It’s one of those places that you always hear about, but not a place that many people know much about. The Hague is where the Dutch Government sits, even though Amsterdam is that country’s official capital. It is also the city where the official residence of the Dutch monarchy is based, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they choose to live there.
One of the reasons why we hear about events taking place in The Hague is because it is an official United Nations city, and where the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court sit, so that every time there is an international dispute, or some despot is charged with crimes against humanity, they attend court in The Hague.
So with all that bureaucracy centred in The Hague you may get the impression that it is quite a boring city. Not quite true, for while bureaucrats may be boring during working hours, afterwards they do like to party somewhat.
The Hague is actually the third biggest city in the Netherlands. It is a coastal city that is located 50km (31 miles) southwest of Amsterdam and 22km (14 miles) NW of Rotterdam, and within its city centre and suburbs live about one million people.
In the Dutch language the name of the city is Den Haag, and it is actually quite a cosmopolitan town which just bursts with style and culture. Being a city of bureaucrats, The Hague is also something of a showcase city that is full of magnificent parks, elegant homes and some lovely public buildings.
The Hague has eleven kilometres of coastline, and Scheveningen Beach is very popular with locals and visitors. Apart from its long, sandy beach Scheveningen also has a grand boulevard, a large pier, aquarium and casino as well as many other attractions.
As the “Royal City”, and boasting a royal family that is far more approachable than its British counterpart, there are a number of royal buildings that you can visit. One of these is the Noordeinde Palace, which is the official residence of the reigning Monarch King Willem-Alexander, although he also has other residences within the city that he uses.
Members of the Royal Family don’t mind mixing with the locals, and one of their favourite places to shop is Maison de Bonneterie, which is a famous department store of Hoogstraat. The Hoogstraat, Molenstraat and Plaats, which are located near the royal palaces, have many beautiful shops that are positively brimming with expensive haute couture, exclusive shoe shops and some gorgeous jewellery stores.
Although The Hague doesn’t attract as many visitors as Amsterdam, it is worth visiting because it is both an attractive and interesting city, and also one of the world’s most environmentally friendly cities too.