On this occasion, and coinciding with the arrival in its final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race , we visited a city that we did not know and, like the rest of the country, the more we know it, the more we fall in love.
The Netherlands is a country that, from the moment you arrive, transmits to you an accumulation of pleasant sensations that we do not perceive in other places.
The urban centers of the cities, in spite of being very crowded, are very silent, something very strange in big cities.
I do not know if it will be due to the almost total absence of cars on its streets to the detriment of bicycles, or because of the cleanliness and greenness of the cities with their electric trams, but the soundtrack of the cities of the Netherlands is very different from those of the rest of the world.
The predominant sounds of the streets are the bicycle clinics , when an unwitting tourist is walking through one of the thousands of kilometers of bike lanes available in the country.
And it is true that when you travel to the Netherlands for the first time you feel a little lost, seeing how the few cars that circulate give way to bicycles and pedestrians.
Sensation at first strange that begins to make sense and has been very pleasant when you spend more time in the country.
And these sensations are experienced in a more amplified way when we talk about The Hague (in Dutch, Den Haag , and in English, The Hague )
Curiosities of The Hague
There is a phrase that is told in the city that perfectly expresses their way of life.
A Rotterdam goes to work, Amsterdam is going to buy and The Hague to live …
And it is the cleanest and greenest city in the Netherlands and one of those with the best quality of life, within a huge historical framework.
The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands, but nevertheless it is the most important institutionally.
This is where their monarchs live and work and is also the seat of the Dutch Parliament , making it the city where most Dutch diplomats reside.
We have returned from our 4 day trip through The Hague surprised by attractions that have exceeded our expectations.
Long and wide beaches with beautiful sunsets, a forest in the interior of the city and museums of all kinds, including some that play with the senses or museums with paintings by painters like Rembrandt or Rubens .
The idea of this article is to show you the most important places to visit in The Hague , while we are giving you practical information and curiosities about the city.
Not only do we want to give you a list, but we have ordered it in such a way that you can go around the city as a route following the order that we propose.
What to see in The Hague (Den Haag)
When selecting where to start visiting a city, the most common is to start in the most central area.
But before showing you what to see in the city , this time we will start recommending the visit to a great museum, which has become the icon of The Hague .
1. Madurodam, the Netherlands Museum in miniature
This curious museum is a miniature recreation of the most important places in Holland and is the perfect place to get a pretty specific idea of what type of architecture the Netherlands has .
The Madurodam is one of the best known attractions in the Netherlands at an international level and for which many people know the city.
In this open-air museum many of the miniatures have movement, so that you have the feeling of walking like a giant among the streets of the different important points of the Netherlands .
It is the favorite place and essential visit for families and as in all these museums of cities in miniature , and also for the not so children.
Later in the article I will indicate at what time of the route this visit would be included.
2. Binnenhof Castle and current Hague Parliament
Already back to the city and to begin the journey, we started with a very important and representative monument of The Hague, it is the Binnenhof Castle .
Building from which the rest of the city is developed, it was Count Florencio IVwho, in the 13th century, looking for solitary lands to build a hunting hacienda, built this castle.
Little by little over the centuries this complex would begin to become the center of the political estates of Holland.
This castle expanded over time with a square and the famous Ridderzaal , a beautiful building with a long hall that would eventually become the Hall of the Knights .
Today this old castle houses the seat of the Parliament of the Netherlands and the office of the Prime Minister .
The building of the Ridderzaal is used once a year to inaugurate the parliamentary year, with a ceremonial event with the king’s assistance, and has remained as an area for celebrations of the Parliament .
To its back a great lake is located, known like the Spring of the Court , and the photo that is taken from there is one of the most beautiful and representative postcards of The Hague .
3. Mauritshuis Pinacoteca Museum
In this museum you will find the best collection of paintings of the Dutch Golden Age and of Flemish masters, in a building whose interior itself is already a work of art.
Works like Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer and paintings by famous painters such as Rubens or Rembrandt , fill the carefully decorated walls that make the Mauritshuis museum has a very special atmosphere.
Whether or not you are a lover of painting, this museum with works of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is much more than an art collection, since the building itself is a clear example of the style of the palaces of the Dutch royalty of the time.
