Best Things to Do in The Hague: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Jen
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Are you planning to visit the Hague soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in the Hague. These scenic sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

The Hague isn’t your typical Dutch city. Forget the clichés of tulips and windmills; the Hague is where regal history meets a contemporary vibe. Tucked between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, it often lives in the shadows of its more renowned neighbors. But let me tell you, this city gem has a universe of things to do in the Hague, with cultural landmarks, striking architecture, and a coastline that will truly captivate you..

A city that wears many hats, the Hague is the political heart of the Netherlands, home to the Dutch royal family, and a hub for international justice. But don’t let that intimidate you. Beneath its formal exterior lies a city teeming with life. This includes everything from the bustling squares of Het Plein and Grote Markt to the tranquil beauty of Scheveningen Beach.

And let’s not forget the food—oh, the food! Whether you’re indulging in a rijsttafel, a traditional Indonesian feast, or sipping on jenever, a Dutch gin, your taste buds are in for a treat.

So, if you’re ready to get off the beaten path, keep reading. We’ve got a list of the coolest, most unforgettable things to do in the Hague. Trust me, by the end of this article, you’ll be booking your ticket faster than you can say “stroopwafel.” Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in the Hague.

The top places to visit in the Hague right now
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Best Places to Visit in the Hague

Ready to jump into all the top things to do in the Hague? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this multifaceted vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique the Hague places to visit.

Are you looking to explore prestigious museums housing world-class art? Or would you prefer to unwind on sandy beaches and indulge in diverse culinary delights? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in the Hague can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in the Hague that you should know about.

1. Mauritshuis

Ah, the Mauritshuis! If you’re an art aficionado or even just a casual admirer, this is one of the coolest things to do in the Hague. Housed in a 17th-century mansion, the museum is a microcosm of Dutch Golden Age art. From Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” to Rembrandt’s self-portraits, the collection is nothing short of breathtaking.

But what sets the Mauritshuis apart from other art museums? It’s the intimacy. Unlike larger, more overwhelming galleries, this museum offers a more personal experience. You can get up close and personal with the artworks, feeling as if you’re stepping into the scenes themselves.

The museum is also a marvel of architecture. The building itself is a work of art, with its intricate details and grand chandeliers. It’s one of those unique places in the Hague where history and art coalesce in the most beautiful way.

And don’t forget to take a stroll in the museum’s charming garden. It’s a peaceful oasis that offers a quiet respite from the city’s hustle and bustle. Trust me, a visit to the Mauritshuis is not just a feast for the eyes, but also for the soul.

Explore the Mauritshuis: Dutch Golden Age art in a 17th-century mansion, showcasing masterpieces like Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring."
Explore the Mauritshuis: Dutch Golden Age art in a 17th-century mansion, showcasing masterpieces like Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

2. Binnenhof

The Binnenhof, an iconic complex, is more than just Dutch political center—it’s a Hague essential. Nestled by the Hofvijver lake, it’s a captivating fusion of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Hosting the Dutch government since the 13th century, it ranks among the world’s oldest active parliaments.

Now, you might be thinking, “Politics? Yawn.” But hold that thought! The Binnenhof is more than just a hub for politicians. It’s a living, breathing part of Dutch history. You can take guided tours that delve into the country’s political past, present, and future. You’ll walk through grand halls, admire intricate tapestries, and even get a glimpse of the Prime Minister’s office.

But here’s the kicker: the Binnenhof is also a place of serene beauty. The courtyard is a tranquil oasis, perfect for a moment of reflection. And let’s not forget the Hofvijver lake, where you can catch some of the most stunning sunsets in the city. Truly, a visit to the Binnenhof is one of the best things to do in the Hague.

Exploring The Binnenhof is one of the best things to do in the Hague.
The Binnenhof, Gothic-Renaissance blend by Hofvijver lake. Dutch government home since 13th century, among world’s oldest active parliaments.

3. Scheveningen Beach

Scheveningen Beach – where the city meets the sea in the most spectacular fashion. This isn’t just a place to dip your toes in the water; it’s one of the best places to go in the Hague for a full-on seaside experience. Picture golden sands stretching as far as the eye can see, framed by a bustling promenade filled with cafes, shops, and even a Ferris wheel!

Now, let’s talk about water sports. From windsurfing to kiteboarding, Scheveningen is a haven for adrenaline junkies. But don’t worry, if you’re more of a beach lounger, there’s plenty of space for you to catch some rays, too. And when the sun sets, the beach transforms into a vibrant nightlife hub, complete with beach bars and bonfires.

