Best things to do in The Hague
Find out more about those top places in The Hague
Best known today as the seat of the International Court of Justice, there is a lot more to The Hague than bureaucrats and business. While the city lacks the grandeur of Amsterdam’s canals, the stately homes that line The Hague’s canals exude a peculiarly English sense of stern simplicity. Despite this, The Hague is one of the Netherlands hidden gems, as it offers a dazzling array of world-class museums and an exuberant nightlife scene trumped only by Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The Mauritshuis houses a spectacular collection with works from Dutch masters Rembrandt and Vermeer. What is more, the charming streets of The Hague’s old town are lined with everything from pavement cafés and Michelin starred restaurants to clubs pumping out some of Europe’s best techno music.
The former home of the sugar baron Johan Maurits is now the world-famous Mauritshuis Museum. Housing a breathtaking collection of Dutch and Flemish art, the museum’s highlights include Vermeer’s iconic Girl with a Pear Earring (1665) and Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp (1632). For the best experience, take a guided tour of this treasure trove of Golden Age art.
Housed in what was once the Dutch royal family’s grandiose palace, Escher in Het Palais is a renowned exhibition on the famed graphic artist M.C. Escher. Featuring original woodcutting, lithograph prints, paintings and personal items, including one-of-a-kind photographs and letters, the exhibition is one of the Netherlands finest.
The Hague is undoubtedly best known as the home of the United Nation’s International Court of Justice and at the Peace Palace, known in Dutch as the Vredespaleis, you can get a sense of the institution’s weighty history. Tours are by appointment only and highlight the history of the Peace Palace building alongside landmark cases prosecuted in the Court of Justice.
One of the world’s most unusual work of art is housed in the unforgettable Panorama Mesdag. Surrounding a Victorian bandstand is the 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference painting by Willem Mesdag, known as Panorama (1881). Encompassing fishing villages, the great expanses of the North Sea and vast sand dunes, the painting is a highlight of any trip to The Hague.
Likely the most historic location in the Netherlands, the 13th century Binnenhof is home to both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Dutch government. Guided tours of the complex are organized solely by ProDemos and take you on a tour through its rich history.
For visitors who want to see all the Netherlands attractions but do not have the time, head to the Madurodam where the entire country is displayed, albeit in miniature form. In the outdoor museum you can marvel at the dykes of the Delta, the futuristic skyline of über-cool Rotterdam and vast tulip fields all on a scale of 1:25.
Housed in a breathtaking art deco building, the Geemeentemuseum is one of the Netherlands premier venues for modern art. Best known for its remarkable De Stijl exhibition, which contains a number of excellent works by Mondrian, the museum also has a rotating collection that showcases works by Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Picasso and others.