The Hague (Den Haag) is a North Sea port and the capital city of South Holland province, located on Netherlands' western coast. The city has population around 660,000 (metro over 1,05 million), ranking it country's 3rd-largest - after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Rotterdam-Den Haag metropolis has population over 2.7 million, ranking it Europe's 13th-largest.
The town was granted city status in 1806 by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (1778-1846, aka Luigi Buonaparte, King of Holland between 1806-1810). After the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Belgium and Holland were combined into The Netherlands, with Brussels and Amsterdam rotating as capital cities every 2 years, while the state's government was in Den Haag. After the separation of Belgium (1830), Amsterdam remained Holland's capital, but the government remained in Den Haag.
Today, in Den Hague are seated Holland's Cabinet, States-General, Supreme Court, and State Council. Also here are most of the country's foreign embassies and 150+ large international organizations (including Justice Court and Criminal Court). This makes the city one of UN's major cities, along with NYC, Geneva, Vienna, Rome. The Netherlands King and Queen live in the royal palace (Huis ten Bosch) and work at Noordeinde Palace - both located in Den Hague. Here are also the headquarters of Shell (British-Dutch oil and gas company) and many other large Dutch companies.
Major international and EU organizations based in the city include Eurojust, European Patent Office, Europol, Hague Academy of International Law, Hague Conference on Private International Law, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court, international criminal tribunals, NATO Communications and Information Agency, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The city's economy is based on services (civil servants, diplomats) and tourism. Among the largest employers are Holland's ministries of Defence, Justice, Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Transportation, Public Works, Water Management. Major companies headquartered in the city include Royal Dutch Shell (ranked by revenue world's 5th largest), Aegon NV (life insurance), APM Terminals (containership terminals management company), Damco (Maersk Group's logistics brand / containership corporation), KPN NV (Dutch telecommunications company), NN Group (insurance and asset management company), NIBC Bank (corporate banking), Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (engineering and construction), PostNL (mail-parcel-e-commerce corporation), Siemens, T-Mobile, AT&T, Huawei, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Saudi Aramco, Total SA.
The city is served by the Rotterdam The Hague Airport. Two main train stations link Den Hague with Leiden, Haarlem, Groningen, Zwolle, Leeuwarden, Amersfoort, Enschede, Breda, Eindhoven, as well as with Belgium (Antwerp and Brussels).
As cruise port, Den Hague is visited mainly by riverboats and smaller-sized ships operated by premium cruise line companies. The largest ships so far are MS Berlin (1980-built, 420-passenger, back then owned by FTI Cruises Germany) and Hanseatic Nature (2019-newbuild, 230-pax, owned by Hapag-Lloyd Cruises).
Den Haag is Holland's 2nd biggest tourism travel destination (after the capital Amsterdam), with over 1,2 million tourists per year. Half of the visitors are foreigners - mainly from neighboring countries (Belgium, Germany, France), also from the UK, injecting ~EUR 2 billion annually in the local economy. Foreign and domestic tourists are attracted by ~11 km (7 mi) long coastline, wide fine sand beaches, large recreational parks, car-free downtown area (with 150+ km / 93+ mi of bicycle paths), numerous attractions, various dining and accommodation options (including several new hotels, restaurants and cafes in close proximity to the cruise port).
The Hague cruise terminal
Cruise ships in Den Haag dock at the harbour in city's Scheveningen district. The Hague cruise port is a partnership between the municipality, port authority company and city's Marketing Bureau. After debarkation, passengers are transported via bus shuttles (to downtown) or tour buses (on shore excursions).
The hop-on hop-off Tourist Tram is near the harbour and connects the historical downtown to Scheveningen district, visiting all major tourist attractions.