Where to go in the Hague to witness the dazzling fireworks? Every summer, Scheveningen hosts the International Fireworks Festival, lighting up the night sky in a blaze of colors. It’s an event that draws crowds from all over.

Scheveningen Beach: The ultimate seaside experience. Golden sands, bustling promenade, cafes, shops, and a Ferris wheel await.
Scheveningen Beach: The ultimate seaside experience. Golden sands, bustling promenades, cafes, shops, and a Ferris wheel await.

4. Madurodam

Madurodam is a whimsical journey through the Netherlands, all in miniature form. This is one of those unique places in the Hague where you can stroll through replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, from Amsterdam’s canals to Utrecht’s Dom Tower, all without leaving the city.

The attention to detail here is staggering. Tiny boats navigate the canals, miniature trains chug along the tracks, and even the tulips seem to have been shrunk down to size. It’s a photographer’s dream and a fantastic way for families to spend the day. The interactive exhibits also offer a hands-on experience, allowing you to operate locks, dams, and even a mini-Schiphol Airport.

Madurodam is more than just a collection of miniatures. It’s an educational experience that dives deep into Dutch history and culture. The park frequently hosts events and exhibitions, making it a dynamic place that’s ever-changing.

For those looking to capture the essence of the Netherlands in a single visit, Madurodam offers a condensed yet comprehensive experience. It’s one of the coolest things to do in the Hague, especially if you’re short on time but still want to see it all.

Madurodam: Miniature Dutch journey with iconic replicas, a unique attraction showcasing Netherlands' landmarks in miniature form.
Madurodam: Miniature Dutch journey with iconic replicas, a unique attraction showcasing Netherlands’ landmarks in miniature form.

5. Peace Palace

When you’re pondering about the Hague things to do that are extraordinary, a visit to the Peace Palace should be at the top of your list. This iconic building is not just a stunning piece of architecture; it’s a symbol of international law and order. Home to the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and an extensive law library, the Peace Palace is a must-see in the Hague for anyone interested in global affairs.

As you approach the building, you’ll be struck by its grandeur. The Neo-Renaissance design, complete with turrets and intricate carvings, is a sight to behold. Once inside, you’ll find various rooms adorned with gifts from nations around the world. Each contributes to the building’s unique character.

Guided tours are available, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the workings of international law. You’ll get to see the Great Hall of Justice, the deliberation rooms, and even the judges’ private chambers if you’re lucky. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mechanisms that help maintain global peace.

The Peace Palace offers an enriching experience for those intrigued by international relations. It’s one of those unique places in the Hague that provides both educational and aesthetic value, making it a destination you won’t want to miss.

Peace Palace: Iconic symbol of international law. Home to ICJ, PCA, and law library, it's a must-see for global affairs enthusiasts.
Peace Palace: Iconic symbol of international law. Home to ICJ, PCA, and law library, it’s a must-see for global affairs enthusiasts.

6. Escher in Het Paleis

A museum that turns your perception of reality upside down – The Escher in Het Paleis. This is one of those coolest activities in the Hague that you simply can’t miss. Housed in a former royal palace, the museum is dedicated to the works of M.C. Escher, the Dutch graphic artist renowned for his mind-bending optical illusions.

As you wander through the elegant rooms of the palace, you’ll encounter Escher’s famous works like “Relativity” and “Waterfall.” Each piece is a marvel of geometry and imagination, challenging your sense of space and perspective. It’s a surreal experience that leaves you questioning what’s real and what’s illusion.

Interactive exhibits are sprinkled throughout, allowing you to become part of Escher’s fantastical world. Step into a room where you shrink or grow depending on your position, or gaze into a mirror that reflects an endless loop of archways. It’s not just art; it’s an experience that engages all your senses.

Escher in Het Paleis is a place that combines art, science, and a dash of magic. As such, this makes it one of the best places in the Hague for an intellectual adventure.

Escher in Het Paleis: a mind-bending museum in a former royal palace. Explore M.C. Escher's optical illusions—a must-do activity.
Escher in Het Paleis: a mind-bending museum in a former royal palace. Explore M.C. Escher’s optical illusions—a must-do activity.

7. The Louwman Museum

Rev your engines, because the Louwman Museum offers the best things to do in the Hague for anyone even remotely interested in cars. This isn’t your average car museum; it’s a sprawling collection of over 250 antique and classic automobiles, each with its own unique story to tell.

