When you’re planning your roundtrip through The Netherlands, you’ll probably want to visit the coastal city The Hague. But what is The Hague actually famous for?
The Hague is famous as the International City of Peace and Justice. Also, The Hague is the government city of The Netherlands, and it’s the city where the Dutch Royal Family lives. The city is one of the most multicultural cities in The Netherlands. The famous city highlights are the historical center, renowned museums, and Scheveningen Beach.
We lived in and near The Hague almost all our lives. When we’re not traveling around the world, we’re always staying close to The Hague. So let us tell you more about the city which we still call home today!
Famous Highlights of The Hague
In the next part of this article, we will tell you about the famous highlights of The Hague. Also, some history regarding these highlights. Later we will tell you about the best time to visit The Hague, and where we recommend you to stay while visiting the city.
The historical center of The Hague is not too big. The Hague is the third-largest city of The Netherlands. However, you can walk around the historical center in approximately 2 to 3 hours. Depending on where you’re stopping. Some of the highlights you don’t want to miss in the city are
This unique square is where the Dutch government resides. Located in the heart of the city center. Back in the day, Binnenhof was only reachable via a bridge over its surrounding canals. Today most of the canals are dried and turned into roads, which makes the city more accessible. Nowadays Binnenhof has only a small pond on the side, which is known as Hofvijver.
Binnenhof is open to the public. You can walk around free of charge and enjoy the unique parliament building. Until the early 19080s, it was even possible to drive around Binnenhof by car. However, they decided to close this access regarding safety.
The Binnenhof is one of the oldest parliament buildings in the world, which is still in active use. History dates back to the 13th century. Today it still houses the States Generals of The Netherlands, Ministry of General Affairs, and the office of the Prime Minister.
The main building on the square, which is a former castle, is only used for ceremonial events. The most famous event is during the opening of the new parliament year, where the King reads its annual speech. The opening of the parliament year is called Prinsjesdag and is annually on the third Tuesday of September. During this day, it is not possible to visit Binnenhof.
Het Plein (Central Square)
The square is an entrance to Binnenhof. Centrally located. It used to be a place where the governors gathered to speak to the public. Today it is one of the most famous squares in the city where you’ll find many pubs and restaurants.
Known as one of the most beautiful streets in The Netherlands. You’ll find Lange Voorhout close to Binnenhof, in the historical center of The Hague. The street is L-shaped, and around 500 meters long. A few of the most notable historic buildings found on Lange Voorhout.
Monastery Church (KloosterKerk)
The Church has an interesting history. Built-in 1393, and over time it had several functions, not only as a church. At one point, around 1588, the Church was even used as a cannon foundry. You can still find some remains of that period.
You can visit the Church between Tuesday and Saturday from May until September
Located next to the Monastery Church, you’ll find the building Pageshuis. Pages were boys that studied to be a squire. The building dates back to 1625. Today it is used as an office. During the annual event in September, Monumentsday (Dutch Heritage Day), it is open for a visit.
However, the building is also interesting to walk by and enjoy the beautiful facade. Pageshuis is the only building in The Hague that still has its original stepped gable. Also, it was one of the last buildings from that period where they used wooden beams to build the roof — the same materials they used to build maritime ships. The roof construction of Pageshuis is still in its original state.
On the opposite side of Pageshuis, across the street, you’ll find the unique Theater Diligentia. Since 1805 this building functions as a theater. Today it is one of the most beloved theaters in The Netherlands.
Former Royal Palace
The former Royal Palace is now a unique museum which is worth a visit. From the early 1900s until around 1991, the Dutch Royal Family used this palace. In 1991 the former Dutch Queen, now Princess Beatrix, decided to use a different palace and sold this palace to the municipality of The Hague. They changed it into a museum and used the building for various exhibitions. For a few years, it is the location of the permanent exhibition of Escher in The Palace. A museum dedicated to the works of M.C. Escher.
