Since December 16 2020, the Netherlands (known by many as Holland) is in a relatively strict lockdown in an attempt to bring down the high number of COVID-19 contaminations. Bars and restaurants are closed just as the shops with the exception of food stores, pharmacies and drug stores. During this lockdown, we are staying in The Hague which, although not the capital of the country, where the home of the Dutch government. We have this extraordinary situation for historical reasons and it makes the city of The Hague more interesting and definately worth a visit. I hope lots of tourists will visit the remarkable town after the coronavirus pandemic is behind us. In this blog you can see over 30 pictures I took over the last days with my iphone.
About The Hague
The capital is Amsterdam while the seat of government and the royal capital is The Hague. The Hague is the Netherlands’ third largest city but more importantly it is also the international city for peace and justice. The international Peace Palace with the international court of justice and the international criminal court is in The Hague. Also Europol is based in The Hague.
Henk Travel's Stories
Henk Schrama normally travels around the world but COVID has changed all that. Due to the pandemic he is happy to be stuck in his home country. Here he explores the city that he currently lives in: The Hague.
The vibrant city of The Hague has come to a total stand still
Normally The Hague is a lively city. But during the lockdown all the government buildings are closed and all civil servants are working from home. That means that the city has changed into a giant silent sleeping city where only a few people are walking through the normally crowded streets and alleys. But thanks to the great weather during the first two days of the lockdown, 16th and 17th December 2020, we were able to make two long walks:
- The first walk we made in the neighborhood of the Peace Palace. This neighborhood was built around 1900s with many houses in a typical Art Nouveau style .
- The second walk we made trough the city center. We walked trough the Palace Gardens, a beautiful Old Passage with a glass roof, the houses of parliament, the King’s cabinet and the famous hotel Des Indes, where in the days of yore the high ranking colonists on leave from the Dutch East Indies stayed.
Of course in this situation it was not difficult to avoid crowds. Crowds were absent. As a result we could view everything at our leisure. We took all measures seriously. We wore face masks, social distanced from all others and washed our hands frequently.
How to get to The Hague
The Hague is situated about 55 kilometers south of Amsterdam. You can easily take a train to The Hague’s central station from Amsterdam. It takes you about 40 minutes and the station is located in the heart of the city. From the station everything worth seeing is in walking distance.
You can easily spend a day in The Hague if you want to escape the crowds in Amsterdam.
Short history of The Hague
Although The Hague was founded in its current form in 1893 during a peace conference, it has a vast and much longer history. It started as a residence and ended up as a city. Die Haghe, a residence that was founded by Flouris IV, started in the middle ages around 1230. At this time, there was serious disagreement among the landowners. And ultimately, Die Haghe was removed due to the clashes of dutches.
Then, the Hague became the seat of the legislative assembly in 1443. It developed itself as a central government but fell into poverty due to the war of eighty years. Due to some people’s intervention, it was again developed as the Republic of the Netherlands’ official central government in 1588. Around 1600, it reached high again. Many mansions and palaces started to be built.
In the 18th century, it became more important due to its economic stability. Prince of Oranje- Nassau William Frederik came to the beach of Scheveningen. And in this way, Hague did not only became a regal government but also home to Dutch royals. That’s why it is also known as Hofstad. In 1880, the city started to grow larger. Finally, a peace conference was held to prevent war. And the peaceful city came into being.
You can roll around with the help of a taxi at a reasonable price. It costs you according to kilometers, and per km fare is $2.25. For a healthier option, you can also rent a bicycle for $8 per day.
Another choice is Uber. As we all are living in an online world, one can easily get an uber through his phone and gaze around the city without any effort of finding a taxi. However, Uber is not a cheaper choice. Public transport is the best mode of transportation to get around the city. A single ticket costs you around $4.5, while some buses also give a special deal for the entire day at $8.
The Dutch kitchen isn’t world renowned but has some delicious alternative fast food. You can for example try the famous Poffertjes. These are mini puff pancakes called Poffertjes in the Dutch Language. Will Pancake House is a must-visit in the Hague if you want to taste some real Dutch pancakes. Croquet rolls, which are known as broodje kroket in Dutch, are definitely mouth-watering. Visit Slagerij Dungelmann to have some scrumptious Broodje Kroket. For fish lovers, Haring is the traditional option. The Dutch call it Hollandse Nieuwe, which literally means ‘Dutch New Haring.’ Alternatively you can try deep-fried fish such as ‘Lekkerbekjes’ or ‘Kibbeling’.
Best time to visit
If you don’t want to miss the beach fun with a sun tan, then you should visit in the summers as it is the peak season of The Hague. But in the summer, travel prices are at the maximum and it can get crowded. Many festivals are held during this season, so art and culture fans will probably love a visit in the summers. In winter, you can get lower prices. The temperature in winter is not so intense; it is moderate due to the Dutch sea climate.
Three things to see in Hague
Here are three things that you should not miss on your visit to The Hague.
With these three tips you can discover the beauty of The Hague. Home to the Dutch Parliament, The Hague is a fascinating place to explore! Delve into Dutch history dating back to the 16th century and get the full experience out of this intricate city.
Besides being the Dutch Government’s residence, Binnenhof is one of the major tourist attractions in The Hague. If you’re interested in politics, then take a guided tour to Binnenhof, and you’ll come to know what’s happening in the Netherlands. The picturesque location is worth visiting. It is a big castle, now converted into a parliament house. The big fort now is also the office and residence of the prime minister. Plus, the queen used to deliver a speech here, gives it an imperial significance. Don’t forget to visit the centerpiece of the castle, Knights Hall.
The Binnenhof is home to the Dutch government and includes the government and prime minister’s offices.
2. Scheveningen with its pier
Scheveningen is an avenue that runs along the seaside. Long ago, in the 20th century, it was merely an old village, and now it has become a seaside resort. The boulevard includes shopping malls, restaurants, and much more entertainment, making it one of the main tourist attractions. Moreover, Scheveningen beach becomes very crowded during the summer months. It is a romantic destination if you’re visiting with your partner. Don’t forget to take instagrammable photos in front of the Ferris wheel. Grand Hotel Kurhaus is not to be missed. You can experience sunset viewing at the terrace of the hotel while enjoying evening tea. Or you may opt for a morning breakfast at the peaceful terrace.
Scheveningen, is The Hague’s major beach areas and features a massive pier.
3. The peace palace
Another historical building reminds us that The Hague was founded on peace – it is where the peace conference was held. Presently, it accommodates the International Court of Justice and Permanent Court of Arbitration. The building is made up of both Gothic and neoclassical styles. The palace houses a library where you can go and continue reading peacefully. Also, there are statues of peace campaigners worldwide, including Andrew Carnegie, Nelson Mandela, and Jawaharlal Nehru.