Top 3 Things to do in a Day in the Hague in the Netherlands

by | Jun 2, 2016 | Europe, Netherlands, The Hague Top Attractions | 3 comments

The Hague in Spring

We were in The Hague on a Sunday afternoon. The stores were all closed. Shopping is not on the list of top three things to do in The Hague.

The Hague is an hour from Amsterdam by car, bus or train. It is the most popular tourist destination in the Netherlands after Amsterdam.

With just an afternoon and evening in The Hague, we had to plan our itinerary. Here are the 3 things we did:

 

3. Stay overnight at a beach resort on the North Sea

Kurhaus Hotel on the North Sea

Rather than stay in the city centre, we booked at the Kurhaus Hotel on the North Sea.

This area of The Hague is called Scheveningen, an almost impossible name to pronounce. Some locals want to re-brand the name as The Hague Beach. Instead, the locals have started a marketing campaign to teach people how to pronounce the name. Try it!

Scheveningen[ˈsxeːvənɪŋə(n)] ( listen) [from Wikepedia]

The Kurhaus is a grand old hotel right on the beach

The main ballroom and concert hall looks like a museum with hand-painted ceilings and large chandeliers. We were the only people wandering around this magnificent room. Some commenters on Trip Advisor did not like the emptiness of the hotel, but we loved it.

The hotel fell into disrepair and was saved from demolition in 1975 when it was listed as a Dutch historic building. Last year, the owners declared bankruptcy. The new owners intend to return the Kurhaus to its former glory. They started their refurbishment with the restaurant where we had breakfast. For me, breakfast is the most boring meal of the day. Hot strong coffee and something sweet is enough. It was the best breakfast I have ever had! I had a debate with myself on the etiquette of wrapping a second helping in a napkin and stashing it in my bag for later. Etiquette won out but I am still thinking of the delicious salmon and cream cheese sandwich that I did not have!

Which artist would you like to see?

A plaque on the wall lists all the great artists who performed at the Kurhaus in its heyday. If you could go back in time, which concert would you choose? Before you pick The Stones, you might want to know what happened. Pandemonium reigned when a brawl broke out among staff, police and concertgoers. A half hour into their set, The Stones had to flee for their own safety. It has gone down in history as the shortest Stones concert. It was also the last concert at the Kurhaus.

Walk into the North Sea without getting your feet wet

If it had been warmer and less windy (if it ever gets warm and less windy on the North Sea), we would have strolled along the wide sandy beach. Instead we really enjoyed a stroll out on the long glass-domed pier, filled with bars and restaurants.

This picture is heavily photoshopped because I took it from inside the hotel just as we were leaving, a souvenir of the best breakfast ever, with a fabulous view!

Holland is famous for its fries. This bar found a good use for all those empty ketchup bottles.

 

2. Visit the Escher Museum

We went to The Hague to visit the Escher museum

Escher was my inspiration for visiting the Alhambra in Spain.

The art, of course, is fabulous if you are an Escher fan.

Here is a link to the museum: http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/?lang=en

Here are links to previous posts on Escher and the Alhambra

http://boomervoice.ca/the-alhambra-world-heritage-site-ali-baba-and-arabian-nights/

http://boomervoice.ca/alhambra-world-heritage-site-inspiration-for-artists-and-dreamers/

Day and Night is used by permission:

All M.C. Escher works © 2016 The M.C. Escher Company – the Netherlands. All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.mcescher.com

This was the most fun we have ever had in a museum.

First, we noticed the crazy chandeliers: skull and crossbones: an umbrella, musical instruments.

Time to Play

The third floor is filled with interactive optical illusions. We paid $5Euros for this souvenir of the optical illusion room.

Selfie of a selfie of a selfie

The museum is small. It was not crowded. We did not have to wait to play with all the optical illusion toys.

We had a great time.

A new way to use coloured pencils

We went into a museum store next to the museum. I was intrigued by this amazing portrait of Escher done in coloured pencils ….. literally done in coloured pencils.

… and now, my top pick for The Hague:

 

1. Visit the Peace Palace and the Wish Tree

The Peace Palace has the most wonderful name

The Peace Palace was built just over 100 years ago with money donated by American steel magnate and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. This is the pitch that convinced him to donate the money:

A temple of peace where the doors are open … for the peaceful settlement of differences between peoples.

Everyone needs a Peace Palace!

The Peace Palace reminded me of a famous folk song by Ed McCurdy, covered by many, including Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Cash, Serena Ryder:

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever had before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

The Peace Palace is the Seat of International Law because it is the home of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and International Court of Justice (the principal judicial body of the United Nations) and the Peace Palace Library.

I wish there had been a field trip to the Peace Palace when we were in law school.

Dove of Peace

We could not see the interior of the Peace Palace because it was too late in the day to join a guided tour. However, we had a lot of fun taking pictures just outside the gates.

Reach out. Lend a hand. Help someone.

What is your wish for the Wish Tree?

We wrote our wish for peace and tied it to the Wish Tree. This is part of an ongoing art installation around the world by Yoko Ono. These are her instructions:

Make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper. Fold it and tie it around a branch of a Wish Tree. Ask your friends to do the same. Keep wishing. Until the branches are covered with wishes.

The Carnegie Foundation sponsored a permanent home for the Wish Tree at the entrance to the Peace Palace.

We had a wonderful day in The Hague!

A Peace Palace and a Wish Tree are not fairy tales. They are real. You can visit.

You can give peace a chance.

Tours

The Peace Palace is not open to the public during the week. You can visit the Peace Palace and its courtrooms by joining a guided weekend tour.

Contact details

The Peace Palace
Carnegieplein 2
2517 KJ The Hague
Telephone: 070 – 302 42 42
Email: vredespaleis@carnegie-stichting.nl
Website: www.vredespaleis.nl

 

Please come back next week for: Bruges for breakfast, Ghent for lunch and Lille for dinner.

 

 

Rose Ann MacGillivray

Rose Ann MacGillivray

World Heritage Traveller at BoomerVoice.ca
I love visiting World Heritage Sites, celebrating the world’s most fascinating places and cultures, and most of all, having fun on a trip. Join me on the road to fun and fascinating places. Thanks for reading – and remember to add your e-mail below for updates!
Rose Ann MacGillivray