Lange Voorhout is a street, characterized by large trees and a big pedestrian area in the middle of the road, which was the entrance lane to the former Royal Castle.
The Hague Canals
The Hague is a city very close located to the north-Sea, and also one of the most important rivers that connect Amsterdam and The Hague by water. Before the government drained the different canals in the city to create a road network, the canal belt of The Hague was even more extensive than in Amsterdam. Today it is still possible to go around the city via a small canal network. It will take you up around 1.5 hours, a unique way to learn more about the city. Make sure to book a trip via Boat Tour The Hague.
Royal Palace Noordeinde
The working Palace of the Dutch King and Queen is Noordeinde Palace. You’ll find the palace in the heart of the city center, and it is unique to walk along Noordeinde street and pass the famous palace. The Royal Family uses the palace during ceremonial events. The palace is open once a year for the public. However, it is tough to get tickets because this event is top-rated and sells out fast.
Royal Palace Gardens
The backyard of Noordeinde Palace is, for a large part, open to the public. The Royal Palace Gardens is a popular city park in The Hague, where locals relax during summer days. A great place to enjoy local city life!
Royal Palace Huis ten Bosch
The official residence of the King and his family is Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. The palace is part of a large city park. The park, Haagse Bos (The Hague Forest Park), is open for everyone. However, the palace is not open for a visit.
City Park ZuiderPark
The largest city park of The Hague is excellent for a visit. Especially during the summer months. You’ll find many locals enjoying the park, having a barbecue, doing some sports with friends. Zuiderpark is also the location of many cultural (music) events throughout the summer. The most famous event is Parkpop. Parkpop is an annual music-event and the largest free of charge event in Europe.
The most famous beach in The Netherlands is Scheveningen Beach. Scheveningen is an old Fishermans village in the city of The Hague, 15 minutes from the city center.
Scheveningen is unique for a visit, year-round there are great things to do. However, during the summer months, you’ll have the best time. You can enjoy one of the many beach activities like kite- and windsurfing. Or spend a night at one of the many beach clubs along the beach.
The Pier in Scheveningen is famous for its history, and today as a food hall where you can enjoy some unique local cuisine. And for the daredevils among us, they also offer a bungee-jump from the pier, and if you’re lucky, you’ll dip in the sea! 😉
Where Scheveningen Beach is the best place to enjoy one of the many beach activities, the best place to enjoy the local cuisine is at Scheveningen Harbour. Located next to the beach area, you’ll find many restaurants and bars, where you can enjoy some unique local cuisine.
When you’re visiting Scheveningen, make sure to visit the old village and walk around the streets Keizerstraat and Badhuisstraat, where you can enjoy the unique history of the old fisherman’s village. Stop for a coffee at TigerShark Coffee in Badhuisstraat. A local coffee shop, where you’ll find some of the best coffee’s in The Hague!
Museums The Hague
The Hague has many museums. A few museums which we recommend visiting are:
An extensive collection of the most renowned Dutch Painters. You’ll find works of Vermeer, Rembrandts, Hals, and many other Dutch masters in Mauritshuis. One of the most notable works is the famous work of Vermeer, The Girl with the Pearl Earring.
The Hague Historical Museum
When you want to learn more about the history of The Hague, the historical museum is a must-visit. The museum offers an extensive collection of historical works from the 15th century, but also modern-day paintings. Some of the most interesting works are the cityscapes, where you can learn more about the development of the city over time.
Escher in the Palace
We already told you where you could find this museum. The Former Royal Palace at Lange Voorhout is now a museum. The permanent exhibition in the museum is Escher in The Palace. Maurits Cornelis (MC) Escher is one of the most famous graphic artists in the world. He lived between 1898 and 1972. The way he plays with perspective in his works is unique. It changed and inspired many artists around the world. His works are fascinating, and the museum is a must-visit
Louwman Car Museum
When you’re into historic cars, you must visit Louwman Museum located close to The Hague. The museum shows the private collection of the Louwman family. They offer an exhibition of the timeline of cars. You’ll see the development of cars, coaches, and buses over the years. Some unique models are on display in the museum!
