Indiguide: The Hague

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Being the third largest city in the Netherlands, it makes sense that The Hague is usually picked after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. However, being the capital city in the South Holland region, the residence of the Dutch Royal Family and the site for major political organisations, the town is always bustling with a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. It is a highly internationalised metropolis, but it never loses its folksy originality – offering some amazing experiences to visitors.

Get there

The best way to travel is by air: KLM are a great (and cheap!) choice for a round trip between Newcastle and Amsterdam Schiphol. Once you’ve reached the terminal, go to the train station which is directly beneath Schiphol Plaza. A ticket will cost €10.20 for the main stations, Den Haag Centraal or Den Haag Holland-Spoor – either will leave you close to The Hague city centre. Remember to get a travel card at the Tourist Information Office for unlimited access to public transport.

Sleep

If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend Hostel The Hague for its great value for money – they even offer a free beer on arrival. It is only a one minute walk from Grote Markt, where you can enjoy the jaunty ambience of the bars and clubs with the locals. You can also enjoy free live music from the hostel’s bar every night.

The Student Hotel and easyHotel are the medium choices and for a two-night stay, prices range from €118-€145. They are both situated near Binnenhof, the architecturally beautiful square surrounded by a composite of ornate parliament buildings. The Student Hotel is also only a two minutes from Holland-Spoor station.

If you decide to opt for luxury, stay in the renowned 132-year-old building, Hotel Des Indes, which is right at the heart of the city and close to the main sights such as Mauritshuis, Madurodam and Peace Palace.

Eat

The Hague offers an assortment of culinary experiences: Japanese, Italian, Chinese and Cantonese are the tastiest. For an inexpensive savour of Asian fusion, try Eazie (from €2,95- €7,50): you make your own meal from their special selection of fresh ingredients. Due to the history of Dutch East Indies from WWII, the Indonesian cuisine is unmissable here. Didong’s specialty is the rijsttafel (rice table) which offers delectable side dishes: rendang, egg rolls, chicken and pork satay.

You can also find yourself some delicious Dutch street food. My picks would be oliebollen, appelflap and, my favourite, stroopwafel. Oliebollen are basically Dutch doughnuts, or ‘oil balls’: New Year treats containing raisins and coated with powdered sugar. Although you can easily get stroopwafel packs from any store, it is much better to grab one or two from a stall.

See

As I’ve already mentioned, Binnenhof Square is beautiful. There are some amazing museums around too, especially Mauritshuis, and some picturesque parks.

Binnenhof,_The_Hague_-hu-1777

You can also get a tram to Scheveningen beach and witness the largest dive in the country. The annual New Year Dive is held on 1st January – it is certainly worth braving the freezing weather for!

Visit De Passage for some shopping, and to enjoy the quintessential European architecture. A quick seven-minute walk away is the amazing Chinatown – which leads you down to Spui to see the unique Dutch clothing departmental stores such as V&D and C&A.

Nightlife

This vibrant city has even more life after dark. The hottest spot for bars and clubs is Het Plein, where you can dance in the lovely old square of a cosmopolitan town. Close to Scheveningen, Crazy Pianos is the ideal place for music lovers, with a wide genre of live music from very talented pianists.

Cost

If you do everything you would like to, trips of two to three days should cost around €550 (£390) per person.

Photograph: Hubertl via Wikimedia Commons, Illustration:

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