Printable travel guide for Netherlands:Zuid-Holland:Den_Haag
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Basic Facts

The Hague , Dutch: Den Haag, or 's-Gravenhage)
The administrative capital of the Netherlands, situated at the North Sea between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It's located in the west of the country, in the province Zuid-Holland of which it is also the capital.

Population of the city: 465,000 inhabitants. The area of Haaglanden (The Hague and suburbs) has 970.944 inhabitants.

Founded in 1248 AD, is Originally a hunting location, the counts of Holland used it as their administrative center; all cities had their rights and 'kapsones'. 'Des Graven Hage' literally means "The counts' hedge". The stork is the symbol of Den Haag.
The Hague was formally named a city by the French occupation force as late as 1806, centuries after other Dutch cities had received similar rights. This has led to the urban legend that The Hague is not a city but a village.
The Hague was where monarchs, stadholders and counts lived and where the representatives of the cities and provinces met, just as the members of parliament do today.

Political and royal centre
The Hague is the Netherlands' political centre being the home of the Dutch Parliament and its ministries. The Hague hosts the Eerste Kamer and the Tweede Kamer, respectively the Senate and the House of Representatives, forming the Dutch parliament.
Also the Dutch Queen Beatrix lives and works in The Hague. The Hague has a rich tradition when it comes to royalty. Although the Netherlands first became a monarchy in 1813, the Royal House of Orange had been playing an important role in its history since 1559.

Tourist attractions
Besides being the political capital of the Netherlands The Hague has a lot to offer tourists. Most important is of course the Binnenhof. Also interesting are Paleis Noordeinde, Vredespaleis, Mauritshuis, Panorama Mesdag, Omniversum, and of course Madurodam, which is the Netherlands rebuilt as a small city, with a lot of replicas of famous Dutch buildings and customs.

The beach resort Scheveningen, in the northwestern part of the city, is another popular destination for tourists and young people to go out. Don't miss the parties in the alternative bars on the Northern beach called 'Black Path'.

Old town
City life concentrates around the Hofvijver and the Binnenhof, which is where the Parliament is located. The Binnenhof is the oldest part of the city. This is where the village 'Die Haghe' as it was called way back in the 13th century came into being. The settlement soon became a prosperous village and a modest centre of industry (textiles and beer brewing). The older parts of the town usually have characteristically wide and long streets. Houses are generally low-rise (not more than 3 floors), and quite elegant. The layout of the city is more spacious than other Dutch cities. There are almost no canals in The Hague, as they were all drained in the late 1800s.

The former Dutch colony of Netherlands East Indies (nowadays called Indonesia) has left its mark on The Hague. Many streets are named after places in Netherlands East Indies and there is a sizeable "Indisch" (i.e. mixed Dutch-Indonesian) community. After the loss of these Dutch possessions in December 1949, "Indisch" people often refer to The Hague as 'the Widow of "Indië"'. Each year in June a large indonesian basar is held on the Malieveld, called Pasar Malam Besar.

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Main tourist attractions
Throughout the ages, ‘Het Binnenhof’ has always been the centre of politics in the Netherlands, the place where affairs of state were discussed. Not only are the buildings themselves well worth seeing, but it was here that the most important events in Dutch history took place. Parliament still meets here, and thus the Binnenhof remains the centre of Dutch political life today.

The Prison Gate is the former prison of the Court of Holland. Preceding a guided tour through the 15th century building a short film is shown about the trial of Cornelis de Witt, the most famous prisoner of the Prison Gate. The film illustrates the function of the various rooms in the building, like the cells, examination room and torture cellar. A few moments later the visitor enters these rooms himself. The building and its unique collection of punishment and torture devices introduce the visitor to the history of criminal law in Holland.

Madurodam is a miniature city in the Hague, which reflects what the Netherlands look like. You will find all those famous Dutch features rebuilt down to the tiniest detail on a scale of 1:25. Windmills are turning, round trip boats are sailing the canals, a fire is extinguished in the harbour, and modern trains are running to and from the stationson the world’s largest miniature railway (4 km total).

The Hague offers an extensive collection of paintings by the 'old' and 'modern' masters: in the main museums five centuries of the art of painting an be seen. The Hague boasts various famous paintings such as 'Gezicht op Delft' by Johannes Vermeer and 'Victory Boogie Woogie' by Piet Mondriaan. Since the end of 2002, The Hague has also housed three brand-new museums: the Escher Museum, the Museum of Photography (Fotomuseum) and the GEM (Museum of Contemporary Art). The following musea are worth visiting:
+ The Mauritshuis exhibits many paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn and Paulus Potter.
+ The Gemeentemuseum hosts a large collection of images from the Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan as well as other modern art.
+ The Escher Museum is located in the former Royal Palace at the Lange Voorhout.
+ Panorama Mesdag houses a cylindrical 'panoramic' painting of 14 meter high x 120 meter long, depicting the Hague and Scheveningen in the 19th century, made by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. It is presented in such a way that it is almost as if one is looking at a real scene instead of a painting. + The museum Beelden aan Zee has a large collection of sculptures, mainly from 20th-century artists.
+ The Museon is a science museum.