If you are going to visit it, we recommend that you download the free application of the museum (it is called Mauritshuis ), where the audio guide is available in several languages, including Spanish and English.
This audioguide can also be hired there for 3.5 euros if you do not want to download the app .
The price of admission to the Mauritshuis museum is 15.50 euros for adults, and children up to 18 years have free access.
The hours are from 10 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon.
4. Gate of Grenadierspoort
Right after leaving the Mautishuis museum . To your right and receiving the visitor at the entrance to the castle, you will find the so-called Grenadierspoort .
This beautiful gateway to the area of the current parliament, is one of the most photographed places in the city for its exquisite decorations.
5. Lange Voorhout, the oldest boulevard in Europe
This boulevard was the social center of The Hague , everyone wanted to live in this area. In fact, here are the narrowest houses in the city.
It was said that it was better to live here in a small place, than anywhere else.
Whether it was like that or not, the reality is that here people gathered to walk in circles in the shape of the square, and that’s where the name came from.
This boulevard full of trees is located in the heart of the city opposite the Binnenhof castle .
During the summer months a World Championship of Sand Sculptures is held , a material that is very easy to get in The Hague.
Also every Sunday a market is set up that lasts all day, although if you are going to visit it, do it better in the morning that is more lively.
6. Hotel Des Indes a Luxury
On this boulevard is the luxurious 5 star hotel Des Indes a Luxury .
This hotel is a work of art in itself, and regardless of whether you stay in it or not, it is worth visiting.
A hotel over 100 years old that has gone through all kinds of historical characters of royalty and nobility.
It was recently renovated and as a council if you do not stay in it, at least go to know it or take something in the restaurant because the decorations are worth it.
7. Museum of optical illusions Escher in het Paleis eb
Also on the boulevard is this small museum that is centered with a permanent collection of optical illusions, with paintings and photos that play with sensory perception.
This continuous play between what the eye sees and how the brain reacts is very recurrent in the artistic historical legacy and culture of this country
8. The Hague Canals
Between the aforementioned hotel Des Indes a Luxury and one of the largest parks in the city, Malievel (where there are deer in captivity), near the Central Station of The Hague , is one of the most photographic areas of the canals of The Hague .
It is true that this city is not one of the most channels in the Netherlands, in fact it has few.
But in this area there are a few charming corners for their boats, their houses full of flowers and the bicycles that surround them.
9. Royal Palace of The Hague (Noordeinde)
Holland is one of the European countries that still have a monarchy, but we must also say that the Orange royalty is a bit particular.
Its Royal Palace is located in the heart of the city, in the most important shopping street of The Hague, where the most exclusive and elegant shops are located.
The Dutch royalty is considered the monarchy campechana European nobility; As an example, it is quite common to find monarchs riding a bicycle, either on arrival or leaving the Royal Palace.
At the entrance to the palace there is a flag of the country, which when it is raised high means that the king is inside it.
If you are thinking about how to visit it, we have to tell you that what you can always visit are its gardens. The interior can hardly be visited at certain times of the year since it is a living palace in which the kings reside.
10. Statue of William of Orange
Just opposite the Royal Palace is the statue of King William of Orange .
As a curiosity, the king who was the one who had the palace built never came to live in it since he was murdered.
And the fact of his death is seen in his statue, because the horse on which it is mounted has the right leg raised, which indicates that his death was not due to natural causes, which is represented by the left leg in high.
If the four legs are supported his death, means that it was due to an accident.
This curious fact can be seen in the rest of the statues of the city.
11. Panorama Mesdag 360º
Continuing with the perception and optical illusions so characteristic of this country, this museum has become famous for its 360 degree panoramic scene .
It is a classic museum with paintings, but its most important part is not that, and it is very difficult to describe the feeling you have when entering the assembly that is inside.
You will find yourself in front of a circular room in which you are located right in the center at the top, with 360 degrees views as if you were on top of a lighthouse, with all the free view.
From there you can observe different historical moments of the city, from the town to the beaches where war scenes are recreated.
When they told us we thought: “up to here everything is fine”
The point is that the Panorama Mesdag in The Hague is mounted in such a way that when you arrive, you go up to the lighthouse and appear in the scene, you create small optical illusions with depth.
