Spent an afternoon just exploring the city, spent time at the Maritshuis and enjoyed the fountains, paid a visit to Palaistuin, lunch in Grote Markt, sheltered from the rain under trees on Plein 1813 and then a walk through Chinatown.
One thing you should do in Den Haag is visit the Escher museum. His drawings and graphic prints are quite amazing; the museum also was once ownded by the royal family. The artworks as well as the rooms are well described; in the upper floor there is some explanation about the techniques and ideas, and some do-it-yourself-stuff to experiment.
Admission is 7,50€, but if you grab one of those discount cards they have in a lot of places, you can get 1€ off.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
The downtown shopping area was much less crowded and lively than Amsterdam (I seriously doubt I'll find any city that could compete), but it was nice enough. The Hague also has what was once the country's first covered shopping mall.
The Binnenhof is a collection of buildings.
It has been the location of meetings of the Staten-Generaal (the Dutch parliament).
The grounds on which the Binnenhof now stands was purchased by Count Floris IV of Holland in 1229, where he built his mansion. More buildings were constructed around the court, several of which are well known in their own right, such as the Ridderzaal (great hall; literally Knight's Hall) (pictured), where the queen holds her annual speech at Prinsjesdag.
Where can you see water flowing uphill? Where do birds transmogrify into fish and drawings of reptiles crawl right off the page, over the objects on the artist's desk and back onto the paper again? Where does the shadow of a dog turn into a dog in its own right? And where can a mother make herself smaller than her own seven-year-old child? All these wonders can be witnessed at Escher in Het Paleis on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague. This new centre houses a huge collection of prints and drawings by the world-famous Dutch artist M. C. Escher, plus fascinating explanatory programmes and a host of old family photos, drawings and design sketches that help to bring Escher's work even more vividly to life.
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) was born in Leeuwarden. In 1919, he enrolled at the then renowned Haarlem School of Architecture and Ornamental Design. Influenced by his tutor Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, himself a great graphic artist, Escher soon started to make lino prints and woodcuts. After his training, he embarked on the traditional artistic grand tour of Italy and Spain. There, he made landscape and architectural drawings from which he would continue to draw inspiration all his life. During trips to Spain, he visited Granada and Córdoba, where he was fascinated by the Moorish buildings and mosaics.
Escher in Het Paleis is certainly the place to see the originals of famous works like Belvédère, Ascending and Descending, Day and Night and parts of the Metamorphosis series. But don't miss the other interesting exhibits, like the less well-known bookplates, wrapping paper designs for major stores, a New Years greeting from friends and early self-portraits.
Without doubt, the most striking building on Binnenhof is the Knights' Hall, built in the 13th and 14th centuries as the castle for the Earls of Holland. The Main Hall, which has been called the Knights' Hall since the 19th century, dates from the second half of the 13th century. The famous wooden covering was demolished in 1861, however, less than forty years later it was replaced by an exact copy. Since 1904 the Knights' Hall has been the setting for the reading of the Queen's speech at the annual opening of Parliament. In her speech, the Queen announces the government's plans for the coming year to the parliament and to the Dutch people.
From the Middle Ages The Hague has consisted of two parts, each with a character all of its own: the earl's Court with the prosperous areas around Hofvijver and Lange Voorhout, and the village of Die Haeghe, around the Grote Kerk and the town hall, where the commoners lived. The town hall, built on the cellars of the medieval Hof van Brederode, is one of the first examples of the Renaissance in the north of Holland. The richly decorated facade features the maxim: 'Ne Jupiter Quidem Omnibus' - even Jupiter cannot please everyone. The sculptures above the middle represent Justice and Caution, with the stork of The Hague and a Latin maxim which, freely translated, means 'one man's fault is another man's lesson'. The building was restored between 1968 and 1975 and a council chamber was added. These days the former town hall is only used for marrying people.
Noordeinde Palace has always been the residence of the reigning Stadtholder or monarch. The first inhabitant was Louise de Coligny, the last wife of William the Silent. In the 17th century, Frederik Hendrik and Amalia van Solms had the Huis ten Bosch Palace built. Both palaces were in use until the beginning of the French rule, but from that time until World War II only Noordeinde Palace was used as a residence. During World War II Queen Wilhelmina lived in England. The palace was slightly damaged during the war.
After Queen Wilhelmina's return she lived in a number of villas in Nieuwe Parklaan. Her daughter, Queen Juliana, never lived in Noordeinde Palace. Until 1977 the palace housed the Institute of Social Studies, but after drastic renovations Queen Beatrix chose to use this palace as her place of work in 1984. Left of Noordeinde Palace is number 66, the house where Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Máxima Zorreguieta lived before estate 'De Horsten' became their residence.
