Most of you will know about The Hague because of its position as the seat of the government in the Netherlands, but a few of you might think that that’s the only thing that The Hague has got going for it. However, we wouldn’t be the first people to tell you that The Hague actually has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.
For example, did you know that The Hague was home to the infamous painting, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’? Or that The Hague Market is one of the largest outdoor markets in Europe? These are just a couple of reasons why we think The Hague is well worth discovering. During our stay at Mövenpick Den Haag we had the chance to explore this amazing city and all it has to offer. Here’s our suggestion for what to do while visiting The Hague.
Admire the architecture
As The Hague is the seat of the government in the Netherlands, you can probably guess that there are some beautiful buildings here to feast your eyes on. The Binnenhof is the complex of buildings in which the States-General meet. Essentially, it is The Hague equivalent of the Houses of Parliament in London. The buildings here date back to the 13th century, and guided or self-guided tours of certain parts of the complex are available.
For another dose of architecture and government, take a walk over to the Peace Palace. As well as being home to several international judicial institutions, including the International Court of Justice, it’s also a gorgeous building to admire. With a red brick façade and a giant tower on one side, it’s definitely one of the more grand and ornate buildings to visit in The Hague. Sadly, the Peace Palace is not open to the public, although there are a couple of guided tours that might get you inside, or to at least part of the building. It is however worth admiring from a distance, that’s for sure.
Visit the Panorama Mesdag
If you really want to blown away by some artwork in The Hague, there is no better place to do so that the Panoram Mesdag. Visitors take a walk up to an observation platform in the center of the room, from where you’re surround by a 360-degree painting. As you look out, the illusion is that you’re standing overlooking the town of Scheveningen, and the painting is very convincing in making you think so.
Take a trip to the seaside
If you’ve simply had enough of soaking up all the culture that The Hague provides, and fancy taking a look at the town that the Panoram Mesdag depicts, take a trip to Scheveningen to see it with your own eyes. With a long stretch of beach and a pier, it’s the perfect place to go for some al fresco relaxation in The Hague.
It might be a little on the chilly side in the winter, but during the summer months Scheveningen is where most people in the city go to soak up the sun’s rays, or practice their water sports. At any one time you’ll find a handful of people trying their hand at surfing, windsurfing or kiteboarding out here, so you’ll find plenty of people willing to teach you if you’d like to take it up while you’re in town.
Also, keep your eyes peeled while you’re in Scheveningen for the ‘Beelden aan Zee’, or ‘Sculptures by the Sea’, a sculpture park that you can enjoy whilst taking in the views of the ocean.
A model village has got to be one of the more adorable tourist attractions on Earth, so if that’s your thing then you should definitely get yourself down to Madurodam whilst you’re in The Hague. It shows all the important attractions, buildings, and even things like airports in the Netherlands, in miniature.
The park has been open since 1952, so as you can imagine it’s hugely proud of its important role in the tourism industry in The Hague. Take a stroll around the beautiful little houses for an afternoon, and get an easy whistle stop tour of the entire country.
Take a stroll around The Hague Market
Did you know that The Hague Market is one of the biggest outdoor market in Europe? It’s okay, we didn’t either! With over 500 stalls, you could spend an entire day perusing local life at this phenomenal market fit for any keen shopper. The market is held Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays, so you’re guaranteed to catch it no matter what time of the week you’re in town.
At the market you’ll find pretty much anything and everything being sold, including fresh food, electronic goods, clothing and footwear. If you’re looking for a place to find bits and bobs for a picnic, or you’re bored of your travel wardrobe and need a couple of new things to keep it fresh, you’ll find it all at The Hague Market.
Visit the Museums
Some of you might have seen that we’ve already published a post about the Top 3 Museums in The Hague. It’s always difficult picking just 3 museums to go on such a list, especially in a European city, so we thought we’d extend it a little in this article. We usually like to pick the more unusual or unheard of spots to visit, but there are some that shouldn’t be left out entire, of course.
We got a shout out from a reader about a few more places that could be added to a museum list for The Hague, and we happen to agree! As well as the Gemeentemuseum, Museon, and Prison Gate Museum, you should also take a look at the Escher Museum, which is located in an old palace. It showcases worked from graphical artist M. C. Escher, who created some pretty outstanding woodcuts and lithographs. His surreal, optical illusion style of artwork is fascinating to browse, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the mood for some art that’s a little different.
Those who are more interested in classic art will want to head over to Mauritshuis to go and browse among the hundreds of painting there, which are mostly from the Dutch Golden Age. The main attraction at this gallery is of course Vermeer’s infamous Girl with a Pearl Earring, but you will also find other paintings by Vermeer, some Rembrandt, and many other influential artists.
Do you have any suggestion on what to do while visiting The Hague?