By Jhr. Mr. Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland, Justice (Judge) in the Court of Appeal and Special Advisor International Affairs of the Municipality of The Hague
Since the beginning of the Dutch Republic at the end of the 16th century (the Kingdom is only almost 200 years old), diplomats from other countries arrived and lived in The Hague. But apart from embassies a lot of other international organizations have been established here in the last 121 years. In 1893, The Hague Conference on Private International Law was the first one, but after the First Peace Conference in 1899 the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) was established in the same year and after the Second Peace Conference in 1907 the Peace Palace was built and a constantly growing number of international organizations started in and around The Hague, especially after World War II, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1946, the European Patent Office (EPO) in 1977,the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yougoslavia (ICTY) in 1993, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapens (OPCW) in 1997, the International Criminal Court (ICC ) in 2002 and many others.
Nowadays there are 115 embassies and consulats in The Hague, including new ones since 2010: from Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Burundi, Moldavia, Panama, Senegal and Tanzania. And there are also 14 organizations related to an embassy such as trade offices and tourist bureaus.
Recently the number of other international organizations –IGO’s, NGO’s and others – in and around The Hague has grown immensly. In 2005 already 72 international organizations were here, in 2013 not less than 240: there are now 18 IGO/UN-organizations, 25 European, 128 NGO’s and 43 organizations in education and culture, as well as 26 expat service organizations.
The importance for The Hague and surroundings in terms of economy (employment and purchasing power) is enormous. Embassies and organizations spent about 2,500 million euros per year. The direct employment in the region is almost 20.000; almost 60 percent of the jobs are performed by international employees who spent here 676 million euros per year. But the economic importance is much bigger, because all these international organizations and their employees created many thousands of jobs for the Dutch in The Hague as well. Add to all that the purchases of many international visitors and tourists of the International City of Peace and Justice year after year.