|The Inner Court|
The grounds on which the Binnenhof now stands were purchased by Count Floris IV of Holland in 1229, where he built his mansion, next to the little lake that has been called Hofvijver or 'Court Pond' since the 13th century. More buildings were constructed around the court, several of which are well known in their own right, such as the Ridderzaal (Great hall; literally Knight's Hall), where the queen holds her annual speech at Prinsjesdag. One of the towers, simply known as het Torentje ('the Little Tower'; directly next to the Mauritshuis museum) has been the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 1982.
This 'Inner Court' is studded with monumental old buildings testifying of eight centuries of governing in the Low Countries, but it also has several ample open spaces, all freely open to the public. A gilt neogothic fountain adorns the main square and one of the few Dutch equestrian statues (of King William II) guards the main Stadtholder's Gate, that dates from around 1600.