Located on the coast of the North Sea and in the unofficial North Wing (or Noordvleugel) of Holland, The Hague (or Den Haag) is the seat of the Netherlands government, and the home to the Dutch Royal Family. It’s known for the 16th Century Noordeinde Palace, the King’s workplace, and the Binneholf complex: the seat of the Dutch parliament. This Dutch city is also home to the International Criminal Court and the United Nations International Court of Justice, located in the Peace Palace.
As the third largest city in the Netherlands, The Hague has numerous art museums, scenic gardens, a beautiful beach, a diverse culinary scene, and nearly eight centuries of documented history behind it. You can visit historic buildings from the middle ages (the current Houses of Parliament or the Prison Gate Museum) or see modern art at Kunstmuseum Den Haag. There are fun things all around in The Hague, including attractions for art lovers, history buffs, and foodies.
The city center is the most touristy area, with more than forty museums and landmarks within walking distance. But there are also art galleries, restaurants, boutique shops, and plenty of cafes. However, if you don’t fancy staying in this part of town, the incredible public transportation system with trams and buses allows for easy access to landmarks from anywhere in the city.
Keep reading for some of the best things to do in The Hague, including group bike tours, exclusive tickets to impressive landmarks, and even white-knuckle roller coasters. And if you need a place to crash, book a room at one of the best hotels in The Hague.
Best Things to Do in The Hague, Netherlands
1. Visit Escher in the Palace (Escher in Het Paleis)
Address: Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH Den Haag, Netherlands
One of the most magnificent displays of optical illusions in The Hague is the Escher Museum at The Palace. Over 120 works of Maurits Cornelis (usually referred to as M.C.) Escher are on permanent display at the former winter palace of Queen Mother Emma.
Escher in Het Paleis (Escher in the Palace) showcases the Dutch printmaker’s fascinating works, using illusion and wonder to draw people in. His most popular works include the twenty-three-foot-long Metamorphosis III, which focuses on infinity and eternity, and the multiple-reality print Relativity. Likened to a magician on paper, M.C. Escher’s works will inspire people of all ages.
Located in the historic museum quarter, the former palace is the only public building in The Hague where you can experience the historic ambiance of the royal palace and the awe of this modern artist. This museum dedicated to M.C. Escher is one of the most unique things to do in The Hague, blending royal history with modern magic. A discounted ticket to the Escher Museum can be purchased here.
Stay nearby to relax and rest your head when you’ve had enough sightseeing for the day. The Bed and Breakfast Geliefd is a perfect choice, with a garden, a terrace, and a shared kitchen for your convenience. You can watch any streaming service with free Wi-Fi and wake up to a delicious free breakfast.
See Related: Best Museums in the Hague, Netherlands
2. Have fun at Drievliet Amusement Park
Address: Laan van ‘s-Gravenmade 81, 2495 BD Den Haag, Netherlands
The Drievliet Amusement Park is a perfect spot to entertain young and old alike. This Dutch theme park has everything from magic shows and children’s activities to adventurous roller coasters.
Want to blast away up to 45 miles per hour or free fall into the water? This amusement park has rides for you! Of course, no worries if you’re a little more cautious, as there are gentle rides for smaller kids and fun entertainment like pirate and jungle-themed shows. You can also catch a 5D movie in their theater if you’re looking for a way to get out of the sun.
Stay nearby at the 4-star Holiday Inn The Hague – Voorburg, an IHG Hotel, where you can dine at the onsite restaurant and enjoy drinks at the bar. This hotel is conveniently located next to the train station.
See Related: Best Family-Friendly Hotels in Amsterdam
3. See Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson at the Mauritshuis Museum
Address: Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag, Netherlands
The Mauritshuis Museum is next to the government center in the heart of The Hague. As one of the most iconic buildings in The Hague, this 17th Century monument houses hundreds of Dutch paintings.
This museum is home to some of the best paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and Potter’s The Bull. Although this museum has several world-renowned paintings, it’s a fairly small collection, with just over 200 pieces.
It’s a good idea to purchase a Mauritshuis Entrance Ticket ahead of time, especially during the high season. Plan on spending about an hour and a half at this Dutch Golden Age museum, but you’re more than welcome to stay longer.
Stay nearby at the boutique hotel Ravioli Brothers, where you can gamble at their onsite casino, relax at the bar, or enjoy watching TV from your comfortable bed.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Amsterdam, Netherlands
4. Take a Walk in the Park at Landgoed Clingendael
Address: 2244 VH Wassenaar, Netherlands
The park at Landgoed Clingendael is one of the most stunning estates in Holland (or in the Netherlands), with a special Japanese garden, several winding trails, a climbing fort, and a tearoom.