To put it in some way, it is difficult to calculate the actual depth of the room.
The best thing is that you visit it and you experience it yourself, because it is a very curious experience.
12. Noordeinde, the street of luxury shops in The Hague
Noordeinde is not just any street: in this same street there are the shops of all the international brands, the most exclusive brands, and all this next to the aforementioned Royal Palace .
It is a street full of buildings of typical Dutch architecture , but also with some buildings to rt nouveau .
As a curiosity, when we visited this area they were under construction and you could see one of the curiosities of the city.
The Hague is built on beach sand, not on land, and when raising the ground you could see perfectly the piles of sand, something very curious in the same street where the Royal Palace is located.
This is the reason why it seems that the buildings in The Hague tend to move slightly.
13. The Sting on Gravenstraat
In Gravenstraat there is a building of the early twentieth century with rt nouveau decorations and striking colors, which has become an icon of the city.
It is part of a shopping center where the Sting clothing store is located , and itis located at the tram stop with the same name, at the end of the luxury shopping street.
But this building is not the only one with art nouveau decorations in the same square, there are several buildings that maintain this style, some of them more modern but respecting the aesthetic.
14. The Passage
On the way from Gravenstraat to the castle there is a small piece of Italy.
The Passage shopping center is built in the style of Italian commercial galleries, such as the famous Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.
It is the oldest shopping center in the Netherlands, and there is a small coffee shop where they sell some well-known candy in The Hague, obviously coffee. 100% recommended!
15. Palace of Peace
From here we left the historic center and began to travel the city on the way to the beach.
The Peace Palace is a huge building that was built more than 100 years ago and is now the seat of the famous International Court of Justice in The Hague .
This world icon of justice can only be visited by its exteriors and gardens, free of charge; its interior only opens to public visits a few weekends a year.
16. Scheveningse Forest
This forest is the real lung of the city, an area like many trees and the perfect place to walk, but beware! that you know is one of the few areas with a little altitude in The Hague.
The whole city is practically flat, and the highest points of the city are in this green area, but do not worry because the altitude is a few meters, although it is somewhat striking when you visit it.
In the Scheveningse Forest you can find the Marudoram miniature museum that we are talking about at the beginning of the article.
Therefore if you follow the route to visit the city as we are considering in the article, this will be the time to visit the aforementioned museum.
17. Haags Gemeentemuseum and the Museum of Photography
These two museums are together, and one of them is very interesting for lovers of photography.
In the Museum of Photography you can see photo exhibitions that vary with time. We could see one in very curious where there were pictures of people from all over the world at their desk.
Very striking the differences of the offices of the rich countries and those that have less.
On the other hand, the Haags Gemeentemuseum exposes the work of the famous artist Piet Mondrian .
If you are a museum lover, these two are well worth it.
All this area in which the museums are located is through the tram that takes you to the beach (line 16) and where many houses with the characteristic architecture of Holland are concentrated.
Without a doubt it is worth walking through this area or traveling by bike or tram.
18. Beach of Scheveningen and Port of the Hague
Undoubtedly one of the factors that give a special charm to this city is the sea, its promenade and the harbor .
Being 20 minutes from downtown by tram or bicycle, the beach forms another important second urban core, which extends the city.
The beach is surprisingly large, and when we visited it was full of windsurfers in the sea with their kites on the fly, which created a beautiful postcard.
The whole port and promenade is a very lively area, full of restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a dinner with the sunset falling to the sea.
19. Sunset at The Pier (Sky view) in The Hague
But if we talk about sunset, the most beautiful is at the pier .
The Pier is not just a pier, but also has a Ferris wheel that gives a different environment, which can be reached through the aforementioned jetty.
Although we warn you that the best photos are from the beach with the pier in the backlight.
If you like photography, here you can make some pretty pictures.
20. Louwman museum of classic cars near The Hague
Although this visit is not strictly in the city, but is located slightly outside, it is very worthwhile if you like cars.
This museum is a review of the history of motorsport since 1886, through some 250 models of old and historic cars.
In this museum you will find some of the oldest cars in the world, as well as several peculiar, unique and very special cars.