The Hague is one of the most beautiful cities in The Netherlands. What are the best things to do in The Hague? Here are 10 tips!
The Hague: an introduction
The Hague is the capital of the Dutch province of South Holland and it’s the place where the Dutch government and parliament are located. You will also find the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The city is located on the North Sea coast, so getting some fresh air on the beach is always an option during a city trip to The Hague.
The Hague has been officially called ‘s-Gravenhage’ since the seventeenth century (that sounds a bit more elegant) but is in The Netherlands known as ‘Den Haag’ (which looks more like the English name The Hague).
Finds have been made dating back to 3000 BC. Chr. and The Hague is therefore an old city. It has been known as The Hague since 1230 when Count Floris IV of Holland built a castle here and came to live there with his wife. The Hague has been known as the site of the highest governmental body in The Netherlands since the sixteenth century but did not receive city rights until 1806. Today, The Hague is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands with nearly 550,000 inhabitants (the largest city after Amsterdam and Rotterdam).
10 fun things to do in The Hague
Are you planning on visiting The Hague and would you like to know what to do in The Hague? There are many great sights to visit. These are 10 fun things to do.
Please note: due to COVID-19, not all places in this list can be visited at the moment. So check in advance what you want to do during your city trip to The Hague and if you can visit all the places you want to see. And remember: The Hague is always a great city to stroll around and explore without visiting all the highlights. There is plenty to see!
Take a look at the Binnenhof
The most famous place in The Hague is undoubtedly the Binnenhof, where the Dutch government is located. Wander around the square (you might even see one of the politicians on their way to work) and go for a walk around the Hofvijver (a large pond on the northside of the Binnenhof). From here you can clearly see the Torentje (this is the office of the Prime Minister) and the Mauritshuis.
Discover the Dutch masters in the Mauritshuis
You’ll be able to see the beautiful Mauritshuis very well when you’re walking along the Hofvijver. In this museum you will find works of art by the famous Dutch masters from the Golden Age. Here you will find works by Johannes Vermeer (including the famous Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, and Paulus Potter. The building alone is a picture to behold. It was built in the seventeenth century for Johan Maurits Prince of Nassau-Siegen (hence the name Mauritshuis).
Click here to buy your tickets if you want to visit the Mauritshuis.
Get a breath of fresh air on the beach
The Hague is located on the coast, making it the perfect city to get some fresh air. Visiting the beach is wonderful at any time of the year! The advantage of going for a walk on the beach outside the summer months is that you sometimes have the whole beach to yourself. Which is awesome!
Visit the Peace Palace
The Peace Palace is not only beautiful to see but also one of the most important buildings in The Hague. Many important organizations are located in the Peace Palace, such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice of the United Nations.
You can visit a visitor center here, where you can watch a film about the creation of the Peace Palace. You can also book guided tours to learn more about the building.
Pro tip: visit the Peace Palace in the evening. On special occasions it is beautifully lit!
View the best modern art in Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Kunstmuseum Den Haag (until 2019 known as Gemeentemuseum Den Haag) is one of the most famous museums for modern art in the Netherlands. The museum has a large collection of works of art by painters of the Hague School, such as Picasso, Mondrian, and Monet. In addition, the museum also has a beautiful fashion collection, which gives a good idea of fashion in the Netherlands over the years.
Click here to order your admission ticket for Kunstmuseum Den Haag.
Visit SkyView De Pier for the best view
Do you like beautiful views? SkyView de Pier on the pier of Scheveningen was opened in 2016. This is a huge Ferris wheel and is partly located in the North Sea. From a height of fifty meters, you’ll have a great view of the Dutch coastline and The Hague.
Click here to order your tickets for SkyView de Pier.
Noordeinde Palace: the official workplace of the king
Noordeinde Palace is the official workplace of King Willem-Alexander and is beautifully located in the center of The Hague. On Prinsjesdag, this is the place where the royal procession leaves to travel to the Ridderzaal on the Binnenhof. On Prinsjesdag, the king of the Netherlands addresses a joint session of the States-General of the Netherlands (consisting out of the Senate and the House of Representatives) and gives a speech from the throne.
During a city trip to The Hague, you can always view the palace from the outside, but on rare occasions, it’s open to the public. You can also visit the palace virtually via Google Streetview.
Visit the small version of The Netherlands: Madurodam
Madurodam is the most famous miniature city in The Netherlands and there are many famous Dutch buildings to see. For example, you can view a miniature version of Dam Square in Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, the Erasmus Bridge, the Cheese Market in Alkmaar, Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, and the Waterpoort in Sneek. Madurodam is a fun place to visit for young and old.
Click here to buy your tickets for Madurodam.
Immerse yourself in the world of Escher
Escher in Het Paleis is perhaps the most fun museum I visited in The Hague. It is located in the Paleis Lange Voorhout (a beautiful former palace from 1764) and is dedicated to the work of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. In addition to many famous prints, there are also various special installations on display and the museum also has some interactive elements. This museum is also fun for people who do not necessarily enjoy museums.
Click here to buy your ticket for Escher in Het Paleis.
Taste the Dutch delicacies
The Hague is popular with tourists from all over the world and therefore one of the best places to discover the best delicacies from The Netherlands. So get some delicious herring from the fishmonger next to the Binnenhof or score fresh syrup waffles or tasty poffertjes at one of the many stalls. Let’s eat!
What’s the best time to visit The Hague?
Visiting The Hague is a great idea at any time of the year. On warm days, you can go to the beach to cool off, and when it is cold or rainy there are plenty of museums to stay warm and dry.
How do you get to The Hague?
Are you planning on visiting The Hague during a vacation in The Netherlands? Schiphol Airport is the largest international airport in the country, and not too far from The Hague. Check Skyscanner for the cheapest plane tickets.
From the airport (or anywhere else in The Netherlands) you can travel to The Hague by car or by public transport
Travel to the Hague by car
The Hague is easily accessible by car, via the A12 from Utrecht and Gouda, and via the A4 from Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Leiden, and Rotterdam. Parking in The Hague is pretty easy, just follow the signs. There are plenty of parking garages where you can safely park your car. With Q-Park you can reserve a spot in advance for a good price. Booking a parking spot in advance is often cheaper because they often have discount promotions.
Travel to The Hage by public transport
Like all major cities in The Netherlands, The Hague is very easily accessible by public transport. The city has several train stations, with The Hague HS (Holland Spoor) and The Hague Central being closest to the city center. Plan your train journey on NS.nl.
Spend the night in The Hague
The Hague is a popular city for a city break and is, therefore, you’ll be able to find many cozy B & Bs and beautiful hotels in the city. Check Booking.com to see what’s available during your visit. Here are a few recommendations:
- B&B Valkenbos – beautifully decorated B&B in the Segbroek district.
- B-aparthotel Kennedy – aparthotel with apartments near Kunstmuseum Den Haag.
- The Collector Hotel – fancy some luxury? The Collector Hotel has many beautifully designed rooms and they are fully equipped to your needs.
Get more out of your city trip to The Hague
Are you looking forward to a city trip to The Hague? Then you can read even more about this great city in the The 500 Hidden Secrets of the Hague travel guide. Here you will find the best sights and tips for the best places to shop, eat or have a drink.
Want to read more about other beautiful cities in the Netherlands?
Do you want to discover more fun cities in The Netherlands? Check out one of these articles:
- Fun things to do in Groningen, The Netherlands
- City trip in Southwest Friesland (The Netherlands)
- Hidden gems in The Netherlands: off the beaten track
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