Most first-time visitors to the Netherlands flock straight to Amsterdam, but The Hague is well worth a stop on your itinerary as well. Not only is it the country's political capital, but it's the third largest city in the Netherlands and the only large Dutch city located on the seashore. The city has something to offer everyone, and depending on where their interests lie, visitors can spend their time wandering through the city's many art museums, bungee jumping off the top of a crane at the end of a pier, or relaxing by the seaside with a cold drink and a good book.
Nestled in the heart of the city, the Binnenhof has been the center of politics in the Netherlands for hundreds of years. Also known as the Inner Court, the Binnenhof sits on the site of the former castle of the Counts of Holland and is home to the Dutch Parliament buildings and the Hall of Knights. Guided tours are available in both Dutch and English, and visitors can choose between a general tour and more specific tours that cover in-depth topics. Advance reservations are recommended for tours, but visitors can also walk through the site on their own free of charge.
2513 AA The Hague, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-64-61-44
© Nikolai Sorokin/stock.adobe.com
One of the most family friendly attractions in the city, Madurodam is a famous miniature park that boasts approximately 340 miniatures depicting Holland's most iconic landmarks as well as important scenes from Dutch history. The miniatures are built on a scale of 1:25, and many of them feature interactive elements such as trains and storm barriers, which visitors are encouraged to touch and play with. Visitors can also use their smartphones for a unique media-rich experience that explains the stories behind various items in the park. Other amenities include children's playgrounds, restaurants, and gift shops, and the park is open 365 days a year.
George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-4-16-24-00
Home to many of the best paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, Maurithuis is a world-class art museum located inside a restored 17th-century private residence. Highlights of the permanent collection include Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch by Fabritius, but there are more than 200 works of art on display in total. Guided tours are available for groups of up to 15 people, but must be booked at least two weeks in advance. Visitors can also download the museum's app on their phones to take a fascinating self-guided tour free of charge.
Plein 29, 2511 CS The Hague, Netherlands, Phone: +31-7-03-02-34-56
4.Escher in Het Paleis
© Escher in Het Paleis
Housed inside a former Winter Palace of the Royal Family, Escher in Het Paleis is a museum dedicated to displaying the work of Maurits Cornelis Escher, a graphic artist known for creating incredible optical illusions. Almost all of his prints are exhibited here, and visitors will be able to see how he depicted things like never-ending staircases, water flowing upstream, and reptiles escaping the pages they're drawn on. A multimedia display gives visitors the opportunity to design their own optical illusion, and the museum also offers two audio tours, which can be downloaded for free using the IZI Travel app.
Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH The Hague, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-4-27-77-30
© Louwman Museum
Established in 1934, the Louwman Museum boasts the oldest private collection of motor cars in the world. The impressive collection has been amassed by the Louwman family over the course of two generations, and it now consists of more than 250 antique and classic motor cars, including the Benz Patent Motor Car, the Ford Model A, and James Bond's Aston Martin from the movie Goldfinger. Visitors should be aware that the entire collection is not always on display, so if there's a particular car you'd like to see, it's wise to contact the museum in advance.
Leidsestraatweg 57, 2594 BB The Hague, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-04-73-73
6.SkyView de Pier
Located on the popular Scheveningen Pier, SkyView de Pier is a luxury Ferris wheel that offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Dutch coastline. The ride brings passengers approximately 45 feet into the air, and its six-person gondolas are equipped with plus seats, air conditioning, and heating so that riders are comfortable no matter what the weather. The views are just as stunning at night as they are during the day, and each ride lasts for several revolutions so that passengers can enjoy the views to the fullest. Pastries and hot beverages are offered before the ride free of charge.
Strandweg 156, 2586 JW Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-88-0-22-33-33
© Panorama Mesdag
Painted in 1881 by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and a team of six assistant painters, the Panorama Mesdag is the largest painting in the Netherlands and one of the oldest panoramic paintings in the world. The unique circular painting is 120 meters long and 40 meters high, and it gives visitors the impression that they're standing on a watchtower at the Scheveningen beach in 1880. It's now housed in a purpose-built museum, which offers plenty of information on how the painting came to be as well as a small collection of other paintings displayed in permanent and temporary exhibits.
