A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in The Hague as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the city.
History & Geography
Despite being only the third largest city in the Netherlands, the Hague is arguably the most important as it is the seat of the Dutch the government and Supreme Court and the residence of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The city is located on the west coast of the Netherlands on the North Sea near the bustling port of Rotterdam and the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. The Hague came into being in 1230 when the Count of Holland, Floris IV built an elaborate hunting lodge on the site. The later counts of Holland extended the lodge into a palace, which in the 13th century became the counts’ administration centre and residence in Holland. Originally dubbed ‘Die Hage’ meaning ‘the wood’ the name evolved into today’s Den Haag. When the Dukes of Burgundy gained control of the area they appointed a steward in the Hague to rule Holland in their stead. In 1588 the city became the capital of the Dutch Republic despite it not being fortified, leaving it vulnerable to attack. After the Napoleonic Wars the Netherlands was joined with Belgium into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, for which the Hague and Brussels alternated every two years as capital. In the 19th century the city expanded rapidly with many houses being built for local civil servants as well as wealthy merchants retiring from making their money in the Netherlands East Indies. The Hague became, and remains, a city of wide, spacious streets and grand houses. During WWII the Hague sustained severe damage after it was accidentally bombed by the RAF, who were targeting a nearby V2 rocket site. After the war extensive rebuilding took place and by 1965 the population had grown to 600,000. The 1970s and 80s saw many families in the city move to affluent outer suburbs. This led to the Hague annexing many nearby towns and villages and building residential units on them, which still continues today.
The Hague has become home to over 150 international organisations and along with New York and Geneva is an administrative centre for the United Nations. Among the most important organisations based in the Hague are the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the Appeals Chamber for the International Tribunal for Rwanda. Part of the reason why the Hague is home to so many international outfits is that in 1899 it was declared an ‘international city of peace and justice’ and hosted the first Peace Conference at the instigation of Dutch lawyer Tobias Asser. It was also at Asser’s instigation that the Permanent Court of Arbitration was established in the Hague. Additionally the Hague is home to the European Police Office (Europol), the European Library, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. This abundance of international organisations has given the city a cosmopolitan flavour with numerous foreign pubs, restaurants and cultural events.
While the Hague is not among Europe’s prime tourist destinations, it does have a steadily increasing tourism industry. Many visitors from the Netherlands and nearby European countries come to the area for its beach resorts, specifically Scheveningen, which is popular for windsurfing and kiteboarding. The city itself is considered the greenest in the Netherlands, with swathes of parkland and green zones created from the old estates of the nobility. There are also many historic buildings in the Hague, such as the Binnenhof and the Ridderzaal, where the Houses of Parliament and the government offices are located. The Paleis Noordeinde is the workplace of Queen Beatrix and is closed to the public, but the magnificent gardens surrounding the palace are open to wander through. The Hague is not known for its dynamic nightlife, mainly due to the lack of a student population in the city. However the three main squares of the city, the Plein, Grote Markt, and Buitenhof have a myriad of restaurants, cafes and bars scattered through them. In summer the nightlife is concentrated on the bars and clubs of the seafront boulevard. The Hague also hosts one of the largest open air festivals in Europe on April 29th, the KoninginneNach (Queen’s Night) to which young people from all over the Netherlands and Europe come to drink, party and listen to music.
Rotterdam and the Hague share an airport, however international visitors more often use Schipol Airport in Amsterdam, to which the rail connections are fast and frequent. The two most important train stations in the city are Den Haag Hollands Spoor and Den Haag Centraal Station. The international trains mostly call at Hollands Spoor whereas Centraal Station has better connections around the country to cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The city itself relies on a tramway network and a large bus network. A regional light rail system connects the Hague to Rotterdam and Zoetermeer. The main motorway running into the Hague is the A12 which runs to Utrecht and then the German border.
Of late the office market in the Hague has been fairly quiet. Currently the Hague has an office supply of approximately five million square metres and a vacancy rate of 13.9 percent. At the moment the Dutch government is preparing to vacate a large amount of its office space which will then be refurbished and put back on the market. Prime rent in the Hague is still hovering around EUR 200 per square metre per year. The Dutch economy has recently benefited from the strong German economy however the impact of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has yet to be seen.