the whole year round (“The Hague, royal moments”, 2006). Den Haag’s Sports Scene Football is the main sporting event in Den Haag. The city’s own football team ADO Den Haag plays in the Eredivisie (Holland’s premier division) since 2003.
Rugby is also popular; proof of this is that the city’s rugby team, the Haagsche Rugby Club (or HRC) is listed in the Guinness book of World Records for most number of Dutch championships won in the youth and adult divisions. Surprisingly, American football is also popular with the Den Hauge Raiders 99 have risen from the bottom to the top spot in the Holland league within a short period of time (“The Hague”, 2006). Den Haag City’s plan of a Global City by the Sea Den Haag aims to establish a “Global City by the Sea” in the near future.
This is being planned under the Spatial Development Strategy, which aims to unite the urban and rural folk in developing the Hauge into the best city not only in the region but also in the world (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). “The Global City by the Sea” project has four main objectives: to be a multicultural city, be a global city, reclaim area near the sea and to be the nation’s seat of power. Den Haag’s status as “International City of Justice and Governance” helps in the achievement of these objectives. Once the plans to achieve these objectives are put into motion, it is expected that these will take the city’s status to new heights.
If all things go as planned, it is expected that not only will the quality and standards of living will be enhanced, the quality of the surroundings itself will get better. The city’s socio-economic aspects will also be affected. The city governance also plans to increase their population from 470,000 to 515,000 in 2020, going as far as providing at most 37,500 homes for those who are willing to move into the city (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). Den Haag must closely cooperate with its designated regional partners to improve and preserve the quality of the environment in certain areas such as the Duivenvoorde corridor and Midden-Delfland.
All of the agendas brought up after several governance consultation meetings with regards to the Spatial Development Strategy should also be sought out. Den Haag’s Global City by the Sea can only be realized and materialize when regional collaboration is achieved (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). After this stage, A Global City by the Sea will be divided into five zones known as “economic opportunity zones”: the Central Zone, the Line 11 Zone, the International Coastal Zone, the Vliet/A4 Zone and the Lozerlaan Link Zone (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006).
The Centre is the zone that will exhibit the multi-cultural aspect of the neighborhood. It will have everything that the region has to offer, like world-class shops that sell anything from mobile phones and vegetables. The Center can be even more developed by offering more living space as well as provide better and closer interaction and involvement with people from other cultures (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). The Line 11 zone’s role is to serve tramline 11 that runs from Hollands spoor and will eventually become a sort of light rail transit for the city.
Connecting Line 11 to the rest of Nottingham would be a great development, and it is already being planned to be placed along the coast, which will eventually connect it to Rotterdam Airport (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). The International Coastal Zone is where the international companies and government organizations will be placed in the “Global City by the Sea”. Both Scheveningen and Kijkduin will feature new and modern facilities, most especially the seafront housing which is meant for all those who wish to spend a day or more in the city (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006).
The A4, A12 and A13 motorways will be combined into the Vliet/A4 Zone, where world class facilities and work spaces as well as state-of-the-art recreation facilities are provided for tenants and visitors alike. These features are made possible through the Vliet/A4 Zone’s ideal location and ease of access. This zone will serve as a sort of “knowledge corridor” of the South Holland, due to the high tech nature of the zone (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). After the construction and modification of A4 comes the Lozerlaan Link Zone which is intended to be the tactical center of The Hague as well as the Westland and Rotterdam regions.
Work is still in progress here, though there are high expectations resting on it when it is finally finished (“Global City by the Sea”, 2006). Conclusion Indeed through all the present amenities and state-of-the-art features and amenities present in Den Haag, it can be said that it is ready to be considered as a global city. The city’s status as the “city of justice and peace” reinforces its potential worth as a world-class city, so its officials must see to it that they should do their best and make the most out of the city.
But although the plans for the future of Den Haag are all laid down at the moment, what matters most is proper execution for without it; it is as if the project has never been there all along. There have been many examples of failures from countries who have neglected their plans only to realize at the last moment that everything is over for that city to be acknowledged as a global or international city. So far, the progress in Den Haag has been quite good, though the city must keep up to its fate lest it should be compared to other countries that have plans to make at least one of their cities as world-class cities.
Other countries too should follow Den Haag’s example of striving for international recognition and that each and every one country should realized that being a world-class is reason enough to garner even more awards.
References “City of Peace and Justice” 2006 City of the Hague. Retrieved July 31 2006 from http://www. denhaag. com/default. asp? id=1926&ep=275 “Global city” 28 July 2006. Wikipedia Foundation Inc. Retrieved July 31 2006 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/ Global_city