Anonymous: view on the Hofvijver in The Hague (1553)

(Haags Historisch Museum, The Hague, The Netherlands)

This painting is a cityscape of The Hague, a city in The Netherlands. The pond in the middle is 'The Hofvijver'. On the left you can see the Binnenhof - a complex of buildings in center of The Hague. It was built in the 13th century as a residence of the counts of Holland. After that it became political center of the Dutch Republic. Today this complex houses both houses of the States General of the Netherlands (oldest House of Parliament in the world still in use),  the Ministry of General Affairs and the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. The small tower on the left in the middle is today the office of the Dutch Prime Minister. Outside of the binnenhof on the north you can see the Buitenhof. North of the buitenhof stands the Great or Saint-Jacobschurch. Right of this church is the another square called 'the place'. This square was used for the execution of prisoners. The building which connects the buitenhof and the place is the Gevangenpoort (Prisoner's Gate) - the former gate of the buitenhof and prison (in use from 1420 until 1828). The long row of trees on the right of the hofvijver is the 'Lange Vijverberg'. Below the hofvijver there is the street 'korte Vijverberg' and the 'doelen' or target practice building of the civic guard of The Hague - the building consists of a target range on which a member of the civic guard is practicing his skills with a bow. Painting from 1553.

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