Most visitors to the Netherlands only visit Amsterdam for a few days, but there are so many reasons to visit The Hague (Den Haag), the political capitol, only 40km away and next to the beach! The city has a much different vibe than Amsterdam, with the working palace of the king and queen located here, its also the headquarters of Shell, and is home to many expats and diplomats. It also has one key feature Amsterdam can’t offer : the beach. I lived there for three years before moving to Amsterdam, so check out my top 5 things to do in the Hague.
- Mauritshuis Museum : Home to The Girl with the Pearl Earring, this newly renovated museum is a must-see on your visit to the Hague. Its collection is only rivaled by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Once you’ve visited the museum, pop over to the Plein for lunch afterward… and maybe some beers.
2. Wander through the Binnenhof : Next to the Mauritshuis is the country’s seat of parliament, the Binnenhof. Take a stroll through and take in the architecture, and maybe you’ll even see the Prime Minister – I’ve actually seen him quite a few times walking through here! After exploring this beautiful place, try some fresh pickled herring (haring) from one of the stands located outside of the Binnenhof – its a Dutch delicacy!
3. Stroll past the Royal Palace and browse the shops on Noordeinde : A short walk from the Binnenhof will lead you to the Royal Palace, Paleis Noordeinde. This is the working palace for the king and queen, but don’t expect to see them here. Its pretty modest as far as palaces go, but hey, that’s what makes it so Dutch! After seeding the palace, continue heading down Noordeinde, a street filled with boutiques, cafes and some of this city’s best restaurants. If you’re looking for a great place to eat, check out It Rains Fishes or Het Heden, both located a short walk from the palace.
4. Pause at the Peace Palace : Visit the gorgeous Peace Palace, donated by Andrew Carnegie. The Peace Palace is part of the International Court of Justice (also located in the Hague) which presides over international law – human rights atrocities, mostly. Organize a tour of the palace, or merely take in the impressive building from the outside.
5. Chill on a beach terrace in Scheveningen : If you’re visiting The Hague in the summer time, you absolutely cannot miss out on heading to Scheveningen. Say it with me (skay-vin-en-gen). The beach terraces on Zwarte Pad are the place to be on a warm summer day in the Hague. Skip the main beach area where all the families spend their day and walk north along the beach, past Carlton Beach hotel by about 5-10 minutes. There are tons of hip places, so just stroll ’til you find one that suits you. Chill out on a lounger and drink a beer while a DJ spins tropic-house in the background – its the perfect way to cure a hangover – or create a fresh one by staying for an all night beach party. Reach the beach via Tram 1 from the center.
Whoosah Beach Club
Planning your trip to Holland? I rely on Lonely Planet for all my trips – and even though I live here, I bought it just to inspire me on the weekends!