The Netherlands is a small country, but how fun would it be to visit a miniature version of the most important places of the country. It is possible at attraction park Madurodam. Located between the city center of The Hague and Scheveningen.
Madurodam offers a unique showcase of Dutch culture and heritage. You can learn about the most highlights in a few hours. The park is particularly fun when visiting with (young) children. The interactive exhibitions will create a great learning experience!
Multi Cultural The Hague
The Hague is the third-largest city of The Netherlands, with over 1 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. The city center itself, with over 500 thousand inhabitants, is one of the most populated regions in The Netherlands. No wonder that the city is also one of the most multicultural cities in the country.
The city is truly a melting pot of cultures. Especially in the neighborhoods surrounding the city center, you’ll find many different cultures living next to each other. The most beautiful is that they all live with peace and respect for each other. You’ll find not only different immigrants trying to build a new life in The Netherlands but also many expats working in the city. The most significant difference between these two groups is that the expats hop to a different country every year, following their work.
The Hague Cultural Festivals
Exploring the different cultures in The Hague is a unique and fun thing to do. The best way to start is at The Hague Market. The biggest open-air market in Europe. The different stands will teach you more about the different cultures represented mainly in the city.
Another great thing to do is to visit some of the cultural festivals throughout the summer period. You can find an extensive festival list at the official site of The Hague.
Some of the most notable annual cultural festivals in The Hague are;
Tong Tong Fair
A cultural festival for the Surinam/Indonesian Community, where you can find the best traditional food, music, and theater performances. The festival is formerly known as Pasar Malam.
A cultural festival at Lange Voorhout, which offers a free entrance. They show the different cultures which you’ll find in The Hague
Milan Summer Festival
An annual festival focused on the Surinam community in The Hague. The festival takes place over three days with different activities and musical performances
City of Peace and Justice
The Hague is internationally known as the city of Peace and Justice. That’s mainly the International Peace Palace, and International Criminal Court sits in the city. The International Criminal Court can prosecute individuals for international crimes against humanity or war crimes.
The Peace Palace is widely known as a beautiful monument in the city of The Hague. It is a beautiful building which you can visit with a guided tour. However, it is also the place that accommodates The International Court of Justice, Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Peace Palace Library of International Law.
Visiting the Peace Palace building is one of the most unique things to do in The Hague. The building opened in 1913 and is one of the most important justice-related buildings in the world.
Best Time to Visit The Hague
We recommend visiting The Hague between April and September. During these months you’ll probably have the best weather in The Netherlands, and also the possibility to attend the unique events like Kingsday and Liberation Day. We wrote an article about the best time to visit the Netherlands, which could be interesting for you.
The summer months in The Hague are great, where you can combine a visit to the city center, with a few beach days at Scheveningen Beach. Also between The Hague and Leiden, you’ll find Keukenhof, the world’s largest open-air garden. Keukenhof is open between April and May, and a must-visit. Read more about Keukenhof in our article
A visit to The Hague is easy to combine with a visit to some of the other Dutch cities. Leiden and Delft are closeby, and Amsterdam is only 45 minutes away by train. We wrote an article about the different cities which you might find useful. You can read more about the 26 best cities in The Netherlands
Best Places to Stay in The Hague
Staying a few nights in The Hague is a fun thing to do. Especially during the summer months, when you can enjoy the beach days until late in the evening. During the summer months, sunset in The Netherlands is around 9 PM or later, so it stays light until 10 PM.
When you stay in The Hague, we recommend staying in the city center or at Scheveningen Beach. Also, some areas between the center and Scheveningen Beach are perfect for a stay. The areas we recommend are known as Valkenboskwartier, Zeeheldenkwartier, Archipelbuurt.
We always use Booking.com when booking a place to stay. You can find our guide on how to book the best places to stay on our recommendations page.
Make sure to rent a bicycle to get around like a local!