Wondering what to do in The Hague? With this handpicked guide, you’ll definitely have enough to explore and experience in this surprisingly beautiful city in The Netherlands. A place I’m a bit ashamed to say I’d never been to before! Ohhh!
Where to start exploring The Hague?
The best place to start your day in The Hague is the tourist information center. It’s located just a short walk from the main train station and they can really help you pick out the best things to do, as well as provide you with a handy map.
What not to miss in The Hague?
The Binnenhof, which you can read more about in my blog about experiencing ‘Prinsjesdag in The Hague‘, is the seat of the Dutch government (even though the capital is Amsterdam) and exists of the Knight’s Hall and the Prime Minister’s ‘Torentje’ (‘Little Tower’).
The building itself is just stunning and you can enter through the famous gate (where the King enters) to get to the inner court with its beautiful architectonial details.
Where to shop in The Hague?
Directly behind the Noordereinde lies the ‘Hofkwartier’, the perfect place to shop in style. From art and antique shops, to the finest clothing, this is the place to feel like a Royal. The ‘Denneweg’ is a must for lifestyle and design lovers and one of the oldest shopping streets in The Hague.
If you are looking for a bit more affordable shops, try the ‘Grote Marktstraat’ (straat=street), the ‘Passage’ (the only remaining example in the Netherlands of this type of covered shopping street), the area called ‘Haagse Bluf’ (hidden behind the Nieuwstraat, Venestraat and Vlamingstraat), the ‘Anna Paulownaplein’ (plein=square), the ‘Frederik Hendriklaan’ (almost 1km long) or the streets a bit more at the edge of the city, such as ‘Gentsestraat’, ‘Stevinstraat’ and ‘Harstenhoekplein’.
Where to relax in The Hague?
While The Hague is pretty quiet already, it’s always nice to escape for a bit and sit down, right? Well, there is a perfect spot for this. Many people don’t know that you can actually enter the Noordeinde palace gardens!
For four centuries, The Hague has been the residence of the House of Orange. Noordeinde is the working palace where our king spends a lot of his time (when the flag is out, he’s in!). During his studies he even lived next door! The area around it is quite posh, full of art galeries and other shops for the ‘Haagse Chique’ (‘Hague Chique’).
The palace is not open for visitors but you can enter the palace gardens from the back! Great for a stroll, a run, some quiet time or a nice (royal) picnic. The gardens date back to 1609, when they were founded by Prince Frederik Hendrik for his mother Louise de Coligny. Check out the artworks hidden everywhere… or to spot some parakeets flying around!
The Hague also has an 11 kilometer stretch of beach that you should also definitely visit. You can read more on what to see and do here in my post on ‘Scheveningen Beach‘.
Where to get surprised in The Hague?
I visited this miniature wonderland years ago with family and still remember it was a lot of fun to look at the small houses, the tiny cheese market and even a copy of the famous tulips of the Keukenhof. Most of the displays are interactive and especially on a nice day, this makes a great visit.
This building features the biggest (1680 m2) and oldest (1881) existing 360 degree panorama painting of the Netherlands and I loved it a lot! The painting really is an optical illusion and painter H.W. Mesdag and his wife and other friend painters did such a great job capturing the view of Scheveningen and the ocean behind it.
Ready to explore more? Have a look below for our handpicked suggestions on what else to see and do in The Hagye -no matter what your personal travel style is!
Where to get active in The Hague?
Being so close to the beach, The Hague is the perfect place to go wind, kite or wave surfing, but of course walking, running and cycling are also popular things to do here.
The Hague is also the place where sporting events like the ‘NK Surftour’, ‘The Hague Pro Freestyle’ (wakeboarding) and the world’s toughest and largest motocross race ‘Red Bull Knock Out’ are held.
Where to eat well in The Hague?
In my post on the yearly foodtruck festival ‘TREK’, you could already taste a bit of The Hague, but there are so many other options in the city. With a large community from Indonesia, the Archipel neighbourhood is the best place to taste the Indonesian flavours that have become so familiar in The Netherlands. The Hague also has a Chinatown. The Hague even has 3 Michelin-start restaurants!
I had lunch at the cute little place called ‘Juni’, which seemed a popular spot on the Molenstraat. The atmosphere is really nice and the bagel and tea I had super tasty! Can recommend it!
I also walked past this incredible old building, which turned out to be ”t Goude Hooft’, The Hague’s oldest inn, dating back to 1423:
Where to learn something in The Hague?
