Glimpses of the neighborhood
25.06.2016 17 °C
Despite being the judicial capital of the world, The Hague is not actually a dry, boring, legalistic place to be in. It is actually a beautiful city with plenty of things to see and do. Both the Dutch Royal Family and the Prime Minister lives here instead of living in the capital, Amsterdam, that should be a telling sign that this city is a somewhat hidden tourist gem. Personally, I rank the Hague as my number one city in the Netherlands, ahead of many popular cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Delft and Utrecht. This city has a long coastline, a large green areas, eclectic and art nouveau architecture plus a vibrant multicultural scene. Unlike other Dutch cities with narrower streets due to the canal, the Hague feels like another continental city with her wider streets and avenues.
There are two main ways to get to the Hague, I recommend taking the train because of its convenience. If you are coming from Amsterdam, the train from Schiphol will take you straight to Den Haag Centraal (the central train station) in under an hour. If you are coming from other international location such as Moscow, Berlin, Paris, Copenhagen and Basel, an easy transit can be made in Utrecht. If you are driving, please note that the Dutch has speed cameras everywhere and it is one of the few cities in the world that I get speeding tickets (I was generally careful). Watch your speed limit, things can get pretty expensive rather fast. Den Haag Centraal is a good place to alight because the city center is just a mere 5 minutes of walking distance. You can see stately mansions just a short moment upon arrival without going far away from the city center, imagine that. This city is compact and is very pedestrian friendly. Even though it is well serviced by trams, I recommend just going on foot everywhere you go (the beach is an exception unless you fancy a 2 km walk to the coast)
The Lange Voorhout is one the places close to the central station. It is a large tree lined square. There is a very good antique and book market every Thursdays and Sundays. If you are hunting for unique souvenirs, this is the place to go.
Bordered with grand townhouses that is currently occupied by embassies or other international organizations
My preferred accomodation- Hotel Des Indes is on this square
This hotel is in the "splurge" category and has been housing foreign dignitaries, celebrities and musicians. Even if you are not staying here, it is worth checking out the uber luxurious lounge and bar for the excellent afternoon tea or fancy dinner.
I don't mind walking up and down these stairs instead of just taking the elevator like usual.
Waking up with all the curtains around me feels like I am in a Victorian Era bedroom (please forgive the messy bed).
Hilton, on the other hand, actually looks more boring in this city.
The Hague is very laid back and relaxed compared to Amsterdam where there is almost always some attraction going on somewhere. Be it a walk in the park or a walk in the neighborhood, you will find tranquility on top of friendly locals, a precious commodity not found in major cities. When in the park, you might be invited to join a casual ball game.
Or you could just sit by the pond and relax.
I have no idea what these stuff are for in the park.
The Dutch preferred bicycles and this lifestyle is healthier as you will rarely see overweight people going about.
Plenty of bikes parked at residential areas.
And some fancier family friendly bike
The area is quite pedestrian friendly and as mentioned earlier, you can virtually explore everything on foot. There are also dedicated footpaths in most of the area. A little bit of extra wandering will allow one to some nice buildings and scenery too.
Some buildings have interesting poetry on their walls
Sometimes, if you are lucky, there will be some spontaneous live music.
Vienna still have better street music in my opinion but the stuff in The Hague is quite good as well.
The next entry of the Hague will cover the more touristy aspect of the city. Until next time