The Peace Palace ("Vredespaleis" in Dutch), situated in The Hague, Netherlands, is often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice (which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations), the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the extensive Peace Palace Library
In addition to hosting these institutions, the Palace is also a regular venue for special events in international policy and law.
To find a suitable design, the foundation called for an open international competition. The winning design, set in the Neo-Renaissance style, was submitted by French architect Louis M. Cordonnier. In order to build within the budget the design was adjusted by Cordonnier and his Dutch associate Van der Steur. The palace initially had two big bell towers in front and two small ones in the back. Only one big tower and one small tower remained in the final building. Also in order to save money the separate library building from the winning design was incorporated in the Palace itself. The grounds were designed by Thomas Hayton Mawson, who also had to discard some fountains and sculptures in order to fit the budget.
The Palace is filled with many gifts of the different nations who attended the Second Hague Conference as a sign of their support. Among the gifts are a 3200 kilo vase from Russia, doors from Belgium, marble from Italy, a fountain from Denmark, wall carpets from Japan, the clock for the clock tower from Switzerland, persian rugs from Iran and wood from Indonesia and the United States of America. The palace also features a number of statues, busts and portraits of prominent peace campaigners from around the world and of all eras.
In 1907 the first stone was symbolically placed during the Second Hague Conference. The construction began some months later and was completed with an inauguration ceremony on 28 August 1913, attended by, among others, Andrew Carnegie.
In 1999 an eternal peace flame was installed in front of its gates.
In 2007, Queen Beatrix opened the new building for the Peace Palace Library of International Law, housing the entire catalogue of the library, a lecture hall and a new reading room in the bridge to the main building of the Peace Palace.
The PCA and ICJ work separately, although they do use the same 'pool' of international judges.
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