Kids will especially love the climbing fort while you sit and relax (in between gleeful shouts of “Look at me, Mommy!”). People of all ages love to walk and ride bikes on the wide footpaths here, with nature intertwined along the way.
However, the real showstopper is the Japanese Garden, which is only open a few weeks out of the year. Opened in the early 20th Century, this 75,000-square-foot lush garden contains fragile plants, rare trees, and stone lanterns. If you visit The Hague in May or October, you may get a chance to see the Japanese Garden.
You can either begin your day at the park’s tearoom or end your afternoon there. With a kid’s small play area and a children’s menu, you can happily bring your kids and Fido, too.
A stay at the nearby La Paulowna Boutique Hotel is a solid choice. If you’ve got your kids in tow, their family rooms will be a hit; otherwise, adults will enjoy the onsite restaurant and bar.
See Related: Best Parks in Amsterdam to Visit
5. See Holland in Miniature Form at the Madurodam
Address: George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands
There’s nothing like seeing all of the famous Dutch landmarks at a 1:25 scale, but that’s exactly what this theme park is about. Madurodam is a fun experience for all ages, and you can “travel” to other parts of the Netherlands without ever leaving The Hague.
Madurodam has over 300 miniatures and fun features like small replicas of windmills, the Peace Palace (the size of an adult), playgrounds, and interactive fun. Kids will love moving the boats, trains, and cars around, while adults may enjoy seeing what a Dutch cheese shop looks like.
It’s a good idea to purchase a Madurodam Miniature Park Entry Ticket, especially if you plan on visiting during the high season. This is one of the most unique things to do in The Hague, so make sure to plan your itinerary ahead of time.
See Related: Best Museums in Europe to Visit
6. Explore the Many Historic Buildings of the Binnenhof
Address: 2513 AA The Hague, Netherlands
Located in the heart of the city, the Binnenhof is a collection of some of the oldest buildings in the Netherlands. What started as a Gothic castle in the 13th Century (for the counts of Holland) became the Dutch Republic’s political center in the 16th Century. The Knights Hall here was built in the 13th century.
The Binnenhof houses the office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of General Affairs and is the meeting place for both houses of the States General. (While the Prime Minister works here, he lives at The Catshuis.) If you visit The Hague in September, you may see the King or Queen’s Speech in a joint sitting of Parliament.
It is worth a trip to see one of the world’s oldest Parliament buildings, especially knowing it is still in use eight centuries after it was built. A guided Old City Private Walking Tour is the best way to learn about the area, including facts about Van Oldenbarnevelt being decapitated and the DeWitt brothers being assassinated.
7. Visit the Death Cell at Oranjehotel World War II Prison
Address: Van Alkemadelaan 1258, 2597 BP Den Haag, Netherlands
History lovers will appreciate visiting this WWII prison where the occupying Nazis held over 25,000 prisoners, including Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of the Resistance, and other undesirables. Dutch residents could also be imprisoned for violating German regulations – or even just looking the wrong way at a German soldier or member of the Gestapo.
It was named Oranjehotel during the war as a tribute to the imprisoned Resistance members, orange being the national color of the Netherlands, and used as a symbol of resistance during the war. A total of 250 prisoners met their ultimate fate here, sentenced to death by firing squad. If you’re up for it, you can also visit the notorious death cell, Witness Cell 601.
With the audio guide, you’ll hear stories from some of the prisoners while looking at photos and reading documents. Some stories are of hunger and injustice, but others tell stories of freedom and hope.
Visitors to this prison will also learn about the building’s history and the rise of the resistance. It’s a good idea to purchase an Oranjehotel World War II Prison Entrance Ticket before you go, especially if you’re visiting The Hague during the busy summer months.
See Related: How Close Was Germany to Winning WW2?
8. Have Fun in the Sun at Scheveningen Beach
Address: Seinpostduin 22, 2586 EG Den Haag, Netherlands
This seaside resort town is perfect if you’re looking for a place to go swimming, surfing, walking, and frolicking. The area has endless beaches, a long boulevard, and an iconic pier.
Only a fifteen-minute drive from The Hague, Scheveningen Beach has many fun things to do, including full-day Surfing lessons. These lessons are an awesome way to experience the beach, with the certified instructor teaching you everything you need to know, beginning with safety. Then it’s time to hop on your board and have fun.
After a day in the sun, head inside and see penguins, a playful otter named Max, and hundