The outside of The Hague's new City Hall



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City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


City Mayors reports news from towns and cities around the world. Worldwide | Elections | North America | Latin America | Europe | Asia | Africa |


City Mayors ranks the world’s largest, best as well as richest cities and urban areas. It also ranks the cities in individual countries, and provides a list of the capital cities of some 200 sovereign countries. More


City Mayors profiles city leaders from around the world. More


City Mayors describes the history, architecture and politics of the greatest city halls in the world. More


Mayors from The Americas, Europe. Asia, Australia and Africa compete for the World Mayor Award. More


Use
Mayor Monitor to rate the performance of mayors from across the world More


In your opinion: Praise Criticise. Write


City Mayors reports political events, analyses the issues and depicts the main players. More


City Mayors describes and explains the structures and workings of local government in Europe, The Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. More


City Mayors deals with economic and investment issues affecting towns and cities. More


City Mayors describes and explains financial issues affecting local government. More


City Mayors reports urban environmental developments and examines the challenges faced by cities worldwide. More


City Mayors reports on and discusses urban development issues in developed and developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on developments in urban society and behaviour and reviews relevant research. More


City Mayors invites readers to write about the people in their cities. More


City Mayors examines city brands and marketing. More


City Mayors lists and features urban events, conferences and conventions aimed at urban decision makers and those with an interst in cities worldwide. More



City Mayors deals with urban transport issues in developed and developing countries and features the world’s greatest metro systems. More


City Mayors examines education issues and policies affecting children and adults in urban areas. More


City Mayors investigates health issues affecting urban areas with an emphasis on health in cities in developing countries. More


City Mayors reports on how business developments impact on cities and examines cooperation between cities and the private sector. More


City Mayors examines the contributions history and culture make to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors examines the importance of urban tourism to city economies. More


City Mayors questions those who govern the world’s cities and talks to men and women who contribute to urban society and environment. More


City Mayors profiles national and international organisations representing cities as well as those dealing with urban issues. More


City Mayors reports on major national and international sporting events and their impact on cities. More


City Mayors lists cities and city organisations, profiles individual mayors and provides information on hundreds of urban events. More


The Hague City Hall
By Gregor Gosciniak

31 December 2006: Many cities all over the world have historical city halls built centuries ago. In contrast, The Hague´s new City Hall has become recognised as one of the world’s most remarkable city halls only ten years after being finished. World renowned architect Richard Meier, who received the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 1984, built the so called “White palace” as part of a mayor reconstruction which took place in The Hague during the past years.

The Hague City Hall, opened on 8 September 1995, is a striking, 13-floors building within the international city of peace and justice that combines the old medieval quarter and the modern Nieuw Centrum. The City Hall of The Hague Meier chose a totally white façade without any colour. Inside City Hall Meier selected light as his main motive. All rooms are clearly and strictly structured and arranged, with aluminium panels extensively in evidence. Besides, Meier used enormous glass surfaces (six window cleaners are employed on a full time base!), enhancing both the effects of light in the interior, and the impression of weightlessness of the building itself.

The basic geometric forms and the clearly defined rooms of The Hague City Hall generate a sense of order. The building does not leave any space for illusion, it is a quest for clarity and a reaction to postmodernism. Compared to many other city halls, the architecture is not about symbolism, representation or anything scientific. The atrium of The Hague City Hall is the largest of its kind in the world, and it is here where one begins to understand the meaning of Meier’s credo: “The architecture is white: it is people that add the colour."

White intensifies the appreciation of all the other colour nuances that occur in nature and natural light…” The fascinating struggle between light and shade is further highlighted by the characteristics of Dutch luminosity. “The clouds over The Hague are incredible,” as Meier describes the effects. “When the sun shines through the clouds, it’s like a beautiful painting.

The natural light in the City Hall is a reflection of that light, experienced when walking through the building. And such transparency also has a symbolic significance: Politicians and officials working in the building are visible to the general public. As a consequence of Meier’s devotion to light restrictions are imposed. For example there is a limit on the number of paintings that may be hung on the walls, as too many would prevent the walls from reflecting the light. The City Hall, which consists of two wings with offices on the 140-metre long and 50-metre high atrium, is home to the city administration, a library and also includes shops and offices.

From the atrium of the City Hall access can be gained to the municipal records office and the visitors’ centre for Nieuw Den Haag (New The Hague). Some 2,200 people work within the building which was also used for movie productions: Many films and television programmes have been filmed there, including the film ‘Ocean’s Twelve’ and the British drama series ‘Judge John Deed’. Other well-known Meier buildings include the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum for Applied Art in Frankfurt and the Daimler-Benz Research Centre in Ulm.

The Hague City Hall houses the office of Mayor Wim Deetman, who was appointed Mayor of The Hague on 1 December 1996. Former Dutch Education Minister, Deetman is also chairman of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) and vice-president of EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities. He is also first vice-president of the Council of European Regions and Municipalities (CERM). Mr Deetman is also a member of the executive board of Unites Cities and Local Government (UCLG) and Chairman of the committee on City Diplomacy.


Main entrance to The Hague's new City Hall


On other pages
Antwerp City Hall
Antwerp City Hall was constructed between 1561 and 1565 under the supervision of the master builder Cornelis II Floris de Vriendt, with the collaboration of the Italian Nicolo Scarini, among others. It is in the Flemish-Italian Renaissance style, also known as the Floris style, a conspicuous innovation in the Netherlands of the sixteenth century that was imitated as far away as Scandinavia.

Mutinying Spanish sailors torched the building during the Spanish Fury of 1576, but it was rebuilt in 1579. The city hall originally had an open-air inner courtyard. A roof was added during a thorough renovation in the nineteenth century. Most of the present interior, including a large number of wall panels, dates from that period. More