About the museum
Discover the history of The Hague
The Historical Museum of The Hague is located in the historical heart of The Hague. The museum is housed in the former archery house of St. Sebastian's guild and dates from 1636. It is built on the spot of a gatehouse that was used by the civic guard. Parts of its cross-vaulted basement have been incorporated in the new archery house and can still be seen today. The civic guard of St. Sebastian used their quarters for parties and meetings. Immediately behind the building, alongside the Hofvijver, their shooting ranges were situated. Since the late 18th century, after the dissolution of the civic guard guild the building has been used as a hotel, court house and museum. Since 1986 the Historical Museum of The Hague resides in the St. Sebastiaansdoelen.
A diverse collection
The Hague is a city of many faces: it is a centre of government, a Royal Residence, an international city of peace and justice but also the home of the Beatstad music festival, the ADO football team and the stork in The Hague town arms. The Historical Museum of The Hague faithfully reflects all these aspects in its exhibitions and permanent presentation.
The collection is highly diverse: a painted view of the city by Jan van Goyen, nearly five metres across, the superbly furnished doll’s houses by Lita de Ranitz, but also the tongue and finger of the De Witt brothers, curiously preserved. Paintings by artists both familiar and obscure like Jan van Ravesteyn, P.C. La Fargue and Jan Steen show what life was like in The Hague in days gone by. As you look out onto one of the Netherlands’ most famous stretches of water, the Hofvijver, the museum’s digital chronological map will show you how the city has developed over time. A series of townscapes from different periods show how life was lived in olden times, revealing the city’s long history as the political and administrative centre of the Netherlands.
Exhibitions and activities
Nowadays, the Historical Museum of The Hague tells you the story of The Hague, about its government and inhabitants. Temporary exhibitions with a Hague twist are shown. Also, the Museum organises several events and activities.