The capital of the South Holland region and the seat of the Dutch parliament, Hague is a federal powerhouse. It’s also the heart and soul of global harmony and law and is home to the well-known Peace Palace houses – the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice. There are more than a hundred other global institutions based in the city.
But the Hague presents so much more than just legal sites. With its miles of coastline, walkable avenues, green space stretches, and extravagant architecture, the city is a throbbing address well worth a detour.
How to Reach The Hague?
You can land at Rotterdam The Hague Airport, the third-largest airport in the Netherlands. Rotterdam The Hague Airport is well connected to various international destinations. If you fancy road trips, excellent, toll-free motorways connect the Hague to Amsterdam.
With its North Sea wind and Gothic architecture, the Hague is situated on the Netherlands’ western coast.
Here are places to visit in this fascinating city.
The Statenkwartier area, situated between the dunes and the center, has green avenues and 19th-century residence and is famous with The Hague’s large expatriate community. The region is beautiful for walking tours of the 19th-century villas, revealing architectural diversity in The Hague. All kinds of neo and modern styles are described here, particularly Art Nouveau architecture. Excellent shops, restaurants, and delicatessens are found on Statenkwartier’s primary street, Frederik Hendriklaan, or ‘Fred.’ The area also has several tourist attractions that make it worth a visit, most of them being clustered around the Gemeentemuseum on Stadhouderslaan.
What to see in Statenkwartier
- Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: The Gemeentemuseum has a brief collection of medieval-modern art (Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Sisley, Monet, Bacon, Degas). It boasts a pervasive array of Mondrians, showcasing this painter’s entire career for his works with yellow, blue, and red shapes. The Gemeentemuseum also has a large selection of portraits of the Hague School, a 19th-century movement of landscape artists, and period rooms and collections of musical instruments, fashion, and ornamental arts. Don’t forget to stop at a cafe to take a break and hog: a pastry with a coffee served short, hot, and strong as the locals drink it.
- Museon: Museon is an interactive science museum, very popular with younger crowds, and school groups.
- Peace Palace: The Peace Palace was built in 1913 to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was supposed to provide a means to settle international disputes legally. Ironically, World War I broke out just a year later. Today, the Peace Palace is home to the International Court of Justice, the highest judicial body of the UN, settling disputes between different nations. There are limited guided tours to help you get inside and explore. You can explore various rooms, where an expert will be waiting for you to tell you about the architecture, the housed institutions, and the works of art that adorn the building. During your tour, you should also visit the Great Hall of Justice, the Japanese Room, and the Small Courtroom. These personal visits to the palace are only allowed on weekends when there are no hearings. Plan your day accordingly. However, if you are out of luck, and the palace is closed, a visitors’ center offers a free audio tour starring a historical film and lots of interactive exhibits.
City Center Area:
The center of the city holds most historic buildingS from the renaissance, medieval and Baroque periods and is accessible on foot. You’ll also find lots of shopping AND outdoor cafes near the Plein on the Lange Poten. Here are places to visit in and around the City Center.
- Inner Court: The Binnenhof (Inner Court) is a castle built in the 13th century as the residence of the count of Holland. Since then, it has been the seat of the Holland government, and later all of the Netherland. Just another government building? Here comes the exciting part. You can meet the government representatives and attend the parliament meeting every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Meet and interact with politicians here.
- Mauritshuis: Housed in a 17th-century palace overlooking the Hofvijver pond, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis includes the recent acquisition of last Dutch stadtholder, William the V. It is well worth a visit, especially as it has just been renovated. If you love art and you want to dig legacies, this is a must-visit.
- Lange Voorhout: Watch out for concerts, shows, or take a casual walk in this beautiful green area.
Things to do in The Hague
We saw the different places you can visit in this wonderland, but let’s explore the exciting part- things to do here.
Biking: Biking has been a way of life for The Hague population, and people from all walks of life do it for economic, health, or recreational reasons. Ride on two wheels and discover places you’ll never see on four wheels. Better yet, join the Hague bicycle tour and experience the Netherlands the way you never thought.
Shopping: The best shopping places are located along Grote Marktstraat and Spuistraat, where you will find most of the prominent department stores, selling everything from fashion to jewelry.
Dutch-Indonesian Blend: Like Indian restaurants overflowing in the UK, the Netherlands has a distinguished tradition in Indonesian and colonial Dutch-Indies cuisine. After Indonesia became sovereign in 1945, the country received many former colonials from Dutch and mixed descent who had been forced to leave the newly independent nation. The Hague received a comparatively large number of these people and is still a center of the Dutch-Indonesian community. Try Haagse Kakker, a big sweet bread filled with raisins and nuts. Plus, tonnes of Funky gourmet hamburger restaurants are omnipresent, and you should give it a try as well.
Heineken is everywhere. This never seems to be an issue for the Dutch people who ship some 1,300 million litres of beer annually and allow 16-year-olds to drink beer. Whether you drink it as a treat or want an excuse to crawl to your hotel’s door, the Hague holiday is not a Dutch escape without those Heinekens.