Zeestraat 65, 2518 AA Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-10-66-65
8.Huis ten Bosch
Constructed in 1645 to serve as the private residence of Prince Frederick Henry and his wife, Huis ten Bosch is now one of the three official residences of the Dutch Royal Family. The palace consists of two suites of apartments on either side of a central hall, which houses a beautiful collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Because the palace's primary function is to serve as a residence for the Royal Family, it's not open to the public, but visitors can see it from the outside by taking a stroll through the peaceful Haagse Bos forest that surrounds it.
's-Gravenhaagse Bos 10, 2594 BD Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-6-45-21-11-67
Known in Dutch as the Vredespaleis, the Peace Palace is an administrative building that houses important institutions like the International Court of Justice and the Hague Academy of International Law. Construction of the building was completed in 1913, and many of the interior and exterior decorations were received as gifts from the international community. Guided tours of the building are offered only a few times a year and must be booked well in advance, but thirty-minute audio tours and plenty of fascinating exhibits are available in the on-site Visitor's Center, which is open every day but Mondays.
Carnegieplein 2, 2517 KJ Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-02-42-42
, Michigan beaches
Operated by Bungy Jump Holland, the only bungee company in the Netherlands, Bungy Scheveningen is located at the end of the Scheveningen Pier. The bungee site sits 60 meters above sea level and 300 meters away from the shore, and it boasts a unique location on a crane placed on a tower. All jumpers will be given a memory card filled with high-quality pictures of their jump. People can jump either on their own or with a partner, and anyone under the age of 18 requires written consent from a parent or guardian to make a jump.
Strandweg 150-154, 2586 JW Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-2-21-11-38
© Jan Kranendonk/stock.adobe.com
Designed by the famed architect Hendrik Berlage, the Gemeentemuseum is an enchanting art museum best known for its extensive Mondrian collection. The highlight of the Mondrian exhibit is Victory Boogie Woogie, the last abstract painting the artist ever did, but visitors will also have the opportunity to see plenty of his earlier, more realistic work as well as paintings done by artists like Monet, Picasso, and Cezanne. Aside from paintings, the museum also offers collections of music items, historical fashion, and decorative arts. Audio tours are available, and guided tours can be arranged for groups of 20 people or fewer.
Stadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-38-11-11
The most famous seaside resort in the Netherlands, Scheveningen Beach is a well-maintained stretch of sand nestled between the water and the historic city center. Opportunities for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing in waterfront pavilions abound, but the area also offers a rich variety of shops and attractions for visitors to enjoy, including the iconic Scheveningen Pier, a large aquarium complex, a casino, and a Panthe cinema. Festivals, concerts, and markets are held on the pier and along the boulevard year-round, and there are plenty of excellent restaurants that offer delicious food and beautiful views of the water.
© Mesdag Collection
Found just a few hundred meters away from the Panorama Mesdag, the Mesdag Collection is an impressive set of paintings assembled by the artist responsible for the famous panorama and his wife, who was an accomplished painter in her own right. Many of the paintings in the museum were done by the Mesdags themselves, but there are also extensive collections of works from the French Barbizon School and the Hague School. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday between noon and 5 p.m., and combination tickets are available for visitors who want to see both the collection and the nearby Panorama.
Laan van Meerdervoort 7F, 2517 AB Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-62-14-34
14.Beelden aan Zee
© Beelden aan Zee
Tucked away in the dunes of Scheveningen, Beelden aan Zee is a delightful museum with an exclusive focus on contemporary sculpture. The works on display are primarily from the second half of the 20th century, and they've been collected from both Dutch and international artists of varying prominence. The sculptures are made from a wide variety of materials, but they've all been chosen to fit with the museum's theme of 'mankind'. Public guided tours take place every afternoon, and once a month, the museum also offers special guided tours for people with dementia and visual challenges.
