I recently had the opportunity to visit The Hague on an extended business trip which meant I had plenty of time to enjoy many of The Hague’s restaurants and a full weekend to sightsee. The Hague, also referred to as Den Haag by the Dutch, is home to the Dutch government, parliament, the Supreme Court and the Queen’s home, but is not the capital of the Netherlands – that’s Amsterdam. Because The Hague is the center of government, most embassies are located there.
The Hague maybe most known for being the home to the International Court Of Justice and International Crimes Court. The Hague has many small streets in the center of town and some date back to the middle ages making the city very quaint and interesting.
Things to do:
There are many museums to visit in the Hague. One of the most notable is the Escher Museum. You can also visit a real mediaeval dungeon at the Museum Gevangenpoort, The Prison Gate, which dates back to the 15th century. The Panorama Mesdag is a 360 degree panoramic painting and is worth a visit.
You should take a stroll down Lange Voorhout, a beautiful avenue lined with trees and amazing buildings. Many embassies are located on this street along with the Escher museum and the Hotel Des Indes.
The Paleis Noordeine is the working palace for Queen Beatrix and while it’s closed to the public, the gardens are not. It’s worth walking by the Palace to see the beautiful architecture. Queen Beatrix’ residential palace, Paleis Huis ten Bosch, is located just outside the city center and near the Haagse Bosch Forest.
There’s not much night life in The Hague, you won’t find nightclubs and late night cafes like you will in Amsterdam. The Hague moves at a much slower pace, and I liked that. The streets are lined with cafes and restaurants and the Plein, or Square, and Grote Markt, Great Market, are filled with sidewalk cafes and shops.
Did you know that Coldplay’s video Viva la Vida and portions of Oceans 12 were filmed in The Hague?
You can take a train to one of two train stations in The Hague, Den Haag Hollands Spoor (HS) or Den Haag Centraal Station (CS), both are very central. There is also a tram system in The Hague which makes getting around easy.
Taxis are harder to come by and can be expensive. There are no taxi stands which means you have to call a cab company.
There are many great little lunch spots, my favorite was Bambci, a tiny little shop run by two Italian women. They made amazing sandwiches. Het Heden is a great lunch or dinner spot. It fills quickly so reservations are recommended at dinner time. There is a bar area with open seating and we were pretty lucky finding open tables each time we went. The food is really great.
If you’re looking for brunch or lunch, Brasserie t’ Ogenblik is a great spot. They had really unique and interesting options. I had pancakes with ham, cheese and apples. It was great. Another great dinner spot is Oni, a Japanese restaurant with traditional and more modern dishes.
Where to stay:
The historic Hotel Des Indes is likely the most well known hotel in The Hague. I wrote a full review of the hotel, but based on price, was only able to stay there one night. The Hilton is a modern hotel with great facilities and is centrally located. I enjoyed my stay at the Hilton. There are dozens of smaller hotels and b&bs to choose from as well. The Park Hotel is a very basic hotel, but a good value. The downside, it’s not a non-smoking hotel, which may turn some people off.
I really enjoyed my stay in The Hague and I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend some time there. I actually preferred it to Amsterdam because I liked the slower pace. If you’re in the Netherlands, make sure you plan a stop in The Hague.