Attractions in The Hague, Holland

Travel to the Hague with Stena Line from Harwich

art in the hague
For art lovers

Despite its diminutive size, The Hague is a treasure trove for art lovers. The Mauritshuis is one of the world's finest collections of Dutch Masters artworks, housed in an elegant 17th century mansion overlooking the Hofviijver pond. Newly expanded, the museum houses Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring", Fabritius' "The Goldfinch" and several pieces by Rembrandt.

Don't miss the Bredius Museum, the private collection of a former Mauritshuis curator, Abraham Bredius. Located in a beautifully restored 18th century mansion facing the Hofvijver, the collection includes paintings by Rembrandt, Jan Steen and Aert van der Neer in addition to priceless etchings, porcelain and silver. Follow the long Nordeinde street to the Panorama Mesdag, a 120 metre-long, 360-degree painting of the North Sea coast created in 1881, which lines the inside wall of a custom-built circular building.

Contemporary art lovers will marvel at the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum), which boasts the world's most comprehensive collection of Piet Mondrian works, and at Escher in Het Paleis, the M.C. Escher museum located in the Lange Voorhout Palace which holds originals of the celebrated graphic artist's works including 'Belvédère', 'Ascending and Descending' and 'Day and Night'.

surfing in holland
For families and outdoorsy types

Scheveningen is packed with activities from bungee jumping off the pier to biking in the dunes. It's also the best surfing spot in the Netherlands and home to F.A.S.T. (Free Architecture Surf Terrain), a surfers village and beach hostel.

Built from shipping containers, it offers surfing lessons, a restaurant and bar as well as accommodation. The Hague's second seaside resort, Kijkduin, offers a quieter beach scene: with a broad sandy beach running gently into the sea, child-friendly activities and hotels, it's ideal for families.

Five buildings for architecture buffs

1. The Vredespaleis (Freedom Palace) was built in 1913 with a donation from the American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. It's home to several international judicial institutions, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) or World Court, the renowned Peace Palace Library and Hague Academy of International Law.

2. The Hague's striking new Stadhuis (City Hall) was designed in 1986 by American architect Richard Meier. Flanked by two large buildings linked by a pair of air bridges, the central atrium houses exhibits on municipal topics. The white building was intended to be known as the White Swan but locals have gone for the less glamorous Ice Palace (IJs Paleis).

3. Huis ten Bosch Palace dates back to 1645 and has served alternatively as a mausoleum, summer palace and host of the First World Peace Conference in 1899. Today's it's a residential palace for the Dutch royal family.

4. Standing at 132 metres (433 ft), The Hague Tower is the city’s second tallest building, known to locals as Het Strijkijzer (the flatiron) for its shape. Whizz up 41 floors in a glass elevator for sweeping views afforded from the informal Veranda Café's roof garden or from the sleek Penthouse Restaurant & Sky Bar on the 42nd floor.

5. The sumptuous Hotel des Indes is The Hague's most iconic hotel. Originally built as a palace on the Lange Voorhout in 1858, it has welcomed the world's rich, famous and powerful to its lavish rooms for over 130 years.

For music & culture buffs

The Hague has a diverse music scene with summer festivals ranging from the low-key Jazz in de Gracht festival to Parkpop, the world's largest free pop festival.

The Nederlands Dans Theater (Netherlands Dance Theatre) is based in The Hague, performing modern dance at the highest level.

Five off the beaten track attractions

1. Sample and buy jenever (gin) and liqueurs crafted in The Hague's oldest distillery, Van Kleef, according to traditional recipes dating back to 1842.

2. Located 10 minutes' drive from the centre of The Hague, the Louwman Museum is widely regarded as one of the world’s finest collections of historic automobiles. Assembled by two generations of the Louwman family since 1934, the museum houses 230 antique and classic cars.

3. Indulge your inner ghoul at the Museum de Gevangenpoort (Prison Gate Museum). Built in 1370 as an entrance gate to the Binnenhof, the Gevangenpoort was converted into a prison in 1420 and into a museum in 1853. Today, you can wince at the collection of torture instruments and get locked inside an original medieval cell.

4. Hugely popular with children, Madurodam is an interactive, open-air park of miniature Dutch cities, towns, harbours, windmills and dykes all modeled with astonishing accuracy to a scale of 1:25.

5. Set on a picturesque canal in the market village of Loosduinen, the Loosduinen Museum is a 19th century windmill-powered flour mill and granary, which informs visitors about local history and making bread. 

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