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The Hague Travel Guide

About The Hague

Amsterdam may be the Netherlands' commercial (and party) capital, but The Hague is its majestic, airy cousin and a city that’s long been fit for a king.

As the Netherlands’ seat of government and home to the largest of the Dutch royal palaces, the porticoed and colonnaded Noordeinde, The Hague is awash with classical facades and dotted with monuments.

Where governance resides, gourmet food ultimately follows and the city has a wealth of wonderful restaurants and petite cafés to win over even the fussiest palate.

Neatness and a slower pace of life is all part of the city’s charm, although behind the doors of the Binnenhof, the Netherlands’ answer to the White House, things get a little more frenetic.

Unsurprisingly for a city built around governance, the Binnenhof is considered the heart of The Hague. The gorgeous 13th-century palace complex is surrounded by a series of open plazas, among them the vast Het Plein and the busy Grote Markt.

This all backs on to the Buitenhof, another airy plaza that leads onto a 19th century covered shopping area known as Der Passage, which boasts an array of expensive boutiques.

However, historic architecture is never far away and the city boasts no fewer than four royal palaces, one of which is now a museum. This is the Lange Voorhout Palace, now home to a gallery dedicated to the work of graphic artist genius M.C. Escher.

That, if nothing else, is enough to prove that for all the government bureaucracy and international criminal courts associated with the city, there’s more to The Hague than history and law.

The gleaming towers that house the International Criminal Court suggest a willingness to look forward, while the stunning beaches of Scheveningen and Kijkduin tell of a city that isn’t afraid to shake off the shackles of work.

Key facts

Population:
495,000 (municipality, 2009); 1.4 million (metro area, 2009).
Latitude:
52.075238
Longitude:
4.306720