The Court City
Continuing on to our final point of the trip in this area of the Netherlands; we arrive to the capital of South Holland, The Hague. Seat of the government of Netherlands, one of the major cities hosting the United Nations and third largest city in the country after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, it is also one of the most historical and nicest where the old and new architecture blends perfectly. You can see the historical centre surrounded in the background by an ongoing rising of towers. I can imagine how this all will look in few years time when the full projects are completed.
The city is the largest on the country’s North Sea coast and it’s the twin brother of Rotterdam at just few kilometres away. In fact, they are so close to each other that they even share the airport and a light rail system. Right by the coast you have the Scheveningen district, where to find the long beach and the longest pier in the Netherlands.
You definitely can, and should, combine both cities in your visit, and consider as we did, some other small villages and places nearby, notoriously both Delft and the windmills of Kinderdijk. Indeed, this was a fully packed weekend, non stop, but again, it was really enough time for enjoying absolutely everything without any rush but of course only manageable if you have a car as depending on public transports, although great as they are, will consume the precious time you depend on.
The size of the city makes it perfect for a day visit, but please remember, this is from my own point of view as I am very experienced in preparing and knowing what to see and do, map in hand and eagle to see more and more and any other city nearby if I get the chance. But you will see from your own eyes, once you visit the historical centre there is not much more left to see and do, so plan your time accordingly.
For more information about the city visit Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. The Netherlands currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in The Hague
- Centrum This is where the majority of the tourist attractions and historical buildings are located. The core of the Medieval town.
-Binnenhof Complex Originally a castle when built in the 13th century it houses the chambers of the Dutch Parliament and the Prime Minister’s office among other governmental buildings. Without doubt one of the main landmarks in the city. You will get the finest view from the Hofvijver lake.
-Gevangenpoort or Prison Gate was built originally as one of the main entrance gates to the complex, and turned afterwards into a prison.
-Ridderzaal Is the main building of the complex, used for state events.
-Knight’s Hall Original centerpiece of the castle.
-Medieval Courtyard Overlooking the impressive facades of the buildings around it.
-Mauritshuis Museum On a palace dating from the 17th century, hosts the Royal Picture Gallery.
-Plein This is the main central square surrounded with historical buildings and cafes. In the centre is the statue of William of Orange, founder of the Dutch nation. In the foreground the new and elegant high-rises have just been built making it a perfect combination of old and new.
-Lange Voorhout Another of the major and most beautiful squares in the city surrounded by townhouses on all sides and trees. The Dutch Supreme Court Is located on one of the sides of the square. Spring and Autumn are the most beautiful seasons to see the colours of the trees and flowers.
-Oude Stadhuis The old City Hall originally built in 15th century and expanded over times it housed the city hall office until its “recent” move in 1990 to their new place.
-Nieuwe Stadhuis Is the new City Hall. A massive building designed by American architect Richard Meier.
-Nieuwe Kerk Translated as New Church, in Baroque style and located opposite the new City Hall building.
-Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk Is another of the landmark churches in the city.
-Paleis Noordeinde The 17th century elegant white Royal Palace, office of Queen Beatrix.
-Escher in Het Paleis Former royal townhouse converted to the museum dedicated to Dutch graphic artist Escher.
- Haagse Hout Is the district to the north east of the city, and includes the financial district.
-Beatrixkwartier The financial district, located next door to Centrum. Here you will find the new shiny high-rise buildings recently completed.
-Netkous Is the tram viaduct on the form of a fishnet. Runs along the main avenue of the financial area.
-Huis ten Bosch Is a Royal Palace, one of the residences of the king of Netherlands.
- Scheveningen Is the district right by the sea side, a resort city in itself.
-Pier The largest pier in the Netherlands.
-Peace Palace Also in the area, but located more inland.
If coming by plane, your best bet would be Rotterdam airport as this is also the airport serving the city of The Hague, but consider other cities around as it might come much cheaper to fly elsewhere and taking a train for merely an hour ride to your final destination. If coming from neighbouring countries like Belgium or Germany, the fastest ways are railway and buses, and of course by car.
A light rail connects Rotterdam with the city centre of The Hague, frequently and quick. Within the city there are trams and buses, but you will not need any public transportation to do your sightseeing, everything is walking distance with nothing far from each other.
As we came here from our base Rotterdam, there is not much I can say about the accommodation situation here other than being a small fraction to that great choice in nearby Rotterdam. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo or Ebookers.