Harteveltstraat 1, 2586 EL Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-7-03-58-58-57
If you're looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach away from the hustle and bustle of Scheveningen, Kijkduin is an excellent choice. Although it's smaller than its better-known neighbor, the beach offers everything you need for an enjoyable day, including stylish beach pavilions, a boulevard dotted with cozy restaurants, excellent kitesurfing, and a wide stretch of sand perfect for sunbathing. A large swathe of dunes surrounds the beach, providing plenty of excellent opportunities for walking and cycling, and the beach is also located right on a long-distance cycle path that leads to the Port of Rotterdam and Scheveningen.
Encompassing approximately 250 acres in the middle of the city, Haagse Bos is a peaceful park dotted with some of the oldest trees in the Netherlands. The park can easily be accessed from the popular downtown shopping street Theresiastraat, and plenty of well-maintained trails wind their way between the trees, providing opportunities for walking, running, and cycling. If you take the right path, you'll have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Huis ten Bosch, the home of the Dutch Royal Family. During the warmer months, people also often picnic by the large pond that sits in the center of the park.
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17.Prison Gate Museum
Formerly used as a prison by the Court of Holland, the Prison Gate Museum was converted into an educational museum in 1882. The medieval building is now home to the Netherlands' largest collection of torture instruments, and it tells the story of the gruesome way suspected criminals were once treated and how the country's idea of justice has changed over time. Most of the museum is only open to visitors accompanied by a guide, and tours are held every hour between 10:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Tickets can be reserved in advance by phone or by email.
Buitenhof 33, 2513 AH Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-46-08-61
Situated between The Hague and the nearby town of Wassenaar, Clingendael Park is a beautiful country estate. The park is best known for its stunning Japanese garden, which was created in 1910 by Lady Daisy, who owned the estate at the time and decorated the garden with beautiful sculptures and lanterns she brought back from Japan. However, the Japanese garden isn't the only thing the park has to offer; it also features a Dutch garden, a children's playground, and a tearoom. The estate is open to the public year-round, but the Japanese garden can only be visited during a short period of the year.
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19.Sea Life Scheveningen
© Iuliia Sokolovska/stock.adobe.com
Sitting right by the Scheveningen Pier, Sea Life Scheveningen is the perfect place to visit if you want to enrich your beach vacation with a glimpse at the incredible marine life that lives beneath the surface of the sea. The center boasts 45 aquariums home to more than 150 species of marine animals, including seahorses, sharks, and stingrays, and there's even an interactive pool where visitors can touch starfish and crabs. Another highlight is the underwater tunnel, which takes visitors on a journey through a tropical aquarium filled with corals, sea turtles, and fish. Tickets can be purchased online for a small discount.
Strandweg 13, 2586 JK Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-54-21-00
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If you're visiting The Hague with children, the Kinderboekenmuseum is one of the best things to include on your itinerary. Known in English as the Children's Book Museum, it can be found inside the Royal Library building, and it offers an excellent selection of child-oriented exhibits designed to spark curiosity and instill a love of reading. The exhibits introduce children to famous children's book characters while they improve their reading skills, and many also offer interactive elements that allow children to climb and play. Guided tours are available for groups of ten or more people, and the museum is open every day but Monday.
Prins Willem-Alexanderhof 5, 2595 BE Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-33-96-66
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21.The Beach Brasserie
© The Beach Brasserie
Only a five-minute walk away from the Scheveningen Pier, the Beach Brasserie is a wonderful restaurant operated by the Carlton Beach Hotel. The talented kitchen team specializes in light, refreshing food perfect for enjoying on a hot day, and groups of fifteen people or more can also arrange to have a beach barbecue meal outside on the terrace. The event staff can help arrange beach volleyball tournaments, sandcastle building competitions, and other fun activities, and lounge chairs and beach umbrellas can be rented by visitors who would prefer to spend the day simply relaxing in the sun.