Het Binnenhof, buildings of Parliament, has always been the centre of politics in the Netherlands. The buildings themselves well worth seeing, but it was here that the most important events in Dutch history took place.
This museum goes through the life of M.C. Escher through his artwork. It is located in the Lange Voorhout Palace, a mansion from the 1700's. As a big fan of Escher's it was great to get some context into his work. Prints as well as actual cutouts of his work are displayed. There is a lot to see here, so give yourself at least 1 1/2 hours. If you are a fan, I'd plan some more time. The tour completes with a 3D virtual reality tour into Escher's artwork. I would say that this is one of the highlights of The Hague.
The Grenadierspoort or Grenadier's Gate,
was built in 1634, and is situated diagonally
opposite the Mauritshuis, and is the main
entrance to the Binnenhof.
The Ministry of Public Affairs, address at
Binnenhof 18-19, has its offices in the
Binnenhof, along the Hofvijver (Court Pond)
behind Grenadiers's Gate on the right.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A large part of this section, in Neo-Renaissance style, dates from 1913
but some parts are older, such as the famous Treveszaal (Treves Hall),
dating from 1697 in Louis XIV style and the octagonal, 15th century turret
at the corner of the Hofvijver, where the Prime Minister has his office.
This is anothr "must to see"
when visiting in Den Haag.
We highly recommend that
you not miss it.
The Binnenhof is a collection
of very old historical buildings
in the Hague that has survived
over many centuries.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It has been the location of meetings of the Staten Generaal,
the Dutch Parliament since 1446, and has been the centre of
Dutch politics for centuries.
The grounds on which the Binnenhof now stands was purchased
by Count Floris IV of Holland in 1229, where he built his mansion.
More buildings were constructed around the court, several of which
are well known in their own right, such as the Ridderzaal, the great
hall or Knights Hall, where the queen holds her annual speech.
One of the towers, simply known as het Torentje, the small tower,
has been the working space of the Prime minister of the Netherlands
This is also the site where statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt
was executed in 1619.
This complex housed the local government as early as the 15th century.
In 1585, it became the seat of the States General of the Republic of the
Seven United Netherlands ......
Galerij prins Willem V
(Prince William V Gallery)
All the walls in the space are
covered from floor to ceiling with
paintings from the collection of
Prince Willem V.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
His private collection formed the basis of the present collection of
the Mauritshuis and represents the Dutch Golden Age in painting.
This is another "must to see", mainly because the Galerij was in
fact the first museum in the Netherlands ......
The Galerij also gives expression to the royal history of The Hague
It is practically the archaeological foundation of the long running
Dutch tradition of private project development.
The Galerij of Prince Willem V is of great importance for museological
history as well, from the 18th century on, the collection has been open
to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Binnenhof (‘Inner Court’) is the seat of the Dutch government. There have been government buildings at this location since the 13th century. It used to be the residence of the Counts of Holland, and today it is home to the Parliament.
Some history about The Binnenhof:
In the 17th century when The Hague was government center (and there for capital) of the Republic, the walls were replaced by buildings. A Palace for the Prince of Orange, who was the Stadhouder (militairy commander and head of state), and official buildings for the Governments of Holland and the Republic.
Unlike most of todays Republics the Netherlands had a Prince (the Orange family) as head of state (called Stadhouder ["Steward"] ). There were no elections by the people but the real power was in the hands of the Cities. The richer the city, the more power. The Hague was not a city itself, because the old and mighty cities of the Country prevented it from becoming one (until 1806), so The Hague wasn't allowed to build citywalls and towers until the 17th century. And when The Hague finally got permission to build walls in the 16th century it decided to build a cityhall instead and 50 years later, when Prince Maurits of Orange urged The Hague to build walls there was no money.
So the only walls had been around the castle. The Hague's local government did not have a vote in the Government of Holland. Dordrecht, Amsterdam, Leiden, Delft and Gouda (to name a few) did.
Today, when we mention the "Binnenhof" we mean the governmentcenter of the country, including the Buitenhof, courtpond (a former dune lake), the Prisongate and all other gates and buildings around the Binnenhof.
First thing to do is going to a Tourist Information center. They can help you with everything you want to know about The Hague. For example:
• information about transport and accommodation
• reservations for hotels and guesthouses
• cheap packages
• theatre and concerts tickets
• discount tickets to Madurodam, Duinrell, National Sea Life, and much more
• unique gifts
• day trips
• city walks
• tickets for public transport
• telephone cards
The Hague Tourist Information Office
Den Haag Marketing
Address: Koningin Julianaplein 30
2595 AA Den Haag
Phone: (+31) (0)70 363 56 76
Fax: (+31) (0)70 347 21 02
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