Accessible from Amsterdam Central Station in under one hour, the Netherlands’ seat of government comprises an elegant setting that blends history with modernity and boasts numerous attractions to entertain and captivate its visitors.
The Hague, or Den Haag as it is locally known, lies south west of Amsterdam, wonderfully situated along the North Sea coast. With a population of just over 500,000, the country’s former capital is the third largest metropolis in the Netherlands and grants a home to countless lavish embassies, stately homes and international organisations, such as the International Criminal Court. With its ample green spaces, tree lined avenues, cultural delights and its abundance of cafes, restaurants and stores, The Hague makes an absorbing excursion easily reachable from your Amsterdam apartment.
Originating somewhere in the early 1200s, the city arose around a hunting dwelling built by Count Floris IV, which subsequently became a sprawling palace known as the Binnenhof. This impressive complex still stands today and has existed as the centre of Dutch politics for centuries, currently housing the parliament of the Netherlands. Affording excellent photo opportunities due to its picturesque location alongside the water, the Binnenhof and its adjoining Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall) make the perfect locale for a pleasant stroll through the courtyards and monumental buildings.
Another option for those interested in world affairs is the beautiful and incredibly historic Peace Palace, which is home to the UN International Court of Justice and offers inspirational tours, only available through advanced bookings. Aside from its political prowess, The Hague is also renowned for its regal presence, accommodating the splendid Royal Palace Noordeinde, the official residence of the new king, Willem Alexander. Cultural venues are similarly plenteous, with recommended establishments including the exceptional Louwman Automusuem, an absolute must for car fanatics, the unique Escher in the Palace, the domed film theatre Omniversum, and finally the famous Mauritshuis Museum.
Arguably the city’s most popular highlight is its delightful beach resort of Scheveningen, generally regarded as the country’s preeminent seaside spot. Attracting hordes of sun seekers and water sports enthusiasts during the summer months, this agreeable environment can be visited all year round for its bustling promenade, mouth watering seafood restaurants, copious retail selection, and its wonderful sculpture museum nestled into the neighbouring dunes.
The nearby Madurodam is another favourite for both the Dutch and tourists alike, highly recommended for travellers visiting with children. Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2012, this adorable miniature park showcases a range of model replicas of the Netherlands’ most famous landmarks, including such iconic scenes as Dam Square and Schiphol Airport. Meticulously arranged and expertly presented with an interactive twist, this endearing attraction allows you to explore the country’s treasures in an amusing manner. For further information, please visit this website.
Visitors wishing to spend a bit more time getting to know this fascinating city can book a holiday apartment within The Hague itself, with a superb selection available.