When entering the city by car, the first thing you see is the imposing and impressive skyline of The Hague. During the last decade the city business centre above the A12 was developed, which gives The Hague a modern and sleek look. But The Hague is a city of many faces. In the surroundings of the big white city hall designed by Richard Meijer lies the modern centre for business and government with its high buildings and modern squares.
Lovers of historical architecture can enjoy it to their hearts' content in the grand old streets near the Binnenhof and the Noordeinde Palace. The famous architect H.P. Berlage also built a number of striking buildings in The Hague, including the Gemeentemuseum The Hague.

International The Hague
If you like an international atmosphere, The Hague is the place to be. The city is internationally recognized as the world's capital of international Justice. After New York and Geneva, The Hague is the third UN city in the world. The Hague is also the meeting point of the international haute volée. All 85 foreign embassies and government ministries are located in the city, as well as the Supreme Court and many lobby organisations.

The International Court of Justice, located in the monumental Peace Palace (Vredespaleis, its construction was financed by Andrew Carnegie).
Also the Yugoslav Tribunal is one of the most famous institutions. Then there are the Iran/USA Claims tribunal, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague Conference on Private International Law, the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the European Patent office and Europol all located in The Hague.
Recently the International Criminal Court as well as the Organization for Prohibition of Biological Weapons found their seat in The Hague.
Companies like the Royal Shell has it's heaquarters in this city.

City Mondial
The Hague is a melting pot of dozens of different people and cultures, and the city is proud of its cultural diversity. The gigantic open-air market the “Haagse Mart” (the largest of Western Europe) is famous not only because of the fact that it is a reflection of this colourful society, but also because it offers fresh food from all corners of the world for little or no money at all. Fresh Turkish bread, Moroccan herbs, Surinamese yard-long beans and Dutch dairy products, you can really indulge yourself here.
The Schilderswijk with its many small shops, nationalities and religions, the wonderful little restaurants in Chinatown and the old Jewish quarter are also well worth a visit.
You can visit a Turkish and Suriman mosque, a Hindu Temple, an oriental bathhouse, the Volksbuurt Museum (Working-class District Museum) and various exotic shops.
Along the Bierkade an international eatery street which is being developed (Avenue Culinaire). In the coming years, some 20 additional multicultural restaurants will be opened.

Scheveningen beach
For some sea breeze and sun set, visit Scheveningen, the beach resort of The Hague which is about 15 minutes from the cetre by tram. Walking along the promenade near the Kurhaus Palace, the wind is blowing and the waves are breaking on the beach. If you feel like going to a beach party, head towards the North along the beach. Soon you will find several beach pavilions and many of them organize beach parties during the summer evenings. From 1st April to 1st of October, you can relax in the deck chairs or comfortable lounge chairs available at the beach clubs.

Fishing Harbour
If you like to eat fish, you should visit the Scheveningen harbour, with its fishing boats and restaurants. At the harbour museum, you can learn all there is to know about life above and below the ocean's surface. You can also take a boat trip to experience the coast from another perspective aboard one of the boats. On board an old naval ship The Hr. Ms. Mercuur you will learn all the details about the dutch marine. The naval ship and most restaurants are located in the second inner harbour of Scheveningen.


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Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

The Hague Sculpture
In the beginning of the summertime a series of sculptures will be put on the Lange Voorhout and remain there till the end of the summer, half of september. Is is very relaxing to stroll along this historic street under the trees and enjoy the modern sculptures. Each year a theme is choosen for the work of art that is exhibited. The theme of 2004 is 'Art the great communicator' because of the expansion of the EU with 10 countries. As a special part all the foreign ministers of the new European countries have been asked to make available a sculpture of an artist of their country.

Museum Mesdag
This museum is usually overlooked. People flock to see the Panorama Mesdag. But during his life Mesdag and his wife acquired a vast collection of paintings from dutch and french artists from the 19th century. And the museum is in the house where Mesdag and his wife lived and still breaths that atmosphere. It has a nice small garden where in summer you can sit and just relax a bit. Address: Laan van Meerdervoort 7F. The museum is opened from tuesday till sunday from 12 till 17 hours.

