The administrative center of the Netherlands – The Hague – combines the restraint of continental architecture, an abundance of palaces and museums, the natural beauty of the dunes and beaches. City halls are closely intertwined with shopping arcades, souvenir shops “crash” into the North Sea, and representatives of the authorities and mothers with children slowly stroll along the local Red Light District. In this city, everyone will find entertainment according to their interests.
An interesting architectural landmark is Binnenhof Castle. It is a complex of buildings in the Gothic style, in which the Dutch Parliament, the residence of the Prime Minister are located, several museums are open to the public, including the famous Mauritshuis. Next to it stands the building of the Tribunal Ridderhall – an architectural monument built in the 13th century. A little further on, the Gevangport Torture Museum is open. The building it occupies was built in the 13th century and frightens tourists with its gloomy history. From the 15th to the 18th century, prisoners were kept here, the medieval Inquisition conducted its investigation.
The Peace Palace is the official residence of the UN, built in 1907 by American businessman Andrew Carnegie. The facade of the building is finished with granite, brick and sandstone, and the architecture is a mixture of Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic styles. The building is even more interesting from the inside: the interior is made up of art donated by countries that participated in the Hague peace conferences, and reflects the diversity of world culture. Since 1999, the Museum of the History and Activities of the United Nations has been opened in the Palace.
Entire streets of the city have been turned into cultural heritage sites. For example, Lange Voorhout is a colorful Hague alley planted with poplars and elms, which has collected a number of interesting objects. Here stands the Monastery Church of the 15th century, which was “degraded” to the stables, but then returned to its official status. Next to it is the former building of the Red Cross (17th century), a little further – Des Indes Hotel, one of the oldest in The Hague. At one time, Nicholas II stayed here. But the most striking attraction of the alley is the Escher Museum.
Madurodam Miniature Park is a Dutch Lilliputian city built with impeccable care and precision. Tiny buildings repeat the architecture of famous sights, dwarf trees grow between houses and monuments. The miniatures are not only realistic, they move. Small cars drive along the highways, small Schiphol receives planes, trains run along the railways.
Another pride of The Hague is Plain Square, the cultural center of the old city. It was founded in 1632 and is now surrounded by openwork mansions of the 19th century. There are several cozy cafes, in one of which you can meet the Prime Minister.
Museums in The Hague
The Hague is a city of museums, more than 10 expositions are constantly presented here. First, we recommend going to Museon – this is the best place to get acquainted with the culture of Holland and the history of the city. The expositions are educational and introductory in nature, but the information is presented in a lively and exciting way.
The second most visited is the Municipal Museum of The Hague, considered the leading exhibition of decorative arts in the country. It contains Dutch paintings by masters of the 19th and 20th centuries and presents a complete collection of paintings by Piet Mondrian, the father of abstract painting in the Netherlands.
The Escher Museum, which is entirely dedicated to the life and work of Escher Maurits, also offers to join the beauty. The ground floor contains early work, the second floor features iconic creations and sketches, and the third floor features interactive entertainment. For example, a documentary about an artist is being broadcast.
Two more highlights are connected to the Scheveningen beach. The first is the Panorama Mesdag, the pride of the Dutch. In the building at Zeestraat 65, 2518 AA, there is a 14-meter-long cylindrical painting 120 meters long, allowing visitors to see Scheveningen as it was 100 years ago. Old views of the coast, snapshots of nature, exhibitions of costumes are created for nostalgia for the past. The second unusual object is the Sea Sculpture Museum (Beelden aan Zee), built right on the coast. It contains exhibits of Dutch and foreign authors, the exposition is updated several times a year. But tourists are attracted by the location of the building itself: it is hidden in the dunes, and most of the floors are underground. Despite the fact that signs lead to the museum, it is not easy to find it among the endless sands.
Mauritshuis is the most famous and visited art gallery in the city, reopened after restoration in 2014. It is located in the palace of the governor of Dutch Brazil, the building was later bought by royal servants to store paintings by Dutch artists. Works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Brueghel are exhibited in a modern composition. But the main pride of the museum: the painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, painted by Jan Vermeer in 1665.
Monuments of The Hague
Walking along the spacious streets of The Hague, you can see interesting monuments, art objects and installations. The most famous is the Stalin Monument, a conceptual bust of the great leader, originally installed in the Red Light District. But due to the constant attacks of vandals, the city authorities moved the sculpture to the historical center.
The attention of travelers is attracted by the statue of the equestrian Wilhelm the Silent, one of the leaders of the Bourgeois Revolution. The statue of Queen Wilhelmina, installed in the garden at Noordeinde, was made in a peculiar manner. On Plaats Square there is a pompous monument to Jan de Witt, a prominent Dutch politician with a tragic fate.
There are also many modern installations in the city that do not have a name and make you think about what the sculptor wanted to convey with his work.
Holidays and events
At the end of April, King’s Day takes place in The Hague, preceded by the Royal Night. These are mass festivities, spontaneous processions and performances of musicians are organized on the streets, squares turn into an endless bazaar: according to tradition, on this day everyone can sell things they don’t need.
From March to June, the Netherlands, and The Hague in particular, are filled with millions of tourists: the fields of tulips bloom.
The third peak occurs at the beginning of August, when the cold North Sea warms up to a comfortable temperature, and the city’s beaches come to life. In addition, a colorful fireworks festival takes place this month. Interesting events are also held in The Hague in winter: for example, on January 1, more than 10,000 “walruses” come to Scheveningen beach, wanting to plunge into the icy sea.
The weather in The Hague is windy, rainy and unpredictable, as if eternal autumn reigned here. There is no sweltering heat in summer, and severe cold in winter, snow rarely falls, but the sun peeps out only 3-4 hours a day. Therefore, tourists often come here in spring and summer, when the city is filled with floral aromas, and piercing winds stop blowing from the coast. See citypopulationreview for weather in the capital of Netherlands.