The Binnenhof (Dutch for Inner Court) is a complex of buildings in The Hague (also known as Den Haag) that has been the main meeting place of The Netherlands governance since 1446. Building started in the 13th century, the complex originally functioned as the castle residence of the Earls (or Counts) of Holland. The Main Hall, which has been called the Knights’ Hall since the 19th century, dates from the second half of the 13th century. The famous vaulted wooden ceiling was the largest of its kind for hundreds of years and was inspired by the ship building industry of that time. Since 1904 the Knights’ Hall has been the setting for the reading of the King’s speech at the annual opening of Parliament. In his speech, the King announces the Government’s plans for the coming year to the parliament and to the Dutch people.
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The Ridderzaal is the main building of the 13th-century inner square of the former castle of the counts of Holland called Binnenhof at the address Binnenhof 11 in The Hague, Netherlands. It is used for the state opening of Parliament on Prinsjesdag, when the Dutch monarch drives to Parliament in the Golden Coach and delivers the speech from the throne. It is also used for official royal receptions, and interparliamentary conferences.
In the 13th century Floris IV, Count of Holland bought a piece of land next to a small lake to build a house on. The Ridderzaal, the manorial hall of Floris V, grandson of Floris IV, was built on this estate in the 13th century. Over the centuries, the government buildings developed around this lake and incorporated the Ridderzaal. From the early 17th century, the Ridderzaal became an important trading place for booksellers, as Westminster Hall was in London. In later centuries it served a variety of purposes – as a market hall, a promenade, a drill hall, a public record office, a hospital ward, even the offices of the state lottery. It was restored between 1898 and 1904 to serve its present purposes.
Publisher: Weenenk & Snel, den Haag (1908-1958)