Old City Hall (The Hague)
The Old City Hall in The Hague is a Renaissance style building on the Groenmarkt near the Grote Kerk. It is the former seat of the city's government, and still today the place where residents hold their civic wedding ceremonies, and where the Royal family register their family births. Less noble families do this at the current city hall located in the large white building on the Kalvermarkt, near the Public library.
The picturesque town hall (built in 1565 and restored and enlarged in 1882) contains a historical picture gallery. The building was considered very large and imposing in its day; just after it was built in 1566 Lodovico Guicciardini referred to The Hague as the most beautiful, richest, and biggest village of Europe. This sounds like great praise, but The Hague was not a walled town and therefore Guicciardini categorized it with the villages. For a village the city hall must have seemed quite grand. The fact that The Hague was thus vulnerable to attack makes it all the more amazing that the old City Hall survived the Protestant Revolution without damage to older ornaments and windows.
The interior of the building underwent several changes over time, including restoration of the interior decorations that ended in 1773. The statues on the facade depict "Faith", "Hope", "Love", "Strength", and "Justice". They were made by the Hague sculptor Jan Baptist Xavery before 1742.
Numerous paintings and objects from The Hague's artists of the Confrerie Pictura can be found inside the building.
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