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marianne The Hague - A travel report by Marianne
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The Hague,  Netherlands - flag Netherlands -  Zuid-Holland
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marianne's travel reports

Royal City

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The Hague travelogue picture
The Hague, Den Haag, or to give the city its official name ‘s-Gravenhage is one of Holland’s best kept secrets. It’s a leafy, residential city, the country’s seat of government and home to the Royal Family.

You will hear many people speaking foreign languages but this doesn’t mean that they are tourists. The Hague is a cosmopolitan city; there are many foreign residents who work at the embassies or for the multinationals that have their head office her

Favourite spots:
The Hague travelogue picture
Lange Voorhout, a wide tree-lined avenue.

The Hague is the only city, which boasts a Royal Palace as a terraced house. It used to be the summer residence of Queen Beatrix’s great-grandmother, but now it houses the M.C. Escher Museum.

The view from its front windows is spectacular: a wide tree-lined avenue, Lange Voorhout, flanked by architectural interesting buildings. A century ago well-to-do families lived here. These days the houses have been converted into offices and embassies.

The best time to stroll along Lange Voorhout is early on a Sunday morning in spring. This time of day it’s ‘car free’ and the place is ablaze with flowering crocuses.

What's really great:
The Hague travelogue picture
The Binnenhof or Inner Court. This is the Seat of Government. The prime Minister’s quarters are in the round tower overlooking the Vijverberg, the court pond.

The showpiece is the Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights. It was built in the 13th centurty as part of a bigger palace. Most of this has been destroyed or rebuilt over the centuries. The last restoration of the Ridderzaal took place early 1900. The Ridderzaal is used for official royal engagement. The state opening of parliament takes place here on the 3rd Tuesday in September.

If you want to have a good overview of the Binnenhof it might be a good idea to go to Madurodam, a miniature village, scale 1:25. You can see here the most important buildings of the Netherlands. On the miniature Binnenhof you will see the golden carriage drawn by eight horses. And if you have a good look you might be able to see a miniature queen waving her hand.

The Hague travelogue picture
Vredespaleis , Peace Palace, was built between 1907 and 1913. It houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration. It is an international building: all countries in the world made a contribution: building materials, furniture, paintings and much more. Ironically enough one year after it had been finished World War I broke out.

Mauritshuis a museum with master pieces from the Dutch Golden Age: by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Jan Steen and Frans Hals. The Mauritshuis is in the centre of The Hague next to the Binnenhof and Vijverberg. It is an imposing building in classical style, built by Jacob van Campen en Pieter Post, famous Dutch architects, and dates back to the 17th century.

Panorama Mesdag a 14-metre high circular painting of Scheveningen village, the dunes and the beach. It gives you the illusion of being there. It was painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. A famous artist of the The Hague School.

The Hague travelogue picture
Hotel des Indes at Lange Voorhout was originally built for Baron van Brienen in 1858, twenty-five years later it was converted into a hotel. The entrance is magnificent, huge halls, high ceilings, beautifully furnished. Many famous people have stayed here: Paul Kruger, Montgommery, Mata Hari, Josephine Baker, Anna Pavlova the famous Russian ballerina. She became famous from her performance of the Dying Swan. On 23 January 1931 she died in Hotel des Indes. Her room number is never told. Too many guests might like to stay in her room.
General price range US$ 214 – 258

Paleis Hotel Molenstraat 26. Prices start at € 115. The back of the hotel overlooks the gardens of Palace Noordeinde, the Queen’s working palace. It is right in the centre of The Hague and close to elegant shopping streets. The rooms are beautifully decorated classic furniture, engravings and antiques. Breakfast served on hand-painted china, but is but not included.

I don't know much about clubs but here are a few addresses you might check out:

Paard van Troje, Prinsegracht 12 A
Club Live, Badhuisweg 3
De Tempel, Prins Hendrikstraat 39.

Fidler Brewpub Riviervismarkt 1, is right in the centre of the city and occupies two floors. I like the interior it is open plan and mock Victorian. There are big posters on the walls of Pears soap, hunting scenes and pages from mail order catalogues. There are not too many tables, but enough standing room. They have draught and bottled beer. Regular draught beers are: Brand Pils, Brand Imperator, De Koninck, Wiekse Witte and La Trappe Dubbel. Snacks and light meals are served.

De Paas Dunne Bierkade 16a is close to Den Haag Holland Spoor railway station. Marble top tables, bare floorboards and beermats stuck to the ceiling, low-key music give the place atmosphere. There are a few seats outside on the pavement. The USP is the barge on the canal in front with more seats. This canal is one of the few remaining canals in The Hague.

The Hague travelogue picture
CafĂ© Restaurant ’t Goude Hooft, Dagelijkse Groenmarkt 17, right in the city centre, looks unmistakably medieval, but it isn’t. The present-day building was built in the 1930s. However, its history goes back to 1423 when it first opened its doors and the innkeeper started serving food and beer. Beer is still being served today: Heineken and Vos on tap, but also bottled beers; Duval, La Trappe and Sol. ’t Goude Hooft is famous for its Dutch cuisine favourites: peasoup with smoked sausage, kroketten, uitsmijter, poffertjes, bitterballen, appeltaart. Outside facing the street is a terraced area; on a sunny day it is quite difficult to find an empty table. It is a perfect place to do some people watching as ’t Goude Hooft is right in the centre of The Hague.

Garoeda Kneuterdijk 18a, a restaurant which specialises in Indonesian cuisine. Try ‘rijsttafel’. It comprises 14 dishes, including pork and chicken satay, tofu, vegetables cooked in coconut milk and much more.

Other recommendations:
The Hague travelogue picture
The Passage a unique shopping centre under a glass roof. Built in imitation of a Milan shopping gallery in 1885. Most of the shop fronts haven’t been changed since. There are many exclusive shops. I especially like the one that specialises in fountain pens.

Haagse Bluf a shopping centre, not the shops but the architecture is interesting. It is a mixture of old and new styles which go very well together. If you have been wandering through The Hague some of the buildings may look. You are not mistaken. They are copies of some existing The Hague buildings. If you look closely you will see that the facades, perfect replicas of the originals, are put against the concrete fronts of the shops. The two fountains are not fakes, they are real 18th-century ones and come from France.

Seaside, the beach at Scheveningen is only a short tram ride away from the city centre. It is a wonderful, vast expanse of fine yellow sand. The best place to be on a hot, sunny day.

Published on Thursday October 2th, 2003

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Tue, Oct 07 2003 - 01:56 PM rating by spaceout

There`s a lot of interesting information.. I wonder if some art pieces were stolen from the Vredespaleis during both wars? I`ll make sure to stop in The Hague next time I`m in the Netherlands.. especially for the M.C. Esher museum..:-)

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