The Hague is the third-largest city in The Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and it is most notably the seat of the government for The Netherlands. However, what most don’t know is that The Hague is rich in history, culture, and especially, art — there are numerous museums and beautiful architectural structures worth visiting. Read our list to discover the top 10 things to do and see in The Hague.
Escher in Het Paleis
During the 20th century, M.C. Escher was a prominent Dutch artist who applied mathematics and geometry to his graphic art. Because of this, his art has a beautiful symmetry to it that is very captivating to the eye. Housed in what was once a royal palace, Escher in Het Paleis is a museum dedicated to the artist’s work. Explore over 150 of his most famous prints, in addition to woodcuts, mosaics, landscapes, and more. The second floor has been converted to an interactive, optical illusion experience, so that visitors may ‘see things through Escher’s eyes.’ Since the space was once a palace, there are many areas, including the ballroom, that maintain its regal charm, making it a popular venue for weddings and other special events.
Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk
At just over 300 feet tall, Grote of Sint-Jacobskerk, or St. James Church, is one of the tallest buildings in The Hague. The church was built during the 15th and 16th centuries in classic gothic style; it has incredible architectural attributes, as well as beautiful interior features. Notice the six-sided tower and bells, grand organ, elaborate stained glass windows, historical artwork, and numerous ornaments dedicated to the knights of the Golden Fleece. The Protestant church is open for occasional services and tours of the facility, but is most commonly used as a location for special events. Host a banquet in the hall, perform a concert, plan a wedding reception, or attend a festival.
Built-in the 13th century, Binnenhof is a gothic castle situated along the lake, Hofvijver. The collection of buildings is now used as the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, as well as for the States-General of the Netherlands, and Ministry of General Affairs. The structure is rich with Dutch heritage and is the oldest in-use House of Parliament in the world. Take a boat ride on the lake to get a waterfront view of the exquisite court, or get a close-up view from the mainland. For a small fee, you can make a reservation for a guided-tour of the interior. Roam the halls while learning about the exciting history that has taken place at Binnenhof.
Discover all the highlights and heritage of Holland at Madurodam. The park is a large miniature that details exact replicas of important buildings and city areas in Holland. The park is organized into three sections: City Center, Water World, and Innovation Island. The City Center displays how the city looked in the past and how it transformed, Water World covers the port of Rotterdam and shows how watermills work, and Innovation Island demonstrates the modern Holland. See architecture, design, entertainment, sports, and more Holland culture. Madurodam is great for the whole family, but especially younger kids. After getting a close-up of mini Holland, let the little ones run around and have fun on the playground.
Home to mostly Dutch Golden Age paintings, the Mauritshuis Museum is a cultural must in The Hague. See famous paintings, such as ‘The Girl With the Pearl Earring’ by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. There are also works by famous Spanish painter Diego Velasquez, as well as self-portraits from other prominent artists. Spend the day exploring the art on the walls, or attend one of their many programs. On Mondays, guests can attend ‘Cup of Art,’ a short art talk given by a member of the staff discussing a particular painting, artist, or subject. There are other monthly lectures that take place, in addition to learning opportunities for kids. Try your own hand at art by enrolling in their short courses, or sit back and enjoy live jazz on Thursday nights.
The Ridderzaal, or Knight’s Hall, is the main building of the historic Binnenhof castle. This particular section of the gothic structure is reserved for special occasions regarding the Dutch monarchy and parliament, including royal receptions, conferences, and speeches from the throne of monarchs, which sits in the great hall. Similar to Binnenhof, Ridderzaal offers private tours of the interior structure. However, the exterior is also noteworthy. The 13th century gothic style front entrance features grand towers, making it appear as a real-life fairy-tale castle. If luck is on your side, you may see the famous Gold Coach, the Dutch royal family’s carriage, arrive for an important event.
The Louwman Museum prides itself on housing the world’s oldest private collection of classic and antique cars. Explore both cultural history and the history of innovation by discovering the different automobiles that have been created. The collection features 250 motorcars, ranging from 1886 to the present day, and there is also an automotive art collection. Take a guided tour to learn about some of the most interesting vehicles, before popping into the café for a bite to eat. The House of Lords is the on-site restaurant located in the museum square; it serves delicious artisan food in a classy atmosphere. In addition the museum square, there are more great spaces, including a balcony, large theatre, library, great hall, and a few conference rooms. Each of these spaces are available to reserve for a special occasion.
Hendrik Willem Mesdag was a Dutch teacher turned artist during the late 19th and early 20th centuries — come here appreciate the work of one of Hague’s most prominent and influential artist. Take a guided tour to learn the history of the life of the great artist, as well as learn about particular paintings, and his art style. There are workshops available to participate in, including drawing workshops, where you’ll learn about specific techniques and practice your skill. Be sure to stop by the café and museum shop to pick up art books and literature, posters, stationary, and other Mesdag gifts.
This Hague amusement park is fun for the whole family! There are so many attractions to keep you entertained, including thrill rides, shows, and more. Take the family on one of nearly 20 family rides, including the Jungle River, Grand Prix Bumper Cars, Water Tower Slide, Ghost Museum, and Carousel. For the little ones who may be to young to ride, there is an Old McDonald Tractor Ride, Jolly Jumper, Kindergarten Garden, and about ten other fun activities. For the thrill seekers in the family, there are five deluxe rollercoasters sure to set your hair on edge. For a calmer experience, engage in one of the few entertainment shows that take place daily. No matter what you decide to do, there’s something for everyone at Drievliet!
Dutch painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag, whom there is a museum dedicated to in The Hague, was a very creative artist. In 1881, he painted an elaborate 360-degree panoramic of the fishing village, Scheveningen, and the adjacent sea and dunes. The cylindrical painting is over 45 feet high and almost 400 feet long. This is an incredible piece of artwork to see, not only for the beautiful painting skill, but also because the image itself is such an important part of Hague history and culture. There is a gazebo in the center where visitors may stand to get a full view of the work, as well as appear as if they are in the painting themselves. Panorama Mesdag is quite the site!