Doing The Hague right
Dutch and English
Central European Time (CET)
Getting around the Hague
Like most Dutch cities, the bicycle reigns supreme here. The Hague offers dedicated cycle paths, areas for locking up bikes, plenty of bikes for hire and a host of good repair shops. If you’re driving you’ll have to pay for on-street parking in most parts of the city, but taxis or Uber will save you the hassle. The Hague boasts an excellent public transport system too. There are more than 30 bus and tramlines to bring you from Point A to Point B and back again. Make like the locals do and download the 9292 public transport planner app to help you get around.
Judicial Capital of the World
The Hague is the center of all that’s ‘official’ in the Netherlands (the institutions of Dutch government, two official homes of the Dutch Royal family, lots of embassies). However, it’s far from stuffy or boring. If anything, the international affairs that take place here, plus the regular presence of the King and Queen make it all the more charming. The International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court add a formal tone to this wealthy city that boasts the most historical sites per mile in the country. And a host of very prosperous expats.
Nightlife in the Hague
Summer is a great time to be out at night in The Hague, when the bars along the Scheveningen Beach promenade are buzzing with booze-swigging locals and tourists, and everyone heads to the nightclubs and live music spots at De Zwarte Pad. If you’re seeking a more casual affair, Grote Markt is a decent spot to head in warm weather. The square is packed with tables and chairs all spilling out from restaurants and bars, while The Plein and the Buitenhof squares are equally alive. Whatever floats your boat for a bit of night time fun, you’ll find it in the Hague.
Explore the world of Escher in Het Paleis
Are the stairs going up or down? Are they even really there? M.C. Escher's mind-boggling work has confused people for years, and Escher in Het Paleis will blow your brain even more with a whole world of optical illusions. Check out the Impossible Penrose Triangle. Ponder over twisting towers, shark-shaped chandeliers, and endless staircases. You’ll freak yourself out over tiny grown-ups, infinity mirrors, and giant kids. Everything that’s wrong feels right at this museum dedicated to the country's most famous (and clearly tripped out) graphic artist.
Tulip time at Keukenhof
The world's second-largest flower garden delights locals, expats, and hoards of visiting foreigners every single year with over 7 million flowers in various exhibitions, rows, and glass houses. Every year, from late March to May, the so-called “Garden of Europe” invites visitors to walk these former 15th-century hunting grounds, breathing in the scent of 79 acres of tulips and an exotic Japanese garden. The park was founded in 1949 to display Dutch and European hybrids, and the best views are most definitely from the tops of the windmills.
Revisit the Golden Age at Mauritshuis
Crammed into a 17th-century waterfront building is more famous art than you can shake a paintbrush at. Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring hangs here at Mauritshuis, and so do almost 900 objects from the Dutch Golden Age. Wander the halls and galleries and soak up priceless works from artists like Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Potter, and see why people all over the world looked to these Dutch artists for a more realistic representation of life in oils. Guided tours will talk you through the paintings, adding that all-important extra depth.
Get political at Binnenhof
Dutch counts sat in this 13th-century Gothic castle and talked politics, so it’s fitting that today it’s still a center of politics here. If you’re lucky you might even see the current parliament in session. The castle is home to both legislative houses and the office of the prime minister. Some parts of the building might be off-limits due to politics in action, but as the historic and current center of Dutch political life, a visit to Binnenhof makes an intriguing respite from the drizzle on a winter’s day, and stays fascinating all year round.