The Hague

Oh, oh The Hague…

‘’Oh oh Den Haag, mooie stad achter de duinen… (oh oh the Hague, beautiful city behind the dunes)’’ – Harrie Jekkers

This time, I’ll be taking you on a journey to The Hague: the seat of the Dutch government and parliament, the Supreme Court, the Council of State, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. You get my point. It’s quite the show-off city.

Peace Palace
Peace Palace, home to several international judicial institutions

When exiting either The Hague Central station or The Hague Hollands Spoor, you’ll notice the skyscrapers that grace the sky. This is the area that breathes business. In their grey and black suits, with their briefcases and Iphones in hand, the business men run past like there’s nothing more important in the world than closing that one particular deal. Welcome to The Hague! Or is there more?

The Hague skyline

The skyline in the business district is in sharp contrast with the historical buildings in the area of the Buitenhof, or Outer Court. Looking out over a beautiful pond, you can gaze at the governmental buildings of the Binnenhof and you will also see Mauritshuis, the famous art museum. The museum features mainly art from the Golden Age, by artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn and Frans Hals.

Buitenhof The Hague

The Hague Buitenhof
Buitenhof and the Maurtishuis

Buitenhof The Hague

The square behind the facades of the governmental buildings is called the Binnenhof, or Inner Court. Upon entering this area, you might run into some famous politicians. I almost dropped my camera the other time when we ran into the Dutch Prime Minister. His office is in a small tower (therefore also nicknamed ‘the little tower’) at the Binnenhof, so there’s always a chance that you will see him on a lunch break or riding his bike on his way home. Still, it was quite impressive to see him there.

Binnenhof The Hague

Binnenhof The Hague

Not only politicians are the prominent people you can find in The Hague. The Royal City of the Hague, as the city in South-Holland is nicknamed, has been a welcome retreat to Royal guests for centuries. When you turn onto the Noordeinde street and pass all the fancy looking boutique shops, you will end up facing Palace Noordeinde. This is the official working palace of King Willem-Alexander. Look out for the Dutch flag. If it’s up, the King is present.

Noordeinde Palace

If you are a big fan of everything royal, you might want to consider driving around in the green outskirts of The Hague, where you can find the former residence of Princess Beatrix (Huis ten  Bosch Palace). Villa Eikenhorst, home to the King and Queen, can be found in Wassenaar, also not far from The Hague. Even though both residences are not open to public, you can see them from a distance. If that’s not even enough royal for you, you can consider taking part in the self-guided The Hague Royal walking tour.The Hague

I’ve just only briefly introduced the boutique shops in the Noordeinde street (aka Hague Chic). Of course there are many more shopping possibilities in and around The Hague. There is for example the Haagsche Bluf, a blend of buildings and facades in different architectural styles, boasting many one brand stores. My personal favorite in the shopping category definitely has to be the Passage, a gorgeous covered shopping street, dating back to the late 19th century. Here you can find large brands such as Apple, Mango and The Sting, but also some smaller and more unique shops and boutiques.

The Hague
Royal City The Hague

The Hague Passage

The Hague Passage
The Passage

From the heart of the Hague, we’ll now take a tram ride (tram 1, 9 or 11) to Scheveningen. This is probably Holland’s most well-known seaside resort ánd the hardest word to pronounce. We Dutchies love to make foreigners pronounce the word ‘Scheveningen’.

Scheveningen

Scheveningen is the perfect starting point for a pleasant day at the beach. However, you might want to make a stop at Madurodam first, which is located right in between The Hague’s city center and Scheveningen. Especially when you’re traveling with children, this is a wonderful museum to visit. Or if you haven’t enough time to explore the entire Netherlands, this is the place to be. All the Dutch highlights from the canals in Amsterdam to the tulip fields are replicated on miniature scale in this lovely open-air museum.

Scheveningen

Scheveningen photography
Scheveningen

Obviously, just like London, the Netherlands is known for its unpredictable weather. The tons of beach clubs in Scheveningen that offer meals, drinks and fun parties are there only during summer time. But even when the weather is dodgy, there is enough to do in this The Hague suburb. Sea Life Scheveningen for example is located right off the beach and has a large collection of sea animals and plants. Another option would be to have a drink or a bite to eat at Crazy Pianos, where the most talented piano players play all songs you’d like to hear.

 

Scheveningen
A lot of orange on the beach during the 2014 World Ccup

Scheveningen

One of the most striking landmarks in Scheveningen is the Kurhaus, which has been part of the Amrâth Hotel Group since 2014. Built between 1884 and 1885 by two German architects, the Kurhaus originally was a hotel and concert hall. However, the final concert given at the Kurhaus was the controversial concert of the Rolling Stones, back in 1964. The majestic building still hasn’t lost its visual appeal and overlooks the wide Scheveningen beach and the North Sea.

The Hague
Scheveningen beach

The Hague, a city behind the dunes, but it is also so much more than that.



Note: all photos and opinions in this post are my own

Scheveningen

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  • Wow! What a wonderful city! I so have to go there!

    • It really is. One of my favorites to be honest. Thanks for stopping by Stephen!

  • My god I hope I could visit the Netherlands some time soon! I’m sure I’d love it. My boyfriend travels there constantly from Italy for business so I should definitely hide inside his suitcase sometime and come with him.

    • Please do haha! We could meet up, while your boyfriend has his business meetings 😉

  • Although I have been to Holland, I must admit that I have only spent time in Amsterdam (and only 2 days at that!), which I suspect is the case for most international visitors to the Netherlands. I am pretty sure that prior to this post, I had never even heard of The Hague, which seems criminal because it looks absolutely gorgeous as well as very interesting. I clearly need to return to the Netherlands and spend more time there and when I do, The Hague is going on my “must visit” list!

    • Hi Steph, thanks for visiting! I know, most tourists only visit Amsterdam, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I also like to show the other places worth visiting 🙂

  • kelly

    The Hague is so on my wish list and I want to visit to have afternoon tea in the famous hotel in the centre, I can’t remember the name right now but I have done my afternoon tea research 😉 the city just looks wonderful and the coastal town does remind me slightly of the English coastal towns xx

    Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

    • Please let me know the name of the hotel if you start to comes back in mind! 🙂 I can imagine why you’d think so, also probably because of the pier?