When I mentioned to friends that I was visiting The Hague - a few blank expressions came back at me. It would seem The Hague isn’t the most well known city in the Netherlands, but it definitely needs to be on your radar.
Truth be told, I knew nothing much about The Hague before visiting. A quick google told me it’s the third largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It has a population of more than 1 million and is the seat of government of the Netherlands (but the constitutional capital is Amsterdam).
What I did however quickly discover after spending two nights in The Hague is that is a wonderfully charming, relaxing and interesting city which I’d strongly recommend you visit. If you’re one for Amsterdam then you’ll be partial to The Hague too (you may even prefer the latter as it’s so much more calming, clean and far more chilled). Here’s what my boyfriend and I got up to one very sunny weekend in Den Haag.
WHERE I STAYED
This trip was in collaboration with Hotel Indigo who invited me to stay at Hotel Indigo The Hague - Palace Noordiende over the weekend. Full disclosure over I’ll also mention this: I would wholeheartedly stay here again should I find myself coming back to The Hague. Reasonably priced, well designed and an ideal central location are just some of the hotel’s most attractive attributes.
The hotel itself was once a bank and still has many features in tact - the vault space is now the private events space and each room features the original doors which were once home to bank managers and their PA’s. Even the room’s amenities are stored in their very own vault. Luckily, the code is pretty easy to crack. There’s a touch of art deco design throughout the hotel and nods back to the banking world feature on the corridor walls and in the marble bathrooms. Breakfast is a help yourself buffet spread with your choice of hot dish to order and downstairs in the bar you’ll find yourself the perfect tipple. Don’t even get me started on how beautiful the lobby space is - I must have photographed it from every angle.
Finally, the location is pretty perfect for exploring The Hague. We could see the royal palace from our window and you’re just moments away from the city’s cobbled streets. Speaking of which, shall we start exploring?
WHAT TO SEE
The Mauritshuis - The home of many Dutch paintings from the Golden Age. Don’t miss Vermeer’s famous Girl with the Pearl Earring or Fabritius’ Goldfinch.
Escher in het Paleis - A museum housed in a palace showcasing the works of Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher.
Panorama Mesdag - a 360 degree panoramic painting of Sheveningen in 1881 by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Created in a purpose built museum, the cylindrical painting stands at 14 meters high and can be viewed from the central viewing gallery. From the look of the painting, you’d think this took Mesdag his lifetime to paint, however facts informed me it just took a year!
Peace Palace - The base for the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Also the most photographed building in The Hague.
Gemeentemuseum - Another art museum, this time one filled with modern art and famous for having the largest Mondrian collection. Also a really beautiful art deco building itself.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK
Bistro Pomona - The place that makes you fall in love with a pink & green colour combination. The new kid on the block does brunch, friendly staff and heart eyes interiors.
Restaurant Palmette - We booked this place last minute for our first night, which also happened to be Valentine’s night. Heart balloons filled the room but whilst that wasn’t to my boyfriend’s taste, the food was. And service was great too.
Frites Atelier - Essentially a fancy chip shop, but you won’t hear any complaints from me.
Walter Benedict - A trendy little spot in my favourite area. This is the kind of place that all the locals go to on their Friday night catch-ups with friends.
Jamey Bennett - For toasties and drinks in the sun, served with a side of people watching.
Restaurant Tapisco - A fancy Basque restaurant with good interior game.
WHERE TO VISIT
Scheveningen Pier - The seaside. We couldn’t have asked for milder February weather and on this particular day it was a no-jackets kinda day so we took ourselves down to the beach for the afternoon. We strolled across the sand, shells crunching as we walked and watched the waves come in. Head up to the deck to get yourselves a seat in the sun and watch the sunset as it happens.
Denneweg - Once the go-to destination for antique shops, it’s now a must visit for lifestyle shops and design. My favourite area to wander around.