The Peace Palace

International law in The Hague

The Peace Palace houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice of the United Nations, and the Hague Academy of International Law. All these institutions are supported by a prestigious library.

The Carnegie Foundation is the owner and manager of the building. This foundation is named after the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who was the primary financier.

Het Vredespaleis

The dream of world peace

The Peace Palace came about thanks to a growing peace movement in the 19th century. Pacifists hoped for peaceful solutions to conflicts between countries or organizations. Eventually, the Peace Palace was inaugurated in 1913, and since then, intensive work has been done toward the dream of world peace.

Working in this impressive palace was a great honor for me and my assistant Ymer. It is hopeful that people worldwide can come together here to find peaceful solutions to conflicts.

Entree van het Vredespaleis in Den Haag

My assignment consisted, among other things, of photographing the various gifts donated by participating countries. Upon entering the entrance hall, the pilasters and pillars of Italian marble immediately catch the eye. These were donated by Italy.

Mahatma Gandhi, bust in het Vredespaleis in Den Haag

In the corridors of the Peace Palace, there are busts of men and women who have made important contributions to peace. Here we see Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).

Pax, marmeren beeld in het Vredespaleis in Den Haag

A marble statue of the Roman goddess Pax. She was a personification of peace, specifically the calm and peaceful state of a country. The artist is Edward Wittig, and Poland donated the statue in 1930.


The Grotius Room connects the new building section of the library to the main building of the Peace Palace. Grotius, Hugo de Groot (1583-1645), had great significance for international law. Therefore, a unique collection of his original publications is a source of pride for the library. An example from the collection is his most famous work, "De iure bellis ac pacis" (On the Law of War and Peace).

Japanse zaal op de bovenverdieping van het Vredespaleis.

The Japanese Room owes its name to the Japanese silk tapestries donated by the Japanese government. But there are more gifts, such as the room-sized carpet from Turkey. We also see all those chairs with emblems of all the countries that are part of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Chinese vaas geschonken aan het Vredespaleis in Den Haag

The two enamel cloisonné vases and two incense burners are very large. Therefore, they stand out well in the corners of the Japanese Room. The last emperor of China donated them.

Chinese vaas geschonken aan het Vredespaleis in Den Haag

Photographing objects in situ is challenging in various ways. For example, because the background looks too intrusive and shiny, or because the space itself limits the placement of light or the camera.

Landenkaart in het Vredespaleis gemaakt door:

The Peace Palace is a dynamic complex of buildings that further develops over the years. Our world in two thousand and six by Irene Fortuyn, a relief of loose countries, decorates the hallway to a new building section of the Peace Palace. The photographic challenge consisted of the width of the work, inside as well as outside combined with the height.

For photography of contemporary and historical interiors or exteriors, contact Margareta Svensson!