As one of the oldest and most-admired landmark buildings in The Hague, the Ridderzaal makes up part of the medieval Binnenhof (Inner Court) complex, which was built back in the 13th century for the counts of Holland as a hunting lodge. Ridderzaal dominates the great cobbled courtyard and cloistered archways of the Binnenhof, home to the offices and meeting rooms of the Dutch Parliament and now the political hub of the Netherlands.
The Ridderzaal was the last building to be added to the Binnenhof in 1280, and its exterior is adorned with ornate twin spires and Gothic detailing. Its interior reveals a great vaulted hall some 100 feet (30 meters) in length, with walls plastered in coats-of-arms. The hall has a leading role in contemporary politics, as it is the scene of the Dutch Opening of Parliament ceremony. Every September on Prince’s Day (Prinsjesdag), King Willem-Alexander delivers his annual Speech from the Throne to the Dutch people from the Ridderzaal.
The Ridderzaal and the whole Binnenhof are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. for guided tours, all centered on the photogenic Hofvijver Lake. The area is accessible by Tram 10, 16 or 17 to Buitenhof, and costs for guided tours range from 5€ to 8€. The stately Binnenhof courtyard and Ridderzaal reception hall are open to wander for free.