Fun things to do in The Hague

  • Binnenhof and Hofvijver (and seagulls!)
    Binnenhof and Hofvijver (and seagulls!)
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  • Flags blow by the Hofvijver
    Flags blow by the Hofvijver
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  • Jantje 2
    Jantje 2
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Most Viewed Things to Do in The Hague

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    Film Huis Den Haag - Alternative movies

    by rsilva Written Mar 27, 2005

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    If you are looking for more that the latest American blockbuster, this is the place for you.
    Here you will find all kinds of alternative movies from all countries (all in original language with Dutch subiles) - Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, etc, etc. There are over 10 different films showing every day and the programme changes daily. Take a look at the website for programming information.

    There is also a very cosy cafe inside and a restaurant as well (I've never eaten there).

    This is a great spot for spending an evening (or afternoon, for that matter).

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    Lange Voorhout

    by nicolaitan Updated Oct 25, 2013

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    One of the most beautiful and peaceful promenades perhaps in all of Europe is the tree-lined promenade just one block from the Hofvijver, with an illustrious history dating back to a Dominican monastery in the early 1400's. The four rows of magnificent lime trees were planted in 1536 on the order of HRE Charles V. The stately townhouses were largely built in the 18th C.
    It was renamed Cour Napoleon during the early 19th C under napoleonic rule. After the ouster, the street became known for its homosexual population and the sex trade.

    Gentrification began in the early 20th C with the opening of museums and the iconic Hotel des Indes. Today this lovely street is home to banks, museums ( see Escher museum below ), the hotel, and a number of embassies including the American, Swiss, Spanish, and British. The wide walkway with benches and LED lamps (image 3) with golden crowns ( this is the route taken by the reigning monarch for the annual State of the Country speech each September ) is about as pretty as it gets. The beautiful townhouses add to the regal atmosphere.

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    Palace Noordeinde

    by MATIM Written Feb 7, 2008

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    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.

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    the town hall

    by MATIM Written Feb 7, 2008

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    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.

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    Ridderzaal Knights hall

    by MATIM Written Feb 7, 2008

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    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.

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    Escher museum

    by MATIM Written Feb 7, 2008

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    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.

    The Artist
    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.



    Famous works
    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.

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    Lange Voorhout Palace

    by nicolaitan Written Oct 27, 2013

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    At the head of the Lange Voorhout stands the eponymous palace, now home to the MC Escher Museum, built in the 1700's. Owned by a banker, the first royalty to occupy was Emperor Napoleon in 1811. Queen Emma bought the palace in 1896 and used it as a winter palace till her death in 1934. Three later queens - Wilhelmina, Beatrix, and Juliana - used the palace for formal receptions until 1984. The palace was opened to the public some years later and has been occupied by the museum opened on 15 November 2002 and featuring the works of the renowned graphic artist in a regal setting.

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    De Plaats - More Cafés and Johan de Witt

    by Airpunk Written Sep 13, 2005

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    De Plaats is a square in the city cneter, near the Buitenhof/Binnenhof and the Hofvijver. It as a place surrounded by small shops and cafés. The most remarkable sculpture in this place is the one of Johan de Witt, one of the most importnat statesmen in dutch history. He was killed in 1672 by a mob after power conflicts with the royals. The monument marks the place where he was killed.

    de Witt monument in den Haag
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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    Binnenhof

    by nicolaitan Written Oct 20, 2013

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    The Inner Court is a complex of buildings at the city center comprised of the Knight's Hall and surrounded by classic buildings housing the two houses of the Dutch Parliament, the offices of the Prime Minister, and the Dutch Cabinet. In 1229, Count Floris IV purchased land next to a small pond for a hunting lodge, later expended to a classic castle by his son and grandson William II and Floris V. It fell into disrepair during the French occupation, but was restored after the end of Napoleonic rule and again became the seat of government. In the past the most exciting events here were executions but today the most important function occurs on the third Thursday of September when the Dutch head of state presents the (Speech from the Throne) outlining government planning for the coming year.

    Entrance is free, but tours of the buiildings are best by reservation in advance and at often inconvenient hours. No access to the buildings is permitted when the government is in session.

    Entrance to the Binnenhof The Offices of the Binnenhof

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    Features of the Binnenhof

    by nicolaitan Written Oct 20, 2013

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    The Knight's Hall (Riddenzaal) is the centerpiece of the courtyard, dating to the 1250's in the Gothic style. It has been renovated and restored many times over the centuries but always remaining true to the original style. Measuring 40x20 yards it was one of the largest buildings of its time with a stained rose window featuring the coat of arms of noble Dutch families. The original use was as a dining hall, used at times by the Order of the Golden Fleece. At various times it has served as a hospital, court, prison prior to executions, and even the offices of the state lottery. The annual speech by the reigning monarch is September is given from a throne within the main room.

