The Peace Palace, Temple of Peace and Law
The Peace Palace in The Hague is home to the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, but also the Peace Palace Library and the Hague Academy of International Law.
The palace, the surrounding site and the library are managed by the Carnegie-Stichting which was named after the Scottish-American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who gave the Dutch state 1.5 million dollars in 1903 to build a Temple of Peace.

An international, architectural contest was created for the design of the Peace Palace. In the end, the Frenchman Louis Cordonnier won with an eclectic design which combines Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance styles. In 1913, the Peace Palace was officially opened with both Queen Wilhelmina, Andrew Carnegie and other dignitaries.

The gifts the Peace Palace received from so many countries lends the interior of the building a special, surprising and international appearance. During the Second Peace Conference held in The Hague in 1907 a call was issued to furnish the palace with gifts from the countries participating in the conference as a symbol of the global desire for peace. For example, the most beautiful types of timber were imported from Brazil and the Dutch East Indies for the panelling and a large shipment of Arabescato marble was sent from Italy to decorate the great hall. Alongside raw materials, the Peace Palace also received countless exceptional and often costly gifts from various countries such as an enormous jasper vase with a gilt, double-headed eagle from the Romanovs in Russia, the huge entrance gate was given by Germany, Majolica vases from Hungary, a fountain from Denmark, a large sculpture of Christ from Argentina, cloisonné vases from China and silk wall hangings from Japan.

The various institutions the Peace Palace houses meet in imposing rooms and halls such as the Great Hall of Justice with its magnificent stained-glass windows, the Small Hall of Justice with its antechamber lined with grès tiles by the Porceleyne Fles and the Japanese Room with its rare Japanese wall hanging entitled One Hundred Flowers and One Hundred Birds in late spring and early summer.
The Bol room on the first floor of the palace is 17th century in style. It is named after the paintings that can be found there, three large canvases by Ferdinand Bol. These are on long-term loan from the Rijksmuseum and have recently been restored. The Bol room is also home to three imposing ceiling paintings by Gerard de Lairesse which were purchased at auction in Amsterdam in 1903 by the Carnegie Foundation. At the auction, the ensemble was sold as Le Triomph de la Paix and this theme made it an excellent match for the Peace Palace according to the foundation’s board. The paintings have now spent almost one hundred years in the Bol room where the Permanent Court of Arbitration meets regularly. The room was designed with the monumental 17th-century paintings in mind in 1912-1913 in a seventeenth-century style with yellow copper chandeliers, stained-glass windows designed by Herman Rosse (1887-1965) and period panelling manufactured by the Peace Palace’s timber workshop led by Willem Retera (1880-1955).

Jacobine Wieringa