What is it with all of the tourists that want to visit Amsterdam? Isn’t there another city or place that you might be even more interested in? Amsterdam is a real beauty but it is also a very crowded city because of all the tourists. Den Haag is a huge city too, but it is so much more laidback feeling.
Den Haag (The Hague) has a population of around 520,000, with some 1,100,000 in the metropolitan area. Also, with its great connections with Amsterdam. It is for sure not a long train journey at all to Den Haag. Or if you are in Rotterdam. You can take the Metro Line E all the way to Den Haag central station.
Now that’s an affordable way of traveling. I must say! So, with this introduction. I welcome you to Den Haag (which is named The Hague also) in The Netherlands. Which is such a city that people from all over the world should visit?
The seat of Government is located in Den Haag
Whilst Amsterdam is the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the seat of government is in fact located in Den Haag. This remarkable town is situated in the province of South-Holland. It’s an appealing place to visit, with a fantastic public transportation system, bike roads everywhere like anywhere in The Netherlands, broad avenues, castles, shopping centers, tiny boutiques and, of course, the Dutch Parliament.
Situated near the North Sea, it offers wide beaches that are reachable with the tramways in the town. It is perfect for sunbathing and events are held several times a year at the nearby seaside resort of Scheveningen. From fireworks to the North Sea Jazz Festival, and from tourists’ fishing trips to the Sea Life Center, there is something for everyone.
Den Haag makes you Entertained
In the shopping mall named Bijenkorf which opened in 1926. It is a very beautiful building in Den Haag that has been designed by architect Piet Kramer and contains several beautiful stained glass windows.
In the present time, De Bijenkorf is still one of the leading department stores in The Netherlands with several stores across the country. But this one is worth visiting. To see the nineteen twenties stained glass windows you should take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator though.
Tramway lines 9 and 16 stop at Den Haag, Kalvermarkt-Stadhuis station which only a few meters away within walking distance. Also, many of the tram-trains and tramways stop at Den Haag, Spui underground station. Just take the escalators up and you’re almost there. Once you come up into fresh air, you will be on Grote Marktstraat which is a pedestrian-only street.
You simply can’t miss Bijenkorf when you are on this pedestrian street. It really adds a nice atmosphere to the city.
Some thirty museums in Den Haag
Den Haag features some thirty museums. They are all located near walking distances from the stations. But there is also special art to be seen without draining your wallet too much.
- The Mauritshuis collection consists of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age, including paintings by Vermeer, Potter, and Rembrandt (Reach it from Korte Voorhout tramway station with tramway 9, 15 and 16)
- The Gemeentemuseum exhibits an extensive collection of modern art (Reach it from Gemeentemuseum/Museon station with tramway line 16)
- The Panorama Mesdag is a unique piece of art itself – a cylindrical painting more than 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference. (Reach it from Mauritskade station with tramway line 1)
Like Amsterdam, Den Haag offers visitors a good selection of bars and restaurants, with outside terraces when the weather allows it the summertime. The northern part of Europe is a quite nice place in summer. At times it can be very hot, but often it is not too warm. Also, the breeze from the sea is a vital experience here.
Entertainment for Everyone in Den Haag
There’s a range of mainstream cinemas, where they show international films in original versions with subtitles. So, unlike Germany and France where they dub everything. In The Netherlands, they do only subtitling. Which is a great thing to know for English spoken people visiting Den Haag?
Also smaller picture houses and Holland Casino Scheveningen for those who enjoy a bit of a gamble can be found in the town to entertain yourself.
Hidden treasures Everywhere
If you love to take a walk around and take a wander around Den Haag, you will find that there are hidden treasures all over the town too. The beach is reachable by taking tramway lines 1, 9, 11 and 12.
There are some large outdoor markets held during the week, selling everything from clothes, to plants, to paintings. Another awesome shopping center can be found in Rijswijk where tram line 17 reaches and there is also a local train line which stops on an underground station here. It is really worthy to take a visit here, where the area is offering a wonderful blend of high street shops and smaller boutiques.
Just by taking the tramway which is humongous in the city. You can see nice hidden treasures. That’s what I do when visiting a new place. Sometimes I just take a random tramway line that takes me to the outskirts or to places in a town that I never would have seen otherwise.
Tasty fish in Den Haag
When in Den Haag, I encourage you to try the fish. Being situated near a harbor, the fish is fresh from the catch. You will find restaurants offering flavors from around the world, but fresh fish is really tasty.
There are excellent Italian ice-cream shops and pizzerias. You have the choice between Greek restaurants, Egyptian, Surinam, Mexican, Moroccan, Turkish, or, of course, you can try the Dutch pancake houses which is a Must to try and snack bars. Whatever your taste, there will be something for you.
It is nice to leave a tip in the restaurants and hotels in The Netherlands. However small, the gesture is appreciated and seen as common courtesy.
On the whole, the Dutch in Den Haag is friendly people, willing to help a stranded tourist or point you in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most Dutch people have at least some basic knowledge of English so if your Dutch isn’t as fluent as you would like, that is always an option for communication.
Next time you are planning a trip to Holland, try to pay a visit to Den Haag. You won’t be disappointed. Distrita approves!