Rent a bicycle!
The best way to explore the wonderful dunes between The Hague and Katwijk is renting a bike. It is also a good way to find more quiet beaches. Take tram number 1 to Scheveningen and get out at tramstop Keizerstraat. Walk to the end of the street. Opposite the church you will find Du Nord Rijwielen (Keizerstraat 27), where they have a big choice of cheap and good bikes. Cycle to the north, follow the signs Katwijk and soon you wills see the Watertower. In front of this tower go to the left and you will find a long ccclepath that leads you all the way to Katwijk. But the path also leads to the nude beach: take the first path to the left up the hill. If you take the path to the right after about 3 kms, you will get to the former farm Meyendel. There you can visit a small exhibition about the dunes, a horse-stable and a playground for kids. There is also a terrace, where you can eat pancakes.

If it's raining and it is no weather for laying on the beach or enjoy the dunes, it can be a good opportunity to visit the spa resort next to the Kurhaus. Like most luxury Thermen they have saunas, steambath, infraredsauna, freezing rooms, swimming pool, hot wrilpools, herbal baths, and a beautycenter. But they also have salt baths with very concentrated sea salt and a rest room with very fine drops of seawater in the air. You can have a light dinner or salad in the restaurant on the sunny terrace. Kuur Thermen Vitalizee is next to the Kurhaus on the Boulevard of Scheveningen, Address: Strandweg 13f. Take tram number 1 or 9 to Scheveningen Noorderstrand and go out at tramstop Kurhaus. Walk a little back to the left and then towards the sea.

Suggested Itineraries and Walking Tours

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Budget Hostels:

Stayokay Den Haag
Scheepmakersstraat 27
2514 VA Den Haag
(+31) (0) 70 315 78 88

A NJHC-hostel (Dutch Youth Hostel Association) in the heart of The Hague, the seat of government. The hostel, which is housed in a historical building in the architectural style of the Amsterdamse School, is easily accessible by car or public transport, and is ideally suitable for individual travellers as well as families, school trips, and sport teams and other groups. All rooms are spacious and have their own bathroom facilities.

Budget / Hostel Scheveningen
Gevers Deynootweg 2
2586 BL Scheveningen
Tel:. (+31) (0)70 354 70 03

Cheap guesthouse / youth hostel. Small rooms with shower (shared WC). Basic accommodation, central location.


Camping Duinrell ****
Duinrell 1
(+31) (0) 70 515 51 55

Public transport: bus 90 or 91
Costs: between EUR 9,75 and EUR 8,25 per spot + adults EUR 8,75 per person (65+ EUR 6,50)
Facilities: free use of attraction park and EUR 3,50 extra for use of the Tikibad
Open: 1 April-26 October

Camping Maaldrift
Maaldrift 10
2241 BN Wassenaar
(+31) (0) 70 511 36 88

Public Transport: bus 43, stop camping Maaldrift
Costs: tent EUR 2.35, caravan EUR 2,35 , camper EUR 3,25 p.n. adult EUR 2,35 pppn, child under 7 EUR 1,20. Electricity EUR 1.50
Dogs allowed
Situated: 7 km from the Wassenaar beach.
Facilities: shower, toilet, washing machine, dryer
Open: april 1 - october 1

Vakantiecentrum Kijkduinpark ****
Machiel Vrijenhoeklaan 450
(+31) (0) 70 448 21 00

Public transport: bus 4, direction Kijkduin
Costs: EUR 19-29,- per standard spot, EUR 21-31,- per comfort spot, EUR 23-32,- all in.
Facilities: swimming pool, supermarket, tennis court, bowling, billiards, bike rental, and laundry

Camping Duinhorst ****
Buurtweg 135
(+31) (0) 70 324 22 70

Public transport: bus 43, direction Leiden
Costs: EUR 13,70 for 2 persons and small tent (with car) and EUR 14.65 for big tent
Facilities : swimming pool, 3,5 km from the beach
Open: 1 April-1 October. Arrival from 8.00-23.00 hours

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Nice VEGAN food in ´Eetcafe Water en Brood´. Adres: Hellingweg 127, in the summer it is very wise to reserve a meal 070 - 3997455 Nice and rare view at harbour and sea.

Money and Costs

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Post and Communications and Internet

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Nightlife and Entertainment

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Hospitals and Doctors

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Visa and Documents and Embassies

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Questions and Answers or Forum

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Hospitality Club Meetings

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Activities and Sports

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Culture and Local Customs

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Events and Holidays

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Dangers and Warnings

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Tourist Traps

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Volunteer Opportunities and Work

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Organized Tours

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Books and Further Reading

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Other Information

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External Links

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Offtopic Messages

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