It seems like 2015 is going to be the year of citytrips. My darling surprised me with a citytrip to The Hague for my birthday in February. The boy knows how much I like travelling and exploring new things! So, for the first time in a long while I was off to a truly unknown city.
And boy – and girl – what a nice surprise it was. The Hague looks like the cozy, little version of Amsterdam. Ok, there might be a few big differences but the canals, cute houses and trendy lunch places sure did show some similarities. This city has a lively, friendly atmosphere full of people from all over the world. It has all the benefits of a modern city (insert cute independent shops) combined with the elegance of the historical buildings that surround you everywhere you go.
Nowadays it’s probably hard to picture The Hague as a true canal city. But until the middle of the 19th century, The Hague – just like Delft, Leiden and Amsterdam – was a true Dutch city with canals, inner harbours and market squares at the waterfront. Nowadays most of the canals are filled up, but luckily a few pretty canals can still be found on the outskirts of the old centre.
Our first stop on this trip was the Peace Palace, the center of world peace. By the entrance is the Eternal Flame of peace with the inscription May all beings find peace. A tree full of wishes for peace aligns the entrance of the visitor centre. It’s an interactive centre with an exhibition, short films and an audio guides for a more detailed explanation. BONUS: it’s all for free, a big bonus when you’re traveling on a budget.
The ‘Paleistuin’ – which means as much as ‘Garden of the Palace’ – was one of the most relaxing parks I saw during our weekend. It’s the perfect stop to feed the birds (as we did) or just relax and enjoy some quite time in the city.
The ‘Raamstraat’ is located in the middle of the main shopping area. The whole street is used as a canvas for great street art. It’s great when a city can combine the historical aspects with a more urban atmosphere. This graffiti wall displays scenes from old and new The Hague.
The city hall of The Hague is a spacious, white beauty. It was designed by the American architect Richard Meier. Take a few minutes to go inside and take in the design of this building. If you like modern architecture this is a must-see when visiting The Hague.
The Hofvijver lies in the heart of the city. This charming lake is a favourite setting for all kind of activities. As you can see, this place is also a great spot for some more bird feeding.
Located directly next to Paleistuin you can find Van Prinse & Co. Here we had some warm coco to heat up a little bit. We visited The Hague in mid-February so it was still quit chilly. Amiable cafés with a homely interior is something you can find all over The Hague. The take-away pink-nick baskets at this place are a real bonus when located this close to the park.
Just like us, people in The Hague love going out for a social drink. Most of the terraces are heated so even in the middle of winter it was still nice to sit outside and enjoy some people watching with another hot coco. We enjoined our hot beverage at the ‘Plein’ which means ‘Square’. You get how simplicity was apparently key when naming these places? With prices of just 2€ for a hot chocolate milk, this is a great place to rest a little bit from all the walking during the day. Other great terraces our located at Grote Markt, Molenstraat and Plaats.
The next morning we had a lovely brunch at Appeltje Eitje. Our Sunday was mostly spend eating and roaming the streets in the sunny but cold weather. The Hague is the perfect place to relax, whether that is enjoying their great food, cozy shops or one of the numerous museums.
Still on the to do list for next time:
Visit a museum More specifically go to the Escher museum. I like his art and the way it tricks your mind with people going down the straits in an endless movement.
Enjoy more food We past so many little bars and restaurants that I can’t wait to try out the next time we visit.
Relax at the beach in Scheveningen This beach is located at only 7km of centre of The Hague. Do like the locals and bike there over the weekend to enjoy the sun. Numerous events take place in the summer at this location like an international kite festival and even a firework tournament