The Hague Pictures (Den Haag), Netherlands

The Hague

The Binnenhof buildings beside Hofvijver (Court Pond), Dutch Parliament and the core of The Hague. Photo by Josef F. Stuefer.

Visiting the Hague

The Netherlands’ third largest city after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Hague is capital of South Holland province, home to the Netherlands parliament, many international legal organisations including the International Court of Justiceand King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, though strangely Den Haag is not the country’s capital, which is Amsterdam.

The centre of the city is fairly compact and pedestrian-friendly so makes for easy walking or cycling tours; it’s best to visit from early summer to autumn as it gets cold, grey and windy in the winter.

The Hague

The Knight’s Hall (aka Ridderzaal) one of the Binnenhof Parliament buildings. Photo by Ralf-Roletschek.

Founded in 1248, Den Haag is spacious and green, has an decent culture scene, fine dining options – Indonesian cusine is especially attractive, contains many elegant buildings both old and new (though too heavy on the brown! ), fine museums and encompasses two North Sea beach resorts, Scheveningen and Kijkduin. The former is more popular with tourists, the latter with locals.

Note that The Hague bears little resemblance to Amsterdam! The city is, after all, packed with ultra-conservative lawyers and politicians, whereas Amsterdam is loaded with people more interested in an alternative lifestyle. Think of Amsterdam as the bubbly, naughty child while The Hague is the strict and patrician parent. That being said, The Hague also has some popular coffeeshops that sell more than coffee and cakes.
The Hague is 45 minutes from Amsterdam by train and jsu 15 minutes from Delft.

The Mauritshuis Museum, Den Haag, Netherlands

The Mauritshuis Museum. Photo by Demeester.

Originally a 17th century palace, the Mauritshuis Museum is attached to the Binnenhof. It’s a small space but displays some of ther world’s most famous paintings such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson and Warhol’s Queen Beatrix.

Binnenhof, a 13th century castle that now houses the Dutch Parliament – is one of the best building complexes in the city, with notable arts to be seen at the Mauritshuis (Dutch paintings), Gemeente museum, the Panorama Mesdag (home of an amazing 360-degree painting of Scheveningen sea front) and the Escher Museum.
The Plein square next to Binnenhof is a lovely place to start a tour of The Hague, lined with magnificent buildings and a great selection of cafés and bars.

A delightful shot of Den Haag

A delightful shot of Den Haag’s ruling council in 1647.

This painting is by Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen and housed in the Mauritshuis Museum. Now you know where the Amish get their monochrome sense of style from (if we ignore the flash dude on the left – wearing le blue jeans? – who obviously had some French DNA! ).

Escher Museum, The Hague, Netherlands

The Escher Museum in the leafy Lange Voorhout district. Photo by Tom Morris.

This ex-royal townhouse has been converted into Escher in Het Paleis, a museum celebrating the mind-boggling works of Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. Three floors contain materials showing Escher’s development from realistm through patterns to seriously twisted optical illusions while the top floor presents an audio-visual Escher experience that is not to be missed.

The Peace Palace, home to the International Court of Justice, The Hague, Netherlands

The Peace Palace, home to the International Court of Justice. Photo by Lybil Ber.

The Statenkwartier on the outskirts of Den Haagen route to the sea atScheveningenis an attractive, affluent suburb offering an interesting collection of architectural styles from old mansions to ultra-modernism.
Statenkwartier also offers a few worthwhile museums such as the Gemeente, and the child-friendly Museon science museum, along with the Peace Palace that’s hardly worth a visit and the Omniversum IMAX theatre.

Gemeente museum, Den Haag, Netherlands

Gemeente museum in Statenkwartier. Photo by Roel Wijnants.

The Gemeentemuseum offers a fine collection of world-famous art including masterpieces by Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Monet, Sisley, Degas, Bacon and Mondrianas well as collections of fashion, musical instruments and decorative arts.

The Hague

Scheveningen Beach at 9pm on a summer evening. Photo by Random fotos.

The Netherlands’ most popular beach is Scheveningen on the outskirts of The Hague. There are plentiful facilities including an entertaining sculpture park, casino and the largest pier in the Netherlands, with tower, kid’s activities, bars and restaurant. The beach is massive and coated with soft yellow sand but beware the cold waters of the North Sea. Scheveningen is inevitably busy in the summer so head for adjacent Kijkduin beach if you need more tranquility.

Summer days at weekends or on holidays often result in unbearable traffic jams to and from the beach so avoid going there at busy times by car. Check public transport.

The Hague

Yes, The Hague does modern too, and plenty of it. Photo by Joris1919.