From the moment you walk in, you’re transported to different eras of automotive innovation. Marvel at the craftsmanship of a 1910s Rolls-Royce or feel the adrenaline rush as you stand next to a Formula 1 race car. The museum does an exceptional job of not just displaying cars but contextualizing them within their respective periods.

What sets the Louwman Museum apart is its attention to detail. Each vehicle is meticulously restored and maintained, often accompanied by historical artifacts and memorabilia. You’ll find yourself immersed in the evolution of automotive design, from the elegance of Art Deco to the sleek lines of modern supercars.

But wait, there’s more! The museum also houses a delightful collection of automotive art. This makes it one of those unique places in the Hague where art and engineering intersect. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or just curious, the Louwman Museum offers a fascinating journey through the milestones of automotive history.

The Louwman Museum is one of the best things to do in the Hague.
Louwman Museum, an ultimate destination for car enthusiasts. Beyond average, it boasts 250+ antique and classic automobiles, each with a unique story.

8. The Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park: Among the Hague attractions, especially if you’re yearning for a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Open only for a few weeks in spring and autumn, this garden is the epitome of serenity and natural beauty.

As you stroll through the winding paths, you’ll encounter authentic Japanese stone lanterns, wooden bridges, and a stunning array of flora. The garden was designed more than a century ago and has been preserved in its original state. This makes it the oldest of its kind in the Netherlands.

The Japanese Garden is one of those unique places in the Hague where you can truly disconnect. The atmosphere is so tranquil that you can almost hear the whispers of the ancient trees and the soft rustle of the cherry blossoms. It’s a place where time seems to stand still, allowing you to soak in every moment.

This garden is a popular spot for both mindfulness and photography, so bring your camera or your yoga mat and make the most of this peaceful haven. It’s one of the coolest activities in the Hague, offering a slice of Zen in a bustling city.

Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park: a peaceful escape. Limited opening in spring and autumn. Serenity and beauty await.
Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park: a peaceful escape. Limited opening in spring and autumn. Serenity and beauty await.

9. The Grote Markt

Where to visit in the Hague to experience the best of Dutch culture and cuisine? Welcome to the Grote Markt, the vibrant heart of the city where locals and tourists alike come to experience the Dutch. From open-air concerts to food stalls selling mouth-watering stroopwafels, the Grote Markt is a feast for all senses.

What sets this place apart? Well, it’s not just a market; it’s a social hub. Here, you’ll find a blend of historic architecture and modern amenities. The square is surrounded by charming cafes, boutique shops, and even a few nightclubs for those looking to extend their evening.

For the art enthusiasts, the Grote Markt is often adorned with intricate sculptures and installations. A visit to this place is among those unique things to do in the Hague where art, history, and daily life seamlessly intertwine. And let’s not forget the seasonal events. Whether it’s the Christmas market in winter or the lively King’s Day celebrations, there’s always something happening here.

In a city known for its political gravitas and royal residences, the Grote Markt offers a refreshing change of pace. It’s one of the coolest activities in the Hague, providing a snapshot of local life in its most dynamic form.

Grote Markt: a Dutch culture and cuisine hub. Open-air concerts, stroopwafel stalls—immersing visitors in the heart of the city's vibrancy.
Grote Markt: a Dutch culture and cuisine hub. Open-air concerts, stroopwafel stalls—immersing visitors in the heart of the city’s vibrancy.

10. Panorama Mesdag

Step into the world of Panorama Mesdag, and you’ll find yourself enveloped by one of the largest circular canvases in Europe. This is not just another art gallery; it’s an immersive experience that’s a must-see in the Hague. Created by the Dutch artist Hendrik Willem Mesdag, this panoramic painting gives you a 360-degree view of the sea, the dunes, and the village of Scheveningen as it was in 1881.

The moment you enter the dimly lit room, your senses are captivated. The painting’s intricate details and the play of light and shadow make you feel as if you’re standing right there on the Scheveningen beach over a century ago. It’s one of those best things to do in the Hague that you simply can’t miss.

For history buffs, the museum also offers a glimpse into Mesdag’s life and his other works. But the real star is the panorama itself. The sheer scale and artistry of this masterpiece make it one of the best places in the Hague for both art aficionados and casual visitors.

Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for cool destinations in the Hague, Panorama Mesdag offers an unforgettable journey into the past, wrapped in the beauty of art and history.

Panorama Mesdag: Europe's largest circular canvas. A must-see, offering a 360-degree view of 1881 Scheveningen.
Panorama Mesdag: Europe’s largest circular canvas. A must-see, offering a 360-degree view of 1881 Scheveningen.