    At the entrance to the Binnenhof is one of the very few equestrian statues in the Netherlands, William II. And fronting the Ridderzaal is a beautiful gilt Gothic fountain about which little information is available

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    Hofvijver, the Pool at the Binnenhof

    by nicolaitan Written Oct 20, 2013

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    The land selected by Count Floris for the site of his hunting lodge bordered what is considered the most famous pool in The Netherlands, separating at least in part the Binnenhof from the surrounding city. It originally was a wide spot in a pre-existing creek and became part of a moat around the palace. The rectangular shape was created on order of a 15C count. An original island is gone, replaced by the current island 300 years ago with an adjacent fountain illuminated at night. The moat has long since been filled in. Needless to say, the island is symbolic and has been occupied at times by protestors of various sorts, but access to the main building has been precluded since 2004 by construction of an underwater fence.

    On the far side and at the adjoining square multiple statues feature important figures in Dutch history perhaps not well known outside The Netherlands. Imaged is Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547-1619), a prominent politician and strong supporter of religious freedom and tolerance who was beheaded at age 71 for his public opposition to the dominant anti-Catholic ruling forces. His last words - keep it short, keep it short. His understandably dour contenance is easily seen across the pond from the offices of the Prime Minister.

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    Noordeinde Palace and Gardens

    by nicolaitan Written Nov 3, 2013

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    The Noordeinde Palace is one of three palaces used by the royal family and currently is the preferred palace of King Willem-Alexander. Originally a farmhouse dating from the 15th C, it has been enlarged, renovated, and repaired many times over the centuries and is now an H shaped building with a facade facing the city and the second facing the palace gardens.

    The palace was first purchased for the use of Louise de Coligny, the widow of William of Orange, and her son Prince Frederik Hendrik in the late 16th C and gifted to them in 1609. The royals moved in and out over the next few centuries, used extensively by King Willem III and Queen Emma in the 19th C but much less used by others. Following a total renovation in 1984 it has been continuously used as the " office " of the monarch.

    The palace is closed to the public and it is a long way around to see both facades. The rear of the building faces the Paleistuin, the palace gardens. It is open to the public except when royal esidence or state business issues intervene. Prince Frederik Henrik landscaped the gardens for his mother in the early 17thC with flowerbeds, fountains and ponds, and statues. It became the property of the city of The Hague in the twentieth Century.

    Like the palace, the garden offered less than we might have hoped for - not so many palaces, not obviously well tended, no ponds and fountains visible - perhaps we took the wrong path or didn't know where to look.

    Royal Palace Palace Garden Entry

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    Chandeliers of the Escher Museum

    by nicolaitan Updated Nov 1, 2013

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    An unexpected highlight of the Escher Museum is the 15 chandeliers created by the ceramic and glass artist Hans Van Bentem from Rotterdam and placed in 2003. The inspiration came from the figures used by Escher in his artwork. Figures include sharks, spiders, birds, pipes, and a star shaped chandelier in the main ballroom reflected endlessly in two mirrors (click on and enlarge image 3 ). Others include a trophy, an umbrella, and a seahorse.

    Rain Clouds Artist's Palette in the Foyer Star in the Ballroom Trophy

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    Modern Architecture in Den Haag

    by Airpunk Written Sep 14, 2005

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    East to the central train station you can find some modern buildings making you feel that you are in some part of Rotterdam. The buildings are usde for different purposes, mostly business, living or governmental purposes. Among them is the ministry of foreign affairs which is shown on the picture. The dutch flag is set on half-mast because it was shortly after the death of Wim Duisenberg.

    Ministry of foreign affairs
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    No ordenary rose: Westbroekpark

    by dutchboycalledjan Written Sep 19, 2005

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    Westbroekpark is one of the best parks in The Hague. The main attraction are their rose gardens that feature a contest every year. This is an international contest and some of the loveliest rosen bloom in large beds. The parks also has fine grass, a place for children to play, a restaurant and, its best kept secret, a lovely tea house. The tea house serves very good coffee, tea and drinks and buys its bakery from the best patiseries in The Hague. Here you can also rent a rowing boat (one has been called 'Titanic').
    The park has been landscaped on a terrain were there used to be dunes. The sand was used for building purposes. The ground is very level, just above the ground water level. This is ideal for many plants, like roses. Also, as it is fairly deep and steep to the North West and open to the south, there is not much windand a lot of sunshine.

    The rose garden, as promissed The tea house and the boats

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