The Hague is a unique tourist city due to its wealth of history and amount of activities for visitors to take part in. Featuring a significant amount of outdoor activities as well as being a seat of political power, The Hague is one of the busiest and most popular spots for tourists.

More ideas: Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips

History

The third largest population of permanent residents in the country, The Hague was formed in 1230 and more than one million people call it home. It is the seat of The Netherlands' Cabinet, State’s general, Council of the State, and the Supreme Court.

Permanent Attractions

Attractions in The Hague are numerous, with one foot in history and the other in modern culture.

For visitors who enjoy spending time outdoors, The Hague’s location on the North Sea provides them with many opportunities to enjoy the coast and the many beaches located in the city. There are also many parks to spend time in.

- Japanese Garden - The Japanese Garden in The Hague is actually located inside Clingendael Park. This park was designed in the early part of the 1900s by the Baroness van Briene, Marguerite M, after she traveled to Japan. She took multiple trips back and forth the country, bringing back with her a variety of sculptures, plants, bridges, and structures (including the pavilion). The Japanese Gardens are free for visitors but can only be visited during the spring and the fall.

- The Malieveld - Located in the center of the city, The Malieveld is a huge grassy area that is the perfect place for a family picnic, playing games, and sunbathing as well as being the home of many different special events throughout the year (see below for additional information).

- The Park of Roses - Also known as The Rosarium, this beautifully maintained park allows visitors to wander through a literal field of flowers (and, as the name suggests, many of them are in the rose family). It is one of the quieter parks for visitors who want to enjoy a little silence in the middle of an otherwise bustling city.

- Haagse Bos - The Haagse Bos is also an ancient forest that stretches right into the middle of The Hague. Besides being a quiet sanctuary for visitors, it is also home to many different species of wildlife like red deer, birds, and more. The park is an officially protected area.

There are also many museums and other related attractions in The Hague. In fact, The Hague claims more than 30 different museums in the city.

- Mauritshuis - The Mauritshuis is an art museum that features works from many of the great artists from The Netherlands, including Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer.

- Louwman Museum - The Louwman is a museum dedicated to vehicles as they have existed throughout the ages, including cars and more unique artifacts.

- Museum Meermanno - The museum offers a selection of unique and diverse artifacts, mostly related to the history of The Netherlands. One of the more popular exhibitions offers guests a chance to see over 200 years’ worth of Dutch comics.

- Madurodam - A popular visitor attraction, the Madurodam features a miniature city for guests to explore.

Another favorite of tourists visiting The Hague is the amusement park, Duinrell, which is a great, family friendly experience with rides, food, and other attractions.

Special Events

While visiting The Hague in April, guests can participate in King’s Day. Celebrated with a variety of street markets and fairs (the day has been labeled a “free market,” which means vendors can sell in the streets without a license), King’s Day is a national holiday and the events attract thousands of visitors annually.

The third Thursday in September is Prince’s Day, which is when the Dutch Parliament opens. This royal event is fun even for children, who get the day off of school to watch the King’s golden coach approach before he reads the Speech from the Throne.

November brings with it the Crossing Border Festival, a lively festival that has been going since 1993 and focuses on outdoor events full of both music and literature. With an attempt to bring in as many new acts as popular, especially those from the local area, the festival is supported financially by the city’s government.

Dining and Shopping

The Hague is well known for its diverse culinary options. Stop at Grote Market Square or the Plein Market for a variety of options. Shopping can be done in one of the many different shopping districts in The Hague. The best shopping can be found at the Spuistraat and the Vlamingstraat, which offers many different types of shops (including fashion, designer goods, etc). Shoes can be purchased at the Hofkwartier.

More Places to Visit in the Netherlands