Carnegie Peacebuilding Conversations

The Peace Palace


About the Peace Palace


The Peace Palace in The Hague is the international icon of Peace and Justice.

Delegates of first Hague Peace Conference, 1899 Huis Ten Bosch

Delegates of first Hague Peace Conference, 1899 Huis Ten Bosch

The prestigious institutions at the Peace Palace work on a daily basis towards peace through law. The palace houses the only principal organ of the United Nations outside of New York, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which aims to prevent war between states by applying international law. The palace also houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that arbitrates many conflicts between different parties, such as states, companies and other organisations.

These international courts and the many international organisations in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice, are all supported by the Peace Palace Library. The library of the Peace Palace is the largest and oldest library in the field of international law and peace in the world.

Providing a home for these important international institutions, the Peace Palace is and remains the beating heart of peace and justice in the world.


Historical Background

As a reaction to the centuries of violent wars had raged in Europe, Czar Nicholas II initiated an international peace conference. During the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899, 26 countries came together to speak about disarmament and about the possibility of international jurisdiction, which led to the establishment of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. By the time the second peace conference took place, the first stone of the palace could be laid. Scottish-American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie donated US$1.5 million to build the Peace Palace.


Tsar Nicholas II, initiator of the Hague Peace Conference 1899

Ceremony of foundation stone Peace-Palace, 1907

Arrival at Second Hague Peace Conference, 1907 Ridderzaal, The Hague

Arrival at Second Hague Peace Conference, 1907 Ridderzaal, The Hague

Andrew Carnegie at the opening of The Peace Palace, 1913


The Building

For the design of the Peace Palace the jury launched an international architecture competition. The first prize was awarded to the design entered by the French architect Louis Cordonnier. As a sign of their support, countries that attended the second peace conference gave gifts, that can be found both out and inside the palace. The building served as a residence to a judicial institution, but at the same time strived to embody the dream for world peace that had been cherished for centuries.

The construction of the Peace Palace

Timber workshop, Peace Palace


Carnegie Foundation Peace Palace

The owner of the Peace Palace is the Carnegie Foundation. At the heart of the mission of the foundation are the values promoted by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who donated the capital to build the Peace Palace. Carnegie envisaged peace and ethics in international affairs, and to this end he supported science, education, culture and numerous projects. The Carnegie Foundation maintains the magnificent cultural heritage of the Peace Palace and promotes its role as the global icon of peace and justice. The foundation is facilitating the important Courts in the palace and the Hague Academy of International Law, also by providing and managing the Peace Palace Library.


Please find here more information about the Peace Palace.