11. The Haagse Bos

Amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life, The Haagse Bos stands as a sanctuary of tranquility. This sprawling forest in the heart of the city offers a delightful contrast to the Hague’s more cosmopolitan attractions. It’s a place where you can escape the crowds and connect with nature, making it one of the coolest activities in the Hague.

Walking through the Haagse Bos feels like stepping into a fairy tale. Majestic trees form a canopy overhead, while the gentle rustle of leaves accompanies you on your stroll. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, from chirping birds to scampering squirrels, adding a touch of enchantment to your visit.

This forest is steeped in history, serving as the backdrop for many significant events in Dutch history. The Huis ten Bosch Palace, the official residence of the Dutch Royal Family, is also located here.

For those looking for unique places in the Hague to unwind, the Haagse Bos is a breath of fresh air—literally. Whether you’re up for a leisurely walk, a picnic, or even a jog, this forest offers a slice of serenity that’s hard to find in the city.

The Haagse Bos: Urban sanctuary of tranquility. Amidst city bustle, a forest escape for nature connection.
The Haagse Bos: Urban sanctuary of tranquility. Amidst city bustle, a forest escape for nature connection.

12. The Royal Delft Factory

If you’re a fan of art and craftsmanship, The Royal Delft Factory is one of the cool destinations in the Hague. This iconic factory has been producing the world-renowned Delft Blue pottery for nearly four centuries. The moment you step inside, you’re transported into a world of intricate designs and mesmerizing colors.

The factory offers guided tours that take you through the entire process of creating Delftware. This includes eveything from molding the clay to the final hand-painted masterpiece. It’s a fascinating journey that showcases the skill, dedication, and artistry that go into each piece. And yes, you can even try your hand at painting your own Delft Blue tile!

The Royal Delft Factory is an experience to immerse yourself in. The factory also houses a museum displaying a vast collection of antique Delftware, providing a historical context to this enduring craft.

For those wondering what to do in the Hague that combines culture, history, and hands-on fun, the Royal Delft Factory ticks all the boxes. It’s not just a visit; it’s an adventure into the soul of Dutch craftsmanship.

Royal Delft Factory: an art and craftsmanship gem. Producing Delft Blue pottery for centuries. Step in for intricate designs and mesmerizing colors. | Source: https://royaldelft.com/en/
Royal Delft Factory, an art and craftsmanship gem. Producing Delft Blue pottery for centuries. Step in for intricate designs and mesmerizing colors. | Source: https://royaldelft.com/en/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in the Hague

Looking for more content on the top things to do in the Hague? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to the Hague:

What’s the best time to visit the Hague?

The ideal time to explore the Hague is during late spring to early autumn, from May to September. The pleasant weather allows you to enjoy outdoor activities, visit cultural sites, and explore the city’s coastline. Spring blooms and warm summer days enhance your experience of this vibrant Dutch destination.

Is the Hague family-friendly?

Certainly, the Hague is family-friendly. With its interactive museums, scenic parks, and kid-centric attractions like Madurodam miniature park, it offers a welcoming atmosphere for families. Beaches, bike paths, and diverse events ensure an enjoyable experience for all ages, making it an ideal destination for family exploration.

Is there much to do in The Hague?

Absolutely, The Hague offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or someone who enjoys the great outdoors, The Hague has something for you. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Cultural Attractions: Museums like the Mauritshuis and the Gemeentemuseum offer world-class art collections. The city is also home to several theaters and concert halls for those interested in the performing arts.
  • Historical Sites: The Binnenhof, the seat of the Dutch government, and the Peace Palace are must-visit landmarks that offer a glimpse into the city’s and the world’s history.
  • Outdoor Activities: Scheveningen Beach is perfect for water sports or just lounging by the sea. Numerous parks and gardens offer spaces for picnics, walks, and relaxation.
  • Shopping: From luxury boutiques to local markets, The Hague offers a diverse shopping experience. The Passage, the oldest shopping center in the Netherlands, is worth a visit.
  • Dining: The city’s culinary scene is as international as its inhabitants, offering everything from Dutch delicacies to global cuisines.
  • Family Fun: Attractions like Madurodam and Sea Life Scheveningen are perfect for a family day out.
  • Nightlife: The Hague has a vibrant nightlife with numerous bars, pubs, and clubs offering a variety of entertainment options.
  • Day Trips: Its location makes it easy for day trips to other Dutch cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

How do I get around the city?

Getting around the Hague is convenient and diverse. An extensive tram and bus network covers the city and nearby areas. Biking is popular, with dedicated paths and bike rental options. Walking is ideal for exploring the city center. Taxis and rideshares are also available for more personalized travel.

