Rather ridiculously I’ve left writing about my trip to The Hague at the start of July a bit late, as I’ve been away twice since then so although I’ve not forgotten anything I did I have rather lost the oomph to write about it! I did make a short vlog of some snippets from my trip though, and have a few favourite photos to share too. So here’s a few things I did in my three days in this gorgeous city…
I stayed with friends right in the city centre, and it was so nice to have someone to point me in the right direction, or tell me what not to bother with, though I did spend a day exploring on my own with the help of google maps!
The city is so full of art, it’s everywhere! There are modern sculptures in the shopping streets, statues all over and so many museums and Art galleries dotted about. As well as all of that there are the signature Dutch canals, trams and cobbled streets. It’s incredibly cosmopolitan, you’ll hear all sorts of accents and see all sorts of people, and it is also known as the Peace capital of Europe – being home to the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law and the Peace Palace Library.
Not only is it steeped in history but it is my favourite type of city – one with a beach! And this is a mean beach – a pier, a huge ferris wheel (in fact it’s the same one that used to sit on Brighton’s beach here in the UK) and has kilometres worth of sandy beaches, dotted with bars and sun loungers.
So here’s what I got up to…
An Art gallery housed in a huge, grand mansion next to the Binnenhof (the government building) in a really central location. Incredibly well presented and laid out, with a free downloadable app to give you an audio guide to the art work. Many people will go specifically just to see ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’. Yes it’s impressive but I thought there were far more interesting pictures to gawk at, and gawk I did! There is also a temporary exhibition on showing how the restorers work on each painting to remove poor restoration in the past and to get the paintings looking as good as possible as sagely as possible!
Escher in Het Palais
Escher has long been one of my favourite artists – I think my obsession started when I used to watch Labyrinth over and over when I was small, and the scene at the end with all the starts got me interested in the abstract. Well, I was a happy bunny indeed when I realised there was a whole gallery completely dedicated to Escher and his work. You can read about his life and his influences and see how his art developed into the more abstract and completely wacky pieces that he is most famous for. As well as his artwork on the walls the building itself is a palace, so you can find out a bit about what each room would have been like before it was ‘Eschered’ and there is a great juxtaposition of modern and old art work.
I bought some of his most famous monochrome work in note cards and they’re in a frame on my living room wall already! I loved this wall too, in fact the whole room was decorated amazingly!
Madurodam is a huge miniature town, with tiny replicas of many of the Netherlands’ most famous buildings and areas. As well as all the amazing and intricate models there are trains and boats whizzing about, fields of windmills, a working dam and even a clog factory where you can get a little set of clogs delivered to you by a tiny truck! The whole park is actually a war memorial- built by the parents of a war hero to remember him after WWII. There are also some ‘experiences’ and the one we did took us on a journey from Amsterdam to New York, though it wasn’t called New York until after the Dutch arrived, and then handed it over the us Brits! We even got to shoot (water) canons!
There was so much to look at, and lots of little things to look out for too, which would be a great way to get kids on the hunt for things (one was a tiny angel wearing jeans on their phone – somewhere on a huge church!)
My friend Karina took me to here on my last morning and I am so glad she did! There is a small gallery of seascapes and dark stormy paintings of ships, as well as a guest exhibition but the piece de resistance is the gorgeous panorama of the coastline, and it’s just stunning. I could have walked in a circle for half an hour or more The detail is amazing, and it is presented impeccably – with the rolling sand dunes and a beachy soundtrack for extra atmosphere.
On the top floor of a sky scraper full of mostly offices there is a restaurant called The Penthouse, and we visited for ‘Highest Tea’ 42 storeys up. Everything was as well presented as the amazing view over the city – just perfect! With a pre-defined selection of teas (one for each course) we chomped our way through everything at a leisurely pace and left feeling brave enough to stroll around on the metal walkway outside before we headed back downstairs in the high powered lift!
The sweets especially were divine, this snickers cake was AMAZING!
I definitely want to re-visit The Hague, it’s such an easy journey from the UK, just a short flight into Amsterdam Schipol. I think we’d probably pair it with days out in Delph, Rotterdam and Amsterdam too, though I’ve been there a couple of times before.