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Attractions and Things to See and Do

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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.

Edited bytijs on 28.06.2004

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