I’ve really enjoyed enjoyed my time in The Hague, it has a lot of cool places to see and things to do. It has a few different areas and they all feel very different from one another, the historical area looks and feels completely different and they are both unlike the beach which isn’t too far away.
After the modern buildings in Rotterdam it’s back to the old historical ones that I like in The Hague. The area around the Binnenhof in particular has some really neat looking architecture. As you walk more downtown into the shopping area you can see the buildings get more and more modern until they turn skyscrapers.
One of the main attractions in The Hague is the Escher Museum right in the middle of the historical area. It’s situated in the former Winter Palace of Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands, the whole museum takes up three floors (well two with Escher’s drawings and one with some newer interactive exhibits). The museum is really well laid out, as you make your way from the ground floor up it’s easy to see how Escher improved his techniques and evolved as an artist throughout his career. Definitely a worthwhile visit if you are here.
While I hadn’t heard of this before coming here, after seeing a brochure at the hostel about it I knew I had to see it. The Panorama Mesdag is an incredible panoramic painting of Scheveningen beach in the 19th century created by Hendrik Mesdag with the help of his wife and students. It’s 14 meters tall and around 120 meters long, simply amazing. You enter the Panorama by ascending a set of stairs into a pavilion which sits on top of a makeshift sand dune. The dune covers the bottom edge of the painting and the roof of the pavilion covers the top edge, which really helps with the illusion that you are actually in this place. For an extra euro you can get an audio guide which tells you about the painting with a background soundtrack of waves and seagulls. It’s probably my favorite piece of art that I’ve seen so far on this trip.
The other main attraction of The Hague is definitely the beach in the suburb of Scheveningen. It reminds me quite a bit of Santa Monica in LA, with a huge beach that seems to go on for miles and a big pier as the focal point. Except instead of having an amusement park on it, De Pier is full of little food stalls and restaurants most of the way along. I had dinner and drinks out on the deck of the pier, enjoying the sunset across the beach.
Lining the boardwalk of the beach is a huge array of big restaurants and bars, which were extraordinarily expensive and very busy. It would be a cool place to spend the night during the summer though, most of the places were right on the beach with sand floors. A very neat beach overall, and only a 30 minute tram ride from the city center.
I did all of the above after arriving in The Hague from Rotterdam about 11 in the morning, so that busy day combined with a night out in Grote Markt meant I was pretty tired the morning after. I checked out of the hostel and went for a walk down to the big park I saw on my map to relax. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting though, as I approached the Koekamp I could see that it was a big area fenced off from the public with a moat around it. As I walked the park around the edge I found out why, it’s some sort of reserve with heaps of reindeer roaming freely inside. There were a few lounging close to the fence which I sat and watched for a while.
Well that’s it for Den Haag, only spent a day there total but could have easily spent another there. I liked it a lot more than Rotterdam, had a much better feel to it and there was a few more places I want to go to. But oh well, I’m sitting next to the canal in Utrecht now.