For many who venture to The Netherlands, visiting The Hague isn’t on their radar at first. Part of this could lie in the fact that the city is the home to Holland’s main extensions of government as well as the home of the International Court along with multiple foreign embassies. But the third largest city in the country boasts more than an officious presence. In fact, The Hague holds a plethora of sights and activities that make this coastal city one that you should aim to experience.
The Binnenhof, also known as the Inner Court, is a towering presence in The Hague. It was originally constructed in the 13th century as a complex of buildings constructed around the Knight’s Hall, or Ridderzaal, and served as the seat of government for the courts of Holland. Today, it still remains a government building that houses the office of the Prime Minister among other officials. The Binnenhof is also a short distance from the Palais Noordiende, one of three palaces occupied by the Dutch royal family. Those visiting will be taken aback at how well-preserved the architecture is, as well as how those passing by or working there can relay more information about the history of the Inner Court. Another alluring feature is the fact that the buildings sit overlooking Hofvijver Lake.
Address: Hofweg 1, 2511 AA, The Hague, The Netherlands
Duration: visitors can spend up to 1.5 hours here.
Access: 11 minute walk from Den Haag Centraal Station, 8 minutes via public transit
Contact: +31 70 364 6144
Website: Binnenhof (in Dutch)
2. Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
The Gemeentemuseum is regarded as the municipal museum of The Hague, and was built in 1931. The sprawling complex itself is inspired from the Art Deco period, was designed by famed architect H.P. Berlage and is composed of three different buildings. Located a short distance from Sorgvilhet Park, the Gemeentemuseum is home to the largest collection of work by the homegrown artist Piet Mondriaan in the world including those created in his last years. In addition, there are works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Toulouse Lautrec in the permanent collection as well as prints from modern artists. The museum also hosts various events for locals there and around The Hague to have more people interested in fine art.
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Address: Stadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag, Netherlands
Price: 15.59 USD (14.50 EUR)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm. Closed Mondays.
Duration: around 2 to 3.5 hours are usually spent here.
Access: 16 minute transit ride from Den Haag Centraal Station or 11 minute taxi ride
Contact: +31 70 338 1111
Near by Food: Brasserie Berlage, located within 2 minutes of the main museum.
3. Escher Museum
Housed in the Lange Voorhaut Palace, which was once the home of the Queen Mother Emma, the Escher Museum is home to the works of famed Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher. The museum displays his various works in ways that are meant to evoke a powerful response from patrons as he intended, with specific themes dominating both floors. The Escher Museum still retains a good deal of the same opulent fixtures that were in the edifice since 1901.
Address: Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH Den Haag, Netherlands
Price: from ~10.00 USD (9.50 EUR)
Opening Hours: 11 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Christmas and New Years Day.
Duration: around 2.5 hours required.
Access: 5 minutes via taxi from Den Haag Centraal Station
Contact: +31 70 427 7730
Website: Escher Museum
4. Peace Palace
The Peace Palace stands high above the city as both a beacon of justice and a poignant wonder of architecture. First conceptualized in 1900 and then built in 1913, the Peace Palace was first the home of the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the Dutch government. It has since become the home of the International Court of Justice, which is affiliated with the United Nations. In addition, there is a fully-stocked law library on the premises. The building itself possesses many facets of interest, from the eternal flame dedicated to peace situated outside to the various fixtures and elements of the building that were donated from nations all over the world to facilitate its construction. The Peace Palace has a visitors center, and does offer guided tours to visitors. Another point of interest is that the Peace Palace also hosts a permanent art collection that contains busts and portraits of the many historic figures that devoted their lives to the pursuit of peace across the globe.
Address: Carnegieplein 2, 2517 KJ Den Haag, Netherlands
Opening Hours: 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Duration: visitors spend 15 to 90 minutes here
Access: 16 minutes via transit from Den Haag Centraal Station
Contact: +31 70 302 4242
Website: Peace Palace
For those that like a combination of the historical and the whimsical, Madurodam fits the bill. Situated in the Scheveningen district, Madurodam is a sizeable miniature park that contains scale model replicas of the multitude of sights and attractions in The Netherlands. The park was first built in 1952, and is named in honor of a law student who became a national hero after joining the Dutch resistance in World War II. Those who visit will be astonished at the meticulous attention to detail in how each replica captures the essence of the structure or area it’s modeled after. The park even allows you the chance to operate a couple of exhibits that feature the role of everyday Dutch citizens.
Address: George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands
Price: ~17.00 USD (16.50 EUR)
Opening Hours: 11 am to 5 pm daily.
Duration: visitors spend up to 4 hours here.
Access: 8 minutes from Den Haag Centraal Station via transit
Contact: +31 70 416 2400
The Dutch coastal sea life sparkles in Scheveningen, with its expansive beachfront. Only 25 minutes away from the center of The Hague, this area is where many flock to once the seasons change and the chill from the North Sea lessens. One popular attraction is the Museum Beelden aan Zee, tucked in among the dunes and featuring sculptures from mainly contemporary artists. Visitors can go for a walk on the Pier, which hosts a variety of shops and restaurants. If sporting events pique your interest, Scheveningen is home to The Hague Beach Stadium, where many take in one of the nation’s favorite sports in beach volleyball. There’s also an attractive aquatic park, SEA LIFE Scheveningen that displays the varieties of marine life off of the Dutch coast and other regions. Finally, travelers can take a scenic walk or bicycle ride through the Meijendel, the largest interconnected dune area in this region of Holland, which is also a nature reserve.
Address: Scheveningen, The Hague
Price: from 11 USD (10.19 EUR) depending on activities.
Opening Hours: normally open from 10 am; closing times dependent on attractions.
Duration: around 2 to 4 hours required.
Access: 25 minutes via transit from Den Haag Centraal Station
Near by Food: Scheveningen Harbour has a selection of restaurants
7. Panorama Mesdag
Located in the Scheveningen district, the Panorama Mesdag is a museum that is devoted to one particular work of art — a panorama that depicts how the beachfront area actually looked back in 1881. Visitors walk in to view the largest circular canvas on the European continent and get the sensation of standing upon one of the dunes in order to survey all of the surrounding land and waterfront. The panorama measures in at 40 feet high and 131 feet wide (12 m x 40 m) and was painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. The artist managed to save the painting and since then, the panorama has attracted many to get a glimpse of what life was like in the district. The museum also holds other cultural events as well as other smaller art exhibits.
Address: Zeestraat 65, 2518 AA Den Haag, Netherlands
Price: from ~10.80 USD (10 EUR)
Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday. 11 am to 5 pm Sundays and public holidays.
Duration: visitors usually spend 2 hours here
Access: 12 minutes via transit from Den Haag Centraal Station
Contact: +31 70 310 6665
Near by Food: Tri Tungaal, 5 minutes away
Website: Panorama Mesdag
A final note from The Hague
The Netherlands has long established itself as a cultural plateau, with other cities like Amsterdam being front and center. But for those who seek a mix of introspection in art and history, The Hague offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the Dutch nation and its people.
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