View of The Hague from the southeast

View of The Hague from the southeast

View of The Hague from the southeast

The Hague is the radiant center of this impressive city panorama of 1.74 meters high and 4.6 meters wide. The city is immediately recognizable by the tower and the raised choir of the Grote or Sint Jacobskerk. The contours of other important monuments such as the Prison Gate and the Binnenhof are also clearly visible in this painting. Jan van Goyen gives a recognizable representation of The Hague around 1650, but has made the necessary adjustments to get a good picture of the city. For example, he allows the Trekvliet, the main traffic artery between The Hague and the hinterland, to bend, while in reality it flows in a straight line towards the city. In addition, buildings are visible that today cannot be seen from this high vantage point, presumably in the vicinity of the Binckhorst castle. For example, the Oude Hof at Noordeinde, now the working palace of King Willem-Alexander, has been rotated a quarter turn, so that the classical baroque facade can be better admired.

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To the right of the canal, the stork stands proudly on land. By depicting the animal that has long adorned the coat of arms of The Hague, Van Goyen emphasizes that this canvas is not just a cityscape. In 1650 he received a request from the city council to make a large-format view of The Hague. This was also an honorable commission for one of the most important landscape painters of that time. Van Goyen received 650 guilders for this. The amount of this reward was equivalent to two annual salaries of a craftsman. Why did the drivers want a large city panorama? It suited their self-awareness and the pride they cherished for The Hague. Moreover, the city had changed considerably due to the construction activities of Frederik Hendrik in the years before. Although The Hague was not officially a city, it had suddenly acquired the allure of a royal city.

Jan van Goyen.jpg

Jan Josephsz. van Goyen, View of The Hague from the southeast, 1650-1651


  • Manufacturer: Jan Josephsz. from Goyen
  • Date: 1650-1651
  • Object number: 1862-0006-SCH
  • Materials: oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 460 x 174 cm

Literature (Dutch)

  • Charles Dumas, Haagse stadsgeszichten 1550-1800. Topografische schilderijen van het Haags Historisch Museum (Zwolle 1991) 509-517.
  • Herman Rosenberg, Jan van Goyen. Portrettist van Den Haag. Groengele reeks (Zwolle 2010).