The Hague

The Hague: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Published: December 29, 2021

The other capital of the Netherlands, for a long time the united provinces were suspicious of Amsterdam’s supremacy, so the king, government and parliament continue to sit in The Hague. The Hague is the third largest city in the country, but its pace of life is almost provincial. The history, arts and culture of The Hague attract many visitors.

01. Royal Palace

From the station, following an ordinary street, you eventually come to a small square. The courtyard of the Noordeinde Palace, where the sovereign comes to work, is aligned with the previous facades. Tourists stop here to photograph this symbol of the monarchy. A walk around the block gives free access to the park up to the palace gates.

02. Binnenhof

This large, composite building houses the country’s main political power. Both houses of parliament are located here and the Prime Minister has his own office. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also occupies part of the building. Despite this official activity, visitors can walk through the courtyards and enter some areas.

03. Mauritshuis

Although small in size, this museum of paintings has some of the most famous works, such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl. Based on its exceptional collection, originally royal, the museum also organises exhibitions mainly around the golden century of Dutch painting in the 17th century. The building, which dates from 1640, contains more than 800 works.

04. Raad van State

Founded by Charles V in 1537, the Council of State is housed in a former royal palace. The Council of State is the government’s advisory body for drafting laws and also serves as the supreme court for the country’s administrative justice. The king is the honorary president, while the actual work is carried out by a person appointed by the government.

05. Gevangenpoort

The former medieval prison remained in use until 1828, some of its prisoners were executed on the nearby square. Now a museum, the sinister building shows the conditions of detention and recalls some historical facts. The house next door houses a royal collection of paintings, now coupled with that of the nearby Mauritshuis.

06. St. James

This is the great historic church of The Hague, dating back to 1450, with a high six-sided brick tower overlooking the city centre and featuring a carillon of 51 bells. The church is dedicated to Protestant worship and hosts religious events of the royal family, such as baptisms and weddings, while they are traditionally buried in Delft.

07. The Hague Historical Museum

Like most large cities, The Hague has its own historical museum. Given the city’s role in the history of the country, the interest of the visit goes beyond the local context. There are many paintings of views of The Hague, as well as objects that were used by the royal family, which are both historical and cultural.

08. Escher Museum

This museum opened recently, in 2002, and although it is housed in a former royal palace, its collection of works by the painter Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is very different from other museums. Escher worked on perspective effects and trompe-l’oeil, creating compositions that challenge the eye and the mind.

09. Het Plein

The large square at the edge of the historic centre seems to be trying to keep the modern buildings that are already invading the heights of the urban horizon at bay. During the day, there are large terraces for restaurants and cafés, while the evenings are more lively under the gaze of William I, the prince of Orange who founded the Netherlands.

10. Gravenstraat

This is the city’s main shopping street. The street is now pedestrianised, although passers-by make way for the passing trams. There is a wide variety of shops, from window shopping to serious shopping. The architecture has a few surprises in store, such as this round shop or Le Passage, a covered shopping mall.

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12 comments

  1. This brought back many happy memories as The Hague was my very first trip to Europe way back in the fifties! It was all planned around seeing the Dutch Swing College band of which I was a great fan and I stayed with a Dutch family one of whose sons played in that famous jazz band. I had a wonderful time but being young, history and old buildings had little attraction for me, so I was very pleased to see your pictures and read your comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand that this must be a very special memory, the first of so many trips. It is true that the appreciation of monuments or history requires a certain level of culture that is difficult to master at such a young age. Travelling with curiosity allows to progressively increase the capacity of understanding, so this stay was like the first brick in the wall for you.

      Like

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