Things to See and Do in The Hague, Netherlands
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to the historic city centre. The Binnenhof is an old palace where the government is seated. You can walk through the working palace of the Queen and the shopping streets around Noordeinde. After this, go to the beach side resorts. The Hague is a metropolitan city by the sea, which is unique in Holland.
When I crave Dutch cuisine, I often think of Indonesian restaurants. In The Hague there are many Indonesian restaurants that are delicious and refer to the special relationship the city has with the former colony.
To escape work I go to one of the many terraces or the beach.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at one of the many green parks, such as Westerbroekpark. There is a nice Tea house in this park where you can rent row boats – an ideal place for some peace and quiet.
If you come to The Hague, get your picture taken in front of the Palace Noordeinde, the working palace of Queen Beatrix.
If you have to order one thing off the menu at Restaurant Dayang (Prinsestraat 65), get an Indonesian rice table.
The Hague is my one stop shop for antiques – visit the weekly antique market at Lange Voorhout.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to the beach for a picnic by sunset.
For a huge splurge, I go to Restaurant Saur, Lange Voorhout 51.
Photo ops in The Hague include the Hofvijver near the Binnenhof, a beautiful and characteristic pond around the palace where the government is seated. The Lange Voorhout, a historic lane with trees is also beautiful and where people strolled around to be seen in the old days.
- The skyline (called The Resident):
- The Kurhaus Hotel at the beach of Scheveningen.
The Pier in Scheveningen is a nice vantage point with restaurant. Weather permitting, from there you can see 30 km South West (19 miles) along the flat coastline to the Rotterdam Port Entry and the Electricity works and to the North East site (approx 50 km) you can see the Steelworks near the point of entry to Amsterdam Harbour (IJmuiden – Velsen)
The most random thing about The Hague is the The Hague Festivals. The three best weeks of the year can be experienced in The Hague from June 10 to 27, the city is completely given over to The Hague Festivals. The Hague Festivals offers cultural, musical and entertainment events for both young and old. Well known names from the festival period include The Hague Jazz, Festival Classique, Den Haag Sculptuur, PopHotSpot, ShoppingNight, Veteranendag and Parkpop. However, you can also visit less well known festiviteiten such as Jazz’in de Gracht, Zandsculptuur, Zenith Festival, Wild Wonders, Ut Haags Notûh Festival.
In The Hague an active day outdoors involves Nordic walking or hiking through the dunes and over the beach. One of the things you see a lot in The Hague are water sports: sailing, wind- and kite surfing and kiting.
My favorite walking route is through the Binnenhof in the late afternoon in winter. It has a very special and romantic ambiance.
There are many museums in The Hague. I had the pleasure of visiting the Mauritshuis Museum – the museum that houses Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a pearl earring.” You may enjoy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (translated Municipality Museum), with recent exhibitions such as Kandinsky & Der Blaue Reiter and Haute Couture. Voici Paris!
For a night of dancing, go to Millers, the new Hotspot on the Plein (translated Square), which opened end of April, 2010.
The Scheveningen Casino is the spot for late night dining. The Casino is open until 2: 00 AM and Des Indes claims their kitchen is open until 1.00 AM.
To find out what’s going on a night or on weekends, read NL 70, although it’s not in English.
In the spring you should attend Queensnight on 29thof April. As big as Queensday is in Amsterdam, as big is the night before in The Hague.
In the summer you should attend The Hague Festivals in June and the fireworks festival in August. * During the The Hague Sculpture festival from June to August on The Lange Voorhout
In the fall you should visit the Crossing Border festival for music and literature.
In the winter you should go for a High Tea in the Hotel Des Indes.
Hidden gems in The Hague are the little gardens and terraces that a lot of the restaurants in the city center have. However, they are indeed hidden from the outside, like Schlemmer on the Plein or Lola Mir at Noordeinde.
For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to the Juni in the Molenstraat.
Just outside of The Hague you can visit Delft or Leiden by bicycle, both approximately 20 to 25 km (12 to 15 miles.) If you visit in the spring time, stop at Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland to see the tulips.
The best way to see The Hague is to walk or ride a bicycle.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Madurodam, the miniature city of Holland. www.madurodam.nl
Local’s Perspective from Happy Hotelier Guido Van Den Elshout “if you look at the triangle enclosing the three main Dutch cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag, which triangle we Dutch usually refer to as “The Randstad,” the area covers approximately the same area as for instance Greater NYC (beyond Manhattan), London, Paris or even Berlin. My analogy is then: The Hague is the Central Park area of The Randstad, plus it has beaches!”
What are your favorite things to do in The Hague, Netherlands?
I was a guest of the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions.
House of Parliament photo courtesy of Darren Cronian. All other photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.