The Hague is a very peculiar city bordering Belgium and Germany. With around 18 million inhabitants, the metropolis boasts an enormous amount of monuments and historical sites.
The Hague is in a special situation in that the country’s government resides there and not in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.
There is always something to do in this city, no matter what the season.
It is full of diversity and amazing places to visit. Without a doubt among the highlights to see in The Hague are the Binnenhof, the Japanese garden inside Clingendael Park, the Peace Palace and the Omniversum.
The Binnenhof is the heart of politics in the Netherlands and an essential place to see in The Hague as it houses several of the emblems of the city. Here meets the second chamber and is where the country is governed. It is a complex of several buildings, each of which has played a key role in history and politics. If you like to soak up culture, this is one of the first tourist sites you should visit.
The best known part of the Biennenhof is the Ridderzaal, two Gothic-style towers that are located in the center of the Biennenhof and where the opening ceremony of the Parliament takes place. The buildings, although old, have been renovated over the years and today, maintain their original design. Inside you can see stunning stained glass windows, chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and works of art that run throughout the space.
Japanese Garden (Clingendael Park)
They say that good things come in small jars, and this is the case with the Japanese garden in Clingendael Park is one of the gems to see in The Hague. A beautiful piece of nature designed in the twentieth century by Lanfgoed Clingendael. This park has immense historical value. It evokes an atmosphere of peace and reflection where you can sit and meditate or just hang out.
Clingendael Park is full of exotic trees and plants, covered with a beautiful layer of moss. In fact, many of them are so rare that they only bloom for a couple of weeks a year. So, if you want to enjoy the flora in all its splendor, try to make the dates coincide.
Do you have a passion for cars? Well, this museum exhibits the largest private collection of classic cars in the world so it is a recommended museum to see in The Hague for everyone (especially car lovers). There are more than 230 cars from different countries. There are also cars that belonged to renowned historical figures such as Winston Churchill. The beginnings of this museum were in 1934, when the Louwman family decided to start collecting automobiles.
Today, the owner is still a member of the family, who at the same time works importing some well-known brands of automobiles to the Netherlands. The collection is housed in a beautiful building designed by architect Michael Graves.
Another of the recommended museums to see in The Hague is the magnificent Mauritshuis museum, located in the Korte Vijverberg street, still retains its original entrance with columns and arches of the seventeenth century. In the past, it served as the building of the civic guard of St. Sebastian, a kind of vigilante of the time. However, it was later converted from a courthouse to serve as a museum.
On the second floor, there are different spaces for different types of exhibitions that are changed several times a year. In the attic are, among other things, the dollhouses of Jonkvrouwe Lita de Ranitz, dating from 1876. But mostly there are objects and paintings from the 16th to the 21st century.
The Palace of Peace (Vredespaleis)
One of the palaces to see in The Hague is the Peace Palace. This place is not only famous for its imposing structure, but it is also the symbol of international peace. The Peace Palace houses the United Nations International Court of Justice, the Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice.
Here you can appreciate great works of art that have been donated by nations from all over the world to Vredespaleis as a representation of the unity between countries, and as an allegory of the good relations that exist between them.
It is so small that you can hardly see it. Madurodam is an incredible museum showcasing Holland in miniature. This fantastic open-air venue has detailed miniature versions of all the tourist and historical sites of the Netherlands, recreated on a scale of 1:25.
At the same time, it has various activities for children, teenagers and adults. There are three key attractions not to be missed: The Kingdom of Water, the Kingdom of Cities and the Kingdom of Inventiveness, where examples of Dutch innovations in architecture, entertainment and design are on display. All money raised from the park is used to support charitable organizations.
Among the most impressive sights to see in The Hague is the Omniversum. A giant screen movie theater for educational purposes. The screen in this room is shaped like a semi-circle, which gives the impression that you are in the middle of the movie. It has an advanced sound system that assures you a full experience full of fun.
The cinematography shown here is closely related to culture, science and nature, but from time to time, other presentations inspired by music and entertainment are shown.
The Scheveningen Pier is located in front of the Kurhaus, in the middle of the sea. And it is one of the most beautiful piers in the world and one of the recommended places to see in The Hague. A few years ago it was saved from a terrible accident and since then, it has received multiple renovations and has become a place worth visiting, with several areas to shop and enjoy a delicious meal.
Besides being able to spend a wonderful day in the silver, this place is able to dazzle anyone with its stunning lights that turn on when the sun goes down. And if you like extreme activities, you’ll be happy to know that you can also go bungee jumping right off the pier.
Are we talking about New York? No, The Beech also has its own Chinatown. Full of restaurants and stores of various kinds. Chinatown is in the vicinity of Wagenstraat, where you will also find two Chinese-style gates made of genuine materials and revealing authentic traditional engravings.
The ceiling is painted with more than 1,000 oriental-style figures, making it a work of art in itself. So, are you interested in Asian culture? Don’t hesitate to visit The Hague.
If you prefer sports, De Uithof is the ideal place for sports excursions. Due to the low temperatures in winter, it is possible to go skiing or ice skating.
There are also more competitive activities that you can do with friends and family, such as go-karting or playing a game of soccer on a trampoline.
One of the most famous markets to see in The Hague is the Haagse Markt. It is presumed to be the largest and most extensive market in the Netherlands. In fact, some claim that it is the largest in Europe. In this place, many types of merchandise are traded and it receives more than 25,000 visitors every day from Monday to Saturday.
Near this market is the famous Schilderswijk neighborhood, a small housing estate known for its multicultural inhabitants. This means that you can find plenty of places serving foreign food and other exotic products.
Grote of St. Jabobskerk Church (Main Church)
Back in the 13th century there was a small wooden chapel on the site of what is now one of the religious temples to see in The Hague, the Main Church, which was built in phases. The main attraction of this chapel are its unique stained glass windows from the 16th century, the coats of arms of the Knights of the Golden Fleece, the drum from 1689 that plays a melody every 15 minutes and the tombs of illustrious historical figures.
The historical importance of this church is underlined by the numerous wedding celebrations and baptisms of the Orange trees that have taken place in this church.
Mesdag Panorama Museum
If there is one must-see place in The Hague, it is definitely the Panorama Mesdag Museum. Because where else in the world is a 40-meter cylindrical painting on display?
This colossal work of art is the result of a craze that broke out in Brussels in 1875, as painting panoramas was all the rage at the time. It all began when some of the most famous businessmen in Brussels asked Mesdag to make a version for The Hague, which was started in 1881, and to finish it, the painter required the help of his wife and several students from his art school.