Gevers Deynootweg 201, 2586 HZ Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-54-14-14
Named after the golden eagle in Indonesian mythology, Garoeda is an iconic restaurant housed inside a gorgeous Art Nouveau building in the heart of the city. The servers are all dressed in traditional Javanese silk outfits to enhance the restaurant's authentic feel, and the menu features delicious Indonesian cuisine tweaked to suit Dutch taste buds, including spicy beef rendang, sautéed Dutch mussels, and traditional fried rice. Guests who are in the mood for a more elaborate experience can also opt for the rijsttafel, a unique banquet-style spread featuring dishes that were created during the Dutch colonial era in Indonesia.
Kneuterdijk 18A, 2514 EN Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-46-53-19
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Overlooking a beautiful canal known as the Dunne Bierkade, Basaal is a charming neighborhood bistro that specializes in Mediterranean food made with regionally sourced meat, fish, and produce. The menu changes seasonally, but the three-course fixed menu is always a good choice; in fact, it's this €36.50 menu that has repeatedly won the restaurant the BiB Gourmand, a mark of distinction awarded by the Michelin guide to restaurants who provide exceptional food at a reasonable price. The luxuriously decorated interior is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal, but in the summer, guests can also choose to dine outside on the terrace.
Dunne Bierkade 3, 2512 BC Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-4-27-68-88
© Restaurant Alexander
Centrally located on the trendy but elegant Denneweg street, Restaurant Alexander is a welcoming establishment with an exciting, diverse menu. A key feature of the kitchen is its large charcoal grill known as the Big Green Egg, which is used to give some of the meat and vegetable dishes a mouthwatering grilled taste and texture. The chef primarily focuses on French and Italian cuisine, but many of the dishes have an international flair as well, and the flavor and quality of the food are enhanced by the fact that organic ingredients are used as much as possible.
Denneweg 138, 2514 CL Den Haag, Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-64-81-75
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© Hanting Restaurant
Widely recognized as one of the best Asian restaurants in the country, Hanting Restaurant is a stylish Michelin star restaurant located in the historical Court District. When making the food, the owner and head chef Han Ji expertly incorporates elements from the French tradition as well as from four of the most important styles of Chinese cuisine, and each dish is a visually stunning work of art. Guests can choose a three, four, five, or six course menu and carefully selected wine and sake pairings are available upon request. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, and reservations are recommended.
Prinsestraat 33, 2513 CA, The Hague The Netherlands, Phone: +31-70-3-62-08-28
25 Best Things to Do in The Hague, Netherlands
- The Binnenhof, Photo: tipak16/stock.adobe.com
- Madurodam, Photo: Nikolai Sorokin/stock.adobe.com
- Maurithuis, Photo: Mistervlad/stock.adobe.com
- Escher in Het Paleis, Photo: Escher in Het Paleis
- Louwman Museum, Photo: Louwman Museum
- SkyView de Pier, Photo: Alexisq/stock.adobe.com
- Panorama Mesdag, Photo: Panorama Mesdag
- Huis ten Bosch, Photo: olly/stock.adobe.com
- Peace Palace, Photo: Daniel/stock.adobe.com
- Bungy Scheveningen, Photo: mikemols/stock.adobe.com
- Gemeentemuseum, Photo: Jan Kranendonk/stock.adobe.com
- Scheveningen Beach, Photo: dabldy/stock.adobe.com
- Mesdag Collection, Photo: Mesdag Collection
- Beelden aan Zee, Photo: Beelden aan Zee
- Kijkduin, Photo: andrewbalcombe/stock.adobe.com
- Haagse Bos, Photo: SkandaRamana/stock.adobe.com
- Prison Gate Museum, Photo: nicknick_ko/stock.adobe.com
- Clingendael Park, Photo: dennisvdwater/stock.adobe.com
- Sea Life Scheveningen, Photo: Iuliia Sokolovska/stock.adobe.com
- Kinderboekenmuseum, Photo: Kinderboekenmuseum
- The Beach Brasserie, Photo: The Beach Brasserie
- Garoeda, Photo: Garoeda
- Basaal, Photo: Basaal
- Restaurant Alexander, Photo: Restaurant Alexander
- Hanting Restaurant, Photo: Hanting Restaurant
- Cover Photo: fotografiecor/stock.adobe.com