Things To Do in The Hague

Last Updated: May 16, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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Are you looking for things to do in The Hague?

You came to the right site. I’m a native of the Hague Area. This is where I spend my childhood. Even today, as a private tour guide, I still hold a special place for this area.

The Hague is the heart of Dutch politics and culture and one of the four major Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht are the others). There are so many things to do in the Hague. You quickly feel The Hague is stately.

This city is the political heart of the Netherlands. It’s also home to the Dutch royal family, has the most embassies, and is blessed with easy beach access.

The Hague is also well known for the Peace Palace and museums like the “Mauritshuis,” where you can see the most famous Vermeer painting in real life: “Girl With a Pearl Earring.”

Another must-stop on most itineraries is the miniature city of Madurodam.

For those of you that love food: The Hague is home to one of the largest Indonesian populations in the country, making this a top destination to savor the delicious cuisine. One of my favorite foods. But more about that later.

The Hague has plenty of things to do to make it a great day trip from Amsterdam. It just takes 50 minutes to get there. So let’s dive in and discover the city together.

Rijsttafel at Indonesian Restaurant in The Hague.
One of the best things to do in the Hague is to try Indonesian cuisine.

Exploring the Majestic Binnenhof

The Ridderzaal at the Binnenhof courtyard.
The Ridderzaal at the Binnenhof courtyard.

The first stop has to be the Binnenhof, the political hub of the Netherlands. And the most iconic place in The Hague. The Dutch grew up with images from this courtyard on the daily news.

Its rich history dates back to the 13th century. The Binnenhof is a testament to the Netherlands’ long-standing democratic tradition. Did you know the Binnenhof was once built as a castle? Before it became the home of parliament.

The most notable building is the Ridderzaal. This is where the King opens the political year every third Tuesday in September on “Prinsjesdag”, by presenting the budget. Other known sites are the prime minister’s turret and the Hofvijver Lake.

PS: fun fact did you know for a long time, prime minister Mark Rutte arrived by bicycle to work every day? He even went to visit the King after his cabinet was fallen on his bicycle. Unfortunately, that is not possible today anymore because of security reasons. But it tells you something about the Dutch mindset: “Doe Normaal” (act normal).

If you visit, remember this is a working parliament. To enter, you must be registered for a tour (English is available) and have an ID (not a copy). Things might also temporarily be closed off, even outside. Still, it’s worth a stop on your itinerary.

The Exquisite Art at Mauritshuis

One of the main things to do in The Hague is a visit to the Maurits house.

Leaving the Binnenhof, your next stop could be the Mauritshuis. This museum is an art lover’s dream, it might be small, but the works on display are larger than life.

It’s home to an incredible collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings. From painters like Rembrandt (the second largest collection in The Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum) and Johannes Vermeer with the most well-known painting of him in the world: “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

Other well-known names on display are Jan Steen, Rubens, Judith Leyster, and more. It’s a testament to the rich contribution of Dutch art during the golden age (17th century).

What’s nice about this museum is that you feel you walk through a house, not a big museum. And still are presented with this incredible art (and wallpaper, by the way.)

In my post about visiting The Netherlands from home, I have more fun materials to discover this museum from home and learn more about the “Girl With A Pearl Earring.”

Ready to visit in person? Secure your skip-the-line ticket here and support this website by doing so (at no cost to you).

Impossible Realities at the Escher Museum

The Escher palace. Be inspired by the mathematically inspired art that seems impossible at times.
The Escher palace. Be inspired by mathematically inspired art that seems impossible at times.

Another fantastic museum, but completely different, is the Escher Museum, dedicated to the works of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. His art, full of impossible constructions and explorations of infinity, is like a mind-bending journey through the surreal.

The museum is housed in a former royal palace. Walking through the museum, you will quickly be captivated by the interplay between reality and illusion. Escher was a graphic artist who created mathematically-inspired art that makes you look beyond the obvious.

For example, some of his most famous works, such as “Relativity” and “Ascending and Descending,” feature never-ending staircases that seem to loop back on themselves in impossible ways. Or the “Balcony,” where it feels like somebody punched the drawing from behind, making it look like the middle part sticks out.

Are you curious? You can buy your entrance ticket here before you go and be ready to be surprised!

The Symbol of Peace: Vredespaleis

The Peace palace and the international court of justice in The Hague.
The Peace Palace and the international court of Justice in The Hague.

The Vredespaleis, also known as the Peace Palace, is home to the International Court of Justice. This building symbolizes the enduring quest for world peace, and actual court cases between states are being held here.

The architecture of the Peace Palace itself is a reason to visit. The combination of Gothic and Renaissance styles combined with the surrounding peaceful gardens makes it an excellent location for photos and contemplating the idea of peace by law.

The building feels between a mix of a castle and an oversized church with its towers and stained glass windows.

Are you curious to see the inside of the peace palace? Then you’re in luck. Guided one-hour tours are possible in English. The tour is not well suited for small children. To learn more, visit the Peace Palace’s website for more information.

The Miniature City of Madurodam

Look at the great care of detail of this city hall in Madurodam.
Look at the excellent care of the detail here with this city hall in Madurodam.

