Peace Palace

Construction Process

Foundation stone laying
During the “Second Hague Peace Conference” in 1907, the opportunity was taken to organize a solemn event around the laying of the foundation of the Peace Palace. The programme of 30 July 1907 shows that it must have been a grand event. No expense was spared and, of course, many important guests were present that day.

Mr. van Karnebeek, president of the Carnegie Foundation, delivered a speech at the stone-laying on the importance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and on the generosity of Andrew Carnegie. After this persuasive speech, the big moment arrived and the president of the conference, Baron de Nelidow, came forward and tapped the foundation stone three times with a silver towel, in the name of Tsar Nicholas, Queen Wilhelmina and the Peace Conference. Soon after the Second Peace Conference held its closing session, the construction of the Peace Palace started.

Construction process
The Peace Palace was built in six years (1907-1913). The building process was captured in high-quality images by photographer C.J. de Gilde. De Gilde compiled his photos in an album, and the majority of the glass negatives have been preserved in the Peace Palace.

The images show the process from preparing the land for construction, laying the foundations, to building the tower and landscaping. After the foundation stone was laid, it would not be until the summer of 1908 until foundation work could begin. In 1911, construction started on the highest point of the Peace Palace, the 80-metre-high tower. The photos also show that state-of-the-art technology was used during the construction of the Peace Palace, building materials were delivered, for example, by electric freight lifts and a rail-mounted lorry. The iron roof construction was ingenious for its time.

View a selection of C.J. de Gilde’s collection of construction photos below.

Please click on the pictures in the gallery to enlarge them.