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 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. 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.