A bustling street scene with people walking on sidewalks and vehicles driving along the road.
A bustling street scene with people walking on sidewalks and vehicles driving along the road.

How many days in Hague is enough?

The Hague (or “Den Haag” in Dutch) is a captivating city with a mix of historic charm, royal palaces, international courts, and a vibrant beach scene. The number of days you should spend in The Hague largely depends on your interests, but here’s a general guideline:

1-2 Days in the Hague:

  • Day 1: Explore the city center, visit the Mauritshuis museum to see Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” wander around the Binnenhof (the Dutch Parliament), and perhaps take a tour of the Peace Palace.
  • Day 2: Head to Scheveningen, The Hague’s famous beach district. Enjoy the sea, visit the SEA LIFE Scheveningen aquarium, and stroll along the pier. If time allows, visit the modern art at the Gemeentemuseum.

3-4 Days:

  • Day 3: Delve deeper into the city’s history with a visit to the Royal Palace or take a day trip to nearby Delft, a picturesque town known for its blue pottery.
  • Day 4: Explore the lesser-known attractions, such as the Escher Museum, or take a relaxing day in one of the city’s parks like Westbroekpark.

For travelers deeply interested in international law and politics, you might want to allocate additional time for specialized tours of the international courts. Similarly, art enthusiasts might want extra days to thoroughly explore the city’s museums.

However, for most travelers, 3 days is a good amount of time to get a comprehensive experience of The Hague while also allowing for some relaxation and leisurely exploration.

Are there any local dishes in the Hague that I should try?

Absolutely, the Hague offers a range of local dishes worth trying. Sample “Haring,” a raw herring fish, often served with onions and pickles. “Kroketten” are deep-fried meat or cheese croquettes. Indulge in “Stroopwafels,” thin waffle cookies with caramel syrup filling, and savor Dutch cheeses for an authentic culinary experience.

Is the Hague expensive?

the Hague is moderately priced compared to many European cities. Costs for accommodation, dining, and activities can vary, but generally, it offers a more reasonable experience for travelers. Planning ahead and exploring options can help you manage expenses effectively during your visit.

Is the Hague worth visiting?

Absolutely, the Hague is a must-visit destination in the Netherlands. It’s not just a political hub; it’s a city rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. From world-class museums and historic sites to beautiful beaches and parks, the Hague offers a diverse range of experiences that captivate every type of traveler. Here’s why the Hague is worth a visit:

  • International Importance: Home to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, The Hague is a global city that plays a crucial role in world affairs.
  • Museums and Galleries: From the Mauritshuis, which houses Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” to the modern art at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague offers a rich cultural experience.
  • Beachside Bliss: Scheveningen, the city’s beach resort, is perfect for sunbathing, surfing, or enjoying a meal with a view of the North Sea.
  • Historic Architecture: The Binnenhof, the world’s oldest House of Parliament still in use, is a must-see, along with the Noordeinde Palace, one of the three official palaces of the Dutch royal family.
  • Peaceful Parks: The Hague boasts beautiful parks like the Zuiderpark and Westbroekpark, where you can enjoy a leisurely stroll or a boat ride.
  • Shopping and Dining: The city offers a range of shopping options, from high-end boutiques to local markets, and a culinary scene that reflects its international population.
  • Family-Friendly: With attractions like Madurodam, a miniature park that replicates famous Dutch landmarks, The Hague is also a great destination for families.
  • Easy Accessibility: The Hague is well-connected by public transport and is just a short train ride away from Amsterdam, making it easy to include in your Dutch itinerary.

What is the Hague best known for?

the Hague is best known as the political and administrative heart of the Netherlands, housing the Dutch Parliament and the International Court of Justice. Beyond politics, it’s renowned for its art museums like the Mauritshuis, stunning architecture, and the seaside resort of Scheveningen, making it a multifaceted destination.

Concluding Thoughts on Visiting the Hague

Ah, the Hague. This is a city that effortlessly combines the regality of politics, the allure of art, and the charm of coastal life. Whether you’re here to delve into the Netherlands’ rich history or simply to unwind by the sea, the Hague offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers.

From the Binnenhof to the Royal Delft Factory, this city offers unique places to visit and coolest activities to partake in. So, why not make the Hague your next travel destination? Trust us, this city is more than just a political hub. It’s a treasure trove of Dutch culture waiting to be discovered. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey through one of the Netherlands’ most captivating cities.

The top things to do in the Hague for all types of travelers
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