To do and see in The Hague: The top ten must-see for expats

The Hague is a city filled with interesting must-see spots, incredible art, great architecture, stylish shopping, superb dining and lots of nightlife and entertainment venues. Some even call it: ‘The Palace Filled City’ because of the large amount of embassies and mansions. Besides that, The Hague is the only large Dutch city on the North Sea and has a coastline of eleven kilometers! Read this article for a grip of the best things to do and see in The Hague. The best top ten must-see for expats!
Alice van der Laan



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To do and see The Hague: About The Hague

The Hague is the capital of the South-Holland province and it’s the second largest city of The Netherlands (after Amsterdam and Rotterdam). As we said before The Hague Is the only city that is directly on the coastline. The beach is definitely one to do and see when you are in The Hague! We separate the coast in two parts: ‘Kijkduin’ and ‘Scheveningen’. In addition, there is a wide sandy beach with a row of dunes, an extensive nature reserve. Scheveningen - formerly a fishing village - has a regional port. Because of its location on the North Sea, The Hague has been an international tourist resort since the 19th century.  The Dutch government and parliament are based in the city, and it is the residence of the royal family. Although The Hague is not the capital of the Netherlands, it certainly fulfills that role. For example, almost all embassies and ministries are in The Hague. In addition, the city is home to many national and international courts, including the International Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court.


Fun historical fact

This isn't something you can do or see in The Hague but it is fun to know.. The capital of a country is usually the city where the government, parliament and ministries are located. Since those are located in The Hague, you would expect The Hague to be the capital. But still not The Hague, but Amsterdam is the capital. How is that possible? Funny fact is that The Hague wasn’t even a city till it received it’s cityrights in 1806 from king Napoleon. Napoleon felt that Amsterdam deserved the status of capital because it was a real metropolis, at least much more important than the village of The Hague. He had the town hall on the Dam converted into a royal palace and moved into it. The reign of Napoleon came to an end in 1810. William I became the new king in 1815. The government and the new king settled permanently in The Hague. It would have been logical if Willem I and his colleagues had also decided to grant the status of capital to The Hague. But that did not happen. The Hague had and maintained the government center, while Amsterdam was allowed to remain capital. That's how they all had something.


Feel the ‘Royal Vibe’

The royal family still lives in The Hague and you can feel it’s ‘royal vibe’ through out the whole city and its inhabitants. The people here like it chique, dignified and stylish. You can especially feel this when you are having a drink in the Hotel Des Indes. From there you can view almost everything in the city on foot that is worth a visit. Former Queen Beatrix liked to walk in this neighborhood and then do her shopping at one of the nice shops in the Maliestraat, the Denneweg or the passage.


To do List The Hague – Tips for Expats


1. Shopping in style

The Hague is the ideal city for shopping in style. Typical The Hague chic can be found around the Noordeinde and the Denneweg. Historical shopping is done in the Passage. In the Prinsestraat and Oude Molstraat, hip The Hague takes its turn. And in addition to the canoes in Chinatown, the inner city has flagship stores such as Bijenkorf, H & M and Hudson's Bay. Fun fact: did you know a third to a quarter of the Chinese Dutch population lives in The Hague?


2. Sunbathing at sea

The Netherlands is not typically known for its lovely weather but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a superb day at the beach! The people of The Hague know their way to the beach when there is even the slightest chance of a few sunrays and that is not for nothing. A long beach walk, a day of paddling, strolling along the boulevard, kite flying on the beach or surfing. With 11 kilometers of beach in the back garden, beach life and city life in The Hague are perfect! You can choose between Kijkduin and Scheveningen. Kijkduin is more quite than Scheveningen but also has a lot to offer. Going for the full beach experience? Then visit Scheveningen. Pass by our office there if you need more tips!

3. Binnenhof – The political heart of The Hague

Via the famous entrance gate on the historic Binnenhof you step right into the heart of our democracy. This is the place where the most important events in Dutch history took place. But also where the future is made. Take a look at the Tweede Kamer and the Ridderzaal during a tour of ProDemos.


4. Madurodam – The Netherlands in 18000 m2

The Mauritshuis, Noordeinde Palace, the Alkmaar cheese market and the Keukenhof at a glance? In Madurodam you discover what makes the Netherlands so special and you experience the stories behind famous buildings.


5. Paleis Noordeinde – The Royal Palace

For four centuries, The Hague has been the home and workplace of the Royal Family. That long royal history is tangibly present everywhere. Surrounded by boutiques and galleries is Paleis Noordeinde, the work palace of King Willem-Alexander. You can see from the waving flag on the roof whether the king is in the country. And did you know that you can picnic in the backyard of the palace? You will not see the palaces as a tourist inside. An exception is the palace at Lange Voorhout, a stone's throw away from Hotel des Indes. That is now a branch of the Haags Gemeentemuseum. You should especially take a look in the coffee room with the complete former interior of confectioner Krul. Queen Emma lived in this palace between 1901 and 1934.


6. Escher Museum – Be amazed by Escher 

Nothing is what it seems in the work of graphic artist M.C. Escher. Here water flows up, birds change into fish and men walk endlessly up the stairs. Let your imagination run free at the Museum Escher in Het Paleis.


7. MauritsHuis – Admire the most incredible art 

In this museum located at the Hofvijver you can admire many paintings from the Golden Age. The 'Mauritshuis' also has a number of masterpieces from the 18th century. Then you can think of the 'Smiling boy' of Frans Hals, the 'Anatomical lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulip 'made by Rembrandt and the' Girl with the pearl 'by Johannes Vermeer. These works come into their own in the special interior of the 'Mauritshuis' - built around 1640 by order of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen.

8. The Peace Palace ‘Vredespaleis’

The 'Peace Palace' is located in the 'Zorgvliet' neighborhood in The Hague. The 'International Court of Justice of the United Nations', the 'Permanent Court of Arbitration', the 'Haagsche Academie voor Internationaal Recht', the 'Carnegie Stichting' and the 'Library of the Peace Palace' sit here respectively. Each in their own way these organizations strive for the peaceful resolution of disputes between countries. Regularly events take place in the 'Peace Palace', entirely dedicated to this goal. It is worth mentioning that the 'Peace Palace' was designed by the Frenchman Louis M. Cordonnier. The palace gardens are by an Englishman. It is a public secret that the 'Peace Palace' is sufficient with gifts from participants in the Hague Convention.


9. De ‘Gevangenpoort’ – The brutal history of The Hague 

Above the gate you can still see the coat of arms of Holland, with the red lion on a golden shield. In the Middle Ages, the UNESCO monument was a prison. Prisoners waited here for their trial and were tortured. That was normal at that time. Since 1882 it has been a museum that exhibits punishment and torture tools. On the square next to the Gevangenpoort you can admire a statue of Johan de Witt. He is the best-known victim of public executions that took place here until the 18th century. Along the square are buildings in various architectural styles, including Jugendstil.


10. Gemeente museum

The largest collection of paintings by Piet Mondrian in the world, an outstanding silver collection, meticulously decorated Delft Blue and interactive Wonderkamers in the famous building by architect Berlage. The Haags Gemeentemuseum is of all time!



Read our other blogs!

This is just a small grip of all the incredible sights that The Hague has to offer. There is much more to do and see in The Hague which we will share in our upcoming blogs. In a reading mood? Then don't miss out on our other two blogs: 

- Top 4 benefits for Expats in the Netherlands

- How finding a home can be a piece of cake 


And before we forget.. 

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