Next is my favorite The Hague attraction: Madurodam. This miniature city provides a unique perspective on the entire country, presenting the Netherlands’ most iconic landmarks and landscapes in tiny, intricate details.

Tour groups and Dutch families alike love to visit the park. I hold dear childhood memories of this park. My grandparents took me here often. I remember summer nights when all the lights of the buildings came on. Or when I slid a coin in, and the fun fair and other marquees came to life. I was mesmerized. Small confession: I still am.

But also, as an adult, this place is special. The eye for detail is fantastic, and you get a fantastic overview of this country’s main sites of importance. The park might feel small, but if you truly stop to take in the details, you’ll spend more time than expected enjoying the marquees.

Every scene is a true-to-life replica of the real thing, from the bustling Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the traditional windmills of Kinderdijk. It is like having the whole country at your fingertips.

You can buy your fast-track tickets for Madurodam in advance via this link.

Unwinding at Scheveningen Beach

Scheveningen Beach Restaurants.
The Netherlands has a reputation for rain, but when the sun comes out, we know how to celebrate it.

Enough city? Why not head over to the beach? It’s just a short tram ride away. I’ve written a separate post about Scheveningen Beach here.

Touristy, maybe, but nothing beats the sounds of the waves, a wide sandy beach, and beautiful cocktails at one of the many beach bars and restaurants. It’s not just for summer days, either. Indoor beach restaurants can be just as cozy.

Savoring The Hague’s Signature Foods

A great example of the Indonesian classic Rijsttafel.
The Indonesian classic Rijsttafel – The Hague Partners Jurjen Drenth

The Hague is a fantastic place to sample Indonesian cuisine. It boasts some unique local specialties worth trying.

Must Try Local Snacks

Haagse Hopjes: These are traditional Dutch sweets originally from The Hague. They are hard candies with a delicious coffee and caramel flavor.

It is named after Baron Hendrik Hop, a resident of The Hague in the 18th century. According to the story, the Baron was so fond of coffee that he even had it in his candy!

Haagse Kakker: A fantastic sweet bread. It’s a rich, buttery loaf filled with raisins, almonds, and a cinnamon filling.

There’s no better place than the bakery where Haagse Kakker was first created: Bakkerij Hessing. This family-run bakery has been a staple in The Hague for over a century and is widely recognized as the original creator of this sweet, cinnamon-filled bread.

Haagse Kakker is best enjoyed fresh, so try to visit the bakery earlier in the day before they sell out. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea for a genuinely delightful Dutch treat.

Indonesian Cuisine in The Hague

As a city with a rich Indonesian heritage, The Hague offers an array of restaurants where you can savor authentic Indonesian flavors. From fine dining establishments to cozy family-run restaurants, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Indonesian cuisine in The Hague.

One highly recommended place is Restaurant Soeboer. Situated in the heart of the city, Soeboer is an iconic restaurant that has been serving a wide range of Indonesian dishes since 1958!

Not a person in The Hague that doesn’t know or has not eaten here.

Another well-regarded and long-standing Indonesian restaurant in The Hague is Bogor Roemah Makan. In operation since the 1960s, this restaurant has been serving delicious, home-style Indonesian food for a long timeโ€”a great place to try the famous “Rijsttafel,” a sample of everything.

For a more casual option, Eethuis Trio is a great choice. It’s a small, laid-back eatery offering a variety of Indonesian dishes.

At Trio Eethuis, you eat “Bami Goreng” Jakarta style. You should also not skip the “Pempek-Pempek” and “Otak-Otak.” But what you should make the detour for is the “Ayam Penyet.” According to many, the best satay in the Netherlands: crispy and deliciously spicy.

The Hague: More Than Just a City

The Hague city with the Binnenhof courtyard in the background by night.
The Hague City by Night – The Hague Partners Jurjen Drenth

If you’re planning a visit to the Netherlands, you can easily visit The Hague on a day trip from Amsterdam, but I highly recommend setting aside two or three days to explore this area well.

Delft is less than 15 minutes away, as is Rotterdam. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just someone looking to soak in the local culture, apart from Amsterdam, you’ll find plenty to do in this historic and politically important city and its surroundings.

Looking For a Fun Way To Get Around?

Of course, you can get around on your own, but if you are in the city between April and October and on a weekend day, you can also be transported in style on a hop-on-hop-off historical tram. It takes you to most tourist attractions in the city and the beach.

Take the nostalgic tourist tram around The Hague during summer season weekends.
Take the nostalgic tourist tram around The Hague during summer season weekends.

Prefer a more active tour? Why not join a guided bike tour? It’s a great way to learn more about this city, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with Google Maps yourself while also paying attention to traffic.

Take a guided bike tour around The Hague to learn more about this great city.
Take a guided bike tour around The Hague to learn more about this great city.

Which The Hague Activity Excites ๐ŸŒŸ You The Most?

Iโ€™d love to hear your thoughts: Which of the highlighted things to do in The Hague are you looking forward to the most and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation ๐Ÿ’ฌ.

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Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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