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Historic Getaways in Europe – The Hague

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

A city symbolising peace and justice, the Hague lies just 40 minutes south-west of Dutch capital Amsterdam by train. Located along the coastline, the city has everything from beautiful historical buildings to great shopping, beaches and fascinating museums. Whether you wish to discover the Royal connections to the city, discover the Old Masters or sit by the beach contemplating life itself, a Historic Getaway to The Hague will tick all your boxes.

Visit the Most Photographed Building in the City

The Peace Palace is the most photographed building in The Hague which isn’t surprising considering what it symbolises. This splendid Neo-Renaissance structure represents peace and justice around the world. Not only does it house the seat of the International Court of Justice, but it also has a piece of each country embedded into its architecture. Surrounding the eternal flame is the World Peace Path, constructed with 196 stones from countries around the world. Stones from the fall of the Berlin Wall and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned are just two of the many you can see.

The Peace Palace is open to the public on some weekends throughout the year, but if the timing of your trip doesn’t correspond, you can still amble along historic pathways and photograph the magnificent building from beautifully sculpted gardens.

Sunset view on the Peace Palace - The Hague

Credit: RossHelen

See the Girl with the Pearl Earring

Nestled on the waterfront in the heart of The Hague sits Mauritshuis Museum - home to some of the most iconic Dutch paintings from the Golden Age. The museum’s world-renowned collection includes over 200 masterpieces created during the 17th-century movement by Dutch and Flemish artists. As you browse the galleries, you can marvel at Girl with a Pearl Earring painting by Vermeer, critique Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp and admire The Goldfinch painted by Fabritius. There is also a vast collection of still life, portrait paintings and exhibitions to discover. If you only have a few days to spend in The Hague, add Mauritshuis Museum to your itinerary - you won’t be disappointed. 

Mauritsuis Museum in the Hague, Netherlands

Credit: Todamo

Stroll along The Hague’s Beautiful Beaches

Most visitors to The Hague don’t consider that the city has its own beach. In fact, Scheveningen in the affluent northern district of the city boasts sun, sea, sand and a 4km-long boardwalk sprinkled with cafes, restaurants and boutiques! On summer days it’s the perfect place to dine alfresco, view giant sculptures or even visit the local aquarium. In the evenings, the boardwalk is equally as lively with a theatre and casino, restaurants serving fresh seafood and waterfront bars where you can sip a glass of wine after a busy day of sightseeing.

Scheveningen The Hague

Credit:Andrew Balcombe

Visit The Netherlands' Political Heart at The Binnenhof

The Binnenhof has long been the centre of Dutch politics. The historic complex of buildings set beside Hofvijver lake is a place where monumental decisions for the country were and still are made. The Gothic-style Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights is a highlight. Originally built as a castle and hunting hall for Dutch counts in the 13th century, it also doubled as a courtroom. The timber roof is designed to look like an upturned ship and as you walk through the hall, you notice wooden faces with one ear to the side. These represent ‘eavesdroppers’ who are said to encourage the assembly to tell the truth as a higher power is always listening.

It’s easy to be transported to a bygone era on a tour of the Binnenhof. You can imagine great halls draped with banners and wealthy merchants and representatives sitting on pews animatedly discussing trade and politics of the day. If you’re interested in discovering more about the Dutch political landscape, take a guided tour of The Binnenhof and discover what really goes on behind these great walls in The Hague. 

Binnenhof Dutch Parliament, The Hague, Den Haag at spring Netherlands

Credit:Neirfy

See How Famous Delft Pottery is made

The pretty Dutch city of Delft can be reached in just 12 minutes by train from The Hague. The popular tourist destination is peppered with canals and is known as the birthplace of microbiology. It was home to artist Johannes Vermeer and is also famous for its delicate blue and white pottery! Delft ceramics are said to have been inspired by Chinese porcelain imported into the city by the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch saw the popularity of these ceramics, in particular the blue and white patterns, and decided to create their own versions to eliminate competition from Chinese imports.

By the 17th century, there were 32 factories in Holland producing Delftware, mainly located in beer breweries which had gone out of business. By the 19th century, only a few factories remained, rendering the original pottery quite the collector’s item. You can still see Delftware being hand-painted today at Delft Pottery which offers free guided tours year-round. Alternatively, you can book a workshop and design and paint your own original Delft blue tile!

Delft Blue Pottery Delft

Credit: Robert Paul van Beets

Sample Traditional Dutch Cuisine

When you think of world-class cuisine, the Netherlands isn’t usually the first place that springs to mind. However, there are delicious Dutch dishes which you simply have to try during your visit to The Hague. A popular snack is Bitterballen. This deep-fried crispy meatball served with dipping mustard can be found in many a Dutch drinking establishment. If you’re ambling around the city, it’s likely you’ll come across a ‘haringhandel’ or herring cart. The raw herring sandwiches with pickles and onions are popular with lovers of fish and are a great between-meal snack if you’re sightseeing.

If you’re seeking a hearty meal and are visiting The Hague in winter, Stamppot is delicious Dutch comfort food. Made with sausage, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, carrot and onion, it’s a filling dish which can be sampled in most restaurants.

Delicatessen in Holland

Credit: Chantal de Bruijne

Enjoy a Luxury Stay in the city

Hotel Des Indes exudes old-world glamour and grandeur. Recently renovated by Jacques Garcia, this landmark 5-star Netherlands hotel in historical Lange Voorhout is the perfect location from which to explore The Hague. The décor of the lounge is a blend of classic and modern with ornate brass lampshades, marble pillars and rich red velvet and gold interiors. Rooms and suites are light and airy, dressed in crisp white linens and muted shades with wooden furnishings.

The hotel's high tea is popular with locals and visitors, while their lunch and dinner menus consist of a selection of seafood, meat, veg and mouth-watering desserts encourage you to dine in the hotel restaurants. There are also a spa and treatment centres where you can take a dip or indulge in a pampering massage following a day exploring The Hague.

Facade of Hotel Des Indes, The_Hague

Credit: Joachim Affeldt

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