Here you can experience how it is to be caught up in a disaster or conflict as you walk in the shoes of a refugee. Seems like quite an interesting experience, definitely in these days, where this topic has become so relevant.
Het Binnenhof (‘The Inner Court’)
Step through the iconic gate into the heart of Dutch democracy. Here, you’ll find not just the beautifully decorated court itself, but with a tour you can also admire Knights Hall and the famous throne where the king yearly reads his speech at Prinsjesdag.
From the outside, you can spot the Prime-Minister’s ‘Torentje’ (‘Little Tower’), from where all important political decicions are made.
Vredespaleis (Peace Palace)
The Hague has a strong reputation when it comes to peace and justice. It is the only city outside New York to boast a main UN organ (the International Court of Justice) and world-level conferences are held often here.
One of the best places to learn more about topics of peace and justice is the Peace Palace. The American millionaire Andrew Carnagie financed most of the construction and it was completed in 1913. The peace palace was the only place in the world where international disputes were resolved before a court in order to prevent nations from fighting them out on the battlefield.
The peace flame burns beside the entrance and a monument with the inscription ‘May all beings find peace’ is surrounded by the ‘World Peace Path’: a stone path with a history of 196 countries.
You can enter the visitor center for free. There is also a free audio guide that I recommend you take, even if you’re not such a fan of audio guides in general, this one is quite informative and without it’s hard to understand the exhibition.
Where to see art and design in The Hague?
The Hague has many excellent museums if you’re interested to learn more about the history of the city and see some of works of the most famous Dutch artists gathered in beautiful old buildings.
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
I didn’t have the time to visit this modern art museum, but here you can enjoy the unique collection of paintings by Piet Mondriaan, a massive silver collection and the beautifully decorated Delft Blue pottery. Also the building itself is unique, designed by Dutch architect H.P. Berlage.
Haags Historisch Museum
Another place I would have loved to visit, but didn’t fit into my schedule, was the Hague historical museum. It shows you the history of the city through cityscapes, portraits, glass collections, silverware, doll’s houses and royal memorabilia.
Part of this museum is ‘Museum de Gevangenpoort’ (‘Museum The Prison Gate’), which shows you the jailer’s quarters, interrogation room and judges’ chambers. The Museum has a history that stretches back seven centuries and is among the top 100 most important monuments in the Netherlands.
Gallerij Prins Willem V
This was the first public museum in The Netherlands (1774), displaying the Prince’s massive art collection. The walls were filled top to bottom, to show off the richness of his collection. This collection formed the base of the collection that you can now see in the Mauritshuis.
Escher at the Palace
The former palace of Queen Juliana (our King’s grandmother) is now dedicated to the works of M.C. Escher and it shows you how incredible optical illusions can be in a very interactive display. I was here years ago and would definitely visit again!
In this recently renovated museum, you will find the famous Mona Lisa of the North: the ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ painting by Johannes Vermeer (and you can get up and close too!), but there are over 800 other brilliant works by Dutch, Belgium and German painters to admire. The Rembrandt paintings are fantastic, for example!
How to get to The Hague?
From Amsterdam, take the intercity that goes directly to Den Haag Centraal (The Hague Central Station), it’s about 50 minutes. Check www.ns.nl for all information about trains.
How to get around in The Hague?
The ‘OV-Chip Card’, which can be used to travel all across The Netherlands (train, bus and tramlines), can be bought and topped-up at the two train stations in The Hague (‘Den Haag Centraal’ and ‘Den Haag HS’), or from the Tourist Info.
Another option is to get a day pass for 6,50EUR. For 16,50EUR, you can also get a 3 day disposable chip card, which is valid on all HTM trams and HTMBuzz buses in The Hague.
Read More: htm.nl/…/tickets-and-travel-products
Where to eat in The Hague?
I just had lunch at Juni (Molenstraat 63, 2513 BJ Den Haag, Netherlands. Phone:+31 70 360 8106), but for more restaurant suggestions, please check: denhaag.com/…/restaurants
More personal suggestions by us on how to best experience The Hague:
Meet the Dutch Royal Family and Learn about Dutch Politics during Prinsjesdag in The Hague
Scheveningen Beach: Fresh Air is just a Day Trip from Amsterdam away
The Magic of Mobile Restaurants at Food Truck Festival TREK The Hague
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Disclaimer: I traveled to The Hague as part of the #MustLoveFestivals campaign in collaboration with Expedia and Den Haag Tourism. All photos and opinions are 100% my own.
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