Den Haag (The Hague) is home to many of the country’s judicial and administrative buildings as well as the International Criminal Court. As such, this is a very government oriented town, and many residents work for it. However, the city has fascinating architecture, an amazing array of parks, museums, and even a beach (head there for some great seafood restaurants on the boardwalk).The Hague may be more “stuffy” than youthful Amsterdam, but it is no less interesting.
Hostel prices – A dorm room in The Hague will cost you as little as $26 USD, or as much as $40 USD. There aren’t a lot of options for private rooms in hostels here, as there are few hostels. A twin room costs around $60 USD.
Budget hotel prices – For a hotel right on the beach, you’ll pay $80 USD per night for a double room. For a hotel on the outskirts, pay a reduced price of around $50 USD. Hotels in the center are expensive and should be avoided.
Average cost of food – You can buy cheap meals such as pizza, gyros, and sandwiches for about $6. For a meal in a restaurant, you’ll spend about $25 USD for a main dish and drink. Expect to spend $40-55 USD per week on groceries.
Transportation – The Hague has a reliable public transit system known as the Randstadrail. You can buy a day ticket for $9 USD or single tickets for $3.50 USD.
Money Saving Tips
Skip the restaurants – Eating out in this city can be pretty expensive. All those European officials drive prices up. Save yourself some money and eat at little sandwich shops or buy your own food.
Top Things to See and Do
Walk around the Plein – This square occupies the center of town, and is filled with historical buildings of medieval interest. The north side of the square is hopping during the summer months and lined with restaurants and bars.
Take a tour of the Mauritshuis – Although the tour of this museum won’t take more than an hour, it contains a royal picture gallery of William V, Johannes Vermeer, and Andy Warhol. Pay $16 USD for the audio tour.
Visit the Museum de Gevangenpoort – The Gevangenpoort has an extensive history. In the 1400s it was a prison but for the past two centuries has been a museum. It’s interesting to walk through and learn about medieval torture.
Shop along Denneweg – Although some of the restaurants in this area are pretty upscale, you can walk down the main street here, window shop and stop off at a pub for lunch.
Relax in Westbroekpark – If you want to get away from the touristy parts of the city, come to this serene park, which has over 20,000 types of roses that bloom between June through November.
Visit the Hague Municipal Museum – If you’re an art lover, don’t miss this museum. It contains some of the early works of Picasso, Monet and van Gogh.
Visit the Binnenhof – Learn about the country’s history as you visit the Binnenhof. It looks like a palace and is where the Dutch government resides, where the Dutch throne is located and where the Queen delivers her speech to parliament every year. Whether you’re a history buff or not, it’s a fascinating place to spend the afternoon.
Head to the beach – The Hague is right near the water and during the summer months, it’s a popular destination for people to visit. There are also a lot of good restaurants on the beach too.
See Mini Holland at Madurodam – This miniature version of Holland contains a selection of Dutch architecture, ranging from Amsterdam’s canals and church spires from Utrecht and Den Bosch, to modern architecture from Rotterdam and the enormous Delta works that protect the country from the sea. Madurodam also has an airport, a seaport, beaches, and little cars and trains running through the entire town.
Check out the Escher Museum – M. C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist whose work is famous all over the world. This museum is dedicated entirely to him and gives an interesting overlook of his life’s work. For about $11 USD, you get to wander 2 floors worth of exhibits and make some art of your own.
Visit the Ridderzaal Knights hall – Originally built between the 13th and 14th centuries, this castle once belonged to the Earls of Holland. The building is visually striking and the interior is filled with famous wood carvings.
Walk through the Japanese Garden – Originally designed and constructed during the 1870’s, this garden is a beautiful alternative to the Dutch culture that is predominate throughout The Hague. It is complete with a tea-house, beautiful rocks laid out in manicured areas, Japanese lanters and statues, and plenty of idyllic pathways lined by flowers. Admission is free.
Eat raw herring – There’s no better place to try this Dutch specialty than along the coast. Raw herring is eaten pickled, covered in onions, and whole. You pick it up by the tail and shove it in your mouth. It’s known as “Hollandse nieuwe,” and you can always find stalls selling it at the markets.