According to History Library, the Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands in terms of population. The official name of the city is The Hague ‘s-Gravenhage, which probably used to refer to the forest of the graves. The Hague is the residence city of our country: the city from which the Dutch government and its parliament govern the country. This has created the unique situation that the government is located in a different city than the capital of the country, which is Amsterdam. The Hague is full of historic buildings and monuments. The canals offer you the opportunity to get a good picture of the city during a cruise. It is recommended to plan what you want to see. The wide range of museums and sights does not make it easy for you to make choices. Its location on the coast means that The Hague has two seaside resorts: Scheveningen and Kijkduin. In total, The Hague has no less than eleven kilometers of coastline. This makes the city ideal for a combination of city trip and beach holiday.
Top 10 sights of The Hague
#1. The courtyard
The oldest complex in The Hague is the Binnenhof. This used to be called the Hof van Holland. The history of the Binnenhof goes back to the thirteenth century, when the counts of Holland had a castle built here. The most important and oldest building in the Binnenhof is the Ridderzaal. It was built in the 13th century to serve as an administrative center under the leadership of Count Willem II. Since 1904, the Speech from the Throne has been pronounced by our royal house. The courtyard is still used as an administrative center, as this is where Dutch politics do its work. The office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands has its office in ‘Het Torentje’. The gate that used to function as a gateway to the Binnenhof is also known as Gevangenpoort. Today it is a museum of punishment and crime through the ages.
The Mauritshuisis considered to be one of the best art museums in the Netherlands. This Rijksmuseum mainly contains paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries. The now world-famous collection consists of more than 800 paintings, about twenty sculptures and some miniatures and drawings. The oldest part of the collection was once owned by Prince William V of Orange-Nassau. Well-known works that you can admire in the Mauritshuis include ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Johannes Vermeer, ‘The Goldfinch’ by Carel Fabritius, ‘Laughing Boy’ by Frans Hals and ‘The Bull’ by Paulus Potter. Our favorites are ‘Soo Voer gesgen, soo na gepepen’ by Jan Steen and ‘Anatomical lesson by Dr. Nicolaes Tulip’ by Rembrandt. Museum card holders can visit the Mauritshuis for free.
#3. Escher in The Palace
The Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (MC Escher) is one of the most famous graphic artists in the world. The way in which he can play with space, perspective and reality is unique. He is the master of optical illusions. A well-known example of this is his work ‘Air and water, in which fish in the water change into birds in the air. The drawing ‘Ascending and descending’ is fascinating. In this print, people walk on a kind of spiral staircase with only one winding, but the beginning and end of which are attached to each other, so that people can always climb without ever getting higher.
Many of Escher’s works of art can be admired in the Escher museum in Het Paleis. This art museum is located in the Lange Voorhout Palace. During a visit you will be taken into the wonderful world of MC Escher.
Netherlands in miniature. There is no better way to describe Madurodam in a few words. Since the middle of the last century you can see well-known Dutch buildings, neighborhoods and places in this miniature city that have been recreated in a scale of 1 to 25. For those who know the Netherlands a little bit, a visit to this amusement park is a great feast of recognition. Numerous well-known buildings have found their place here, such as the Royal Palace on Dam Square, the Mauritshuis, the Dom Tower, the Alkmaarse Waag, the Kinderdijkse Molens and the Muidrslot. The miniature version of Schiphol Airport, added in 2003, is one of the most popular attractions within Madurodam.
Madurodam is really an outing for young and old. It is not for nothing that approximately one million visitors pass through the entrance gate of this popular attraction in The Hague every year.
#5. Louwman Museum
The Louwman family started putting together a car collection in 1934. It has now grown into a collection of almost three hundred cars. These automobiles tell the story of the automobile industry as it has developed since the year 1887. The Louwman family has never limited itself to an era or a specific type of car. This has resulted in a beautiful and varied collection that provides a good picture of what the car industry has produced. The National Automobile Museum used to be in Leidschendam and then in Raamsdonksveer. Since 2010, the entire collection can be admired in the Louwman Museum in The Hague.
#6. Noordeinde Palace
One of the royal palaces in the Netherlands is centrally located in The Hague. Noordeinde Palace is the working palace of King Willem-Alexander. It is also the departure point for the royal procession that moves to the Ridderzaal, also located in The Hague, on Prinsjesdag, where the Speech from the Throne is then read. Normally you can only view Noordeinde Palace from the outside. Thanks to Google Streetview you can virtually visit the inside of Noordeinde Palace.
The entrance of the palace is regularly used for important events such as the departure and balcony scene of Prinsjesdag or signing in the congratulatory registers during the births of Willem-Alexander’s children. The Royal horse stables are also located at this address.
#7. The Hague Historical Museum
The Hague Historical Museum shows the history of The Hague through permanent and temporary exhibitions. The beautiful building on the Korte Vijverberg still has its original entrance with columns and arches from the 17th century. The building once served as the building of the St. Sebastian civic guard, a kind of vigilante. Later it became a court to serve as a museum. There are mostly objects and paintings from the 16th to the 21st century. On the first floor, space has been created for changing exhibitions. In the attic you can find, among other things, the doll houses of Jonkvrouwe Lita de Ranitz (1876-1960).
#8. Panorama Mesdag
In 1881 Hendrik Willem Mesdag painted an enormous panorama together with his wife Sientje and a few other painters. The panorama painting has a height of approximately 14 meters and a circumference of no less than 120 meters. This shows a view of the North Sea, the dunes, Scheveningen and The Hague. It is one of the oldest panoramas you can still find worldwide. The building specially made for the work of art is a museum that does not only show the Panorama Mesdag. There are also various paintings, which were made by the Mesdag-van Houten couple, among others.
#9. Art Museum The Hague
Lovers of modern art, crafts, fashion and music should visit the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. This museum used to be known as the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Frankly, the new name covers the load better. The Art Museum The Hagueis located in a beautiful building that dates from 1935 and was designed by the famous Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. A visit to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag means getting acquainted with a wide variety of artistic expressions. Think of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, glass art and porcelain. The Kunstmuseum also has a costume collection that offers a fairly complete overview of the history of Dutch fashion.
#10. Scheveningen and Kijkduin
The municipality of The Hague has two seaside resorts: Scheveningen and Kijkduin. Scheveningen is the largest and most famous tourist attraction of these two. In particular, the pleasant and lively boulevard and the imposing hotel Kurhaus attract many thousands of visitors to this old fishing village every year. On summer days, the beaches are full of locals and day visitors. The most historic part of Scheveningen is located around the Oude Kerk on Keizerstraat, which is also the busiest shopping street. The Pier has been an important attraction and landmark of Scheveningen since 1961.
Kijkduin is a little further south. This suburb of The Hague is located in the dunes and on the beach. It is a smaller seaside resort than Scheveningen, but also has a boulevard with some shops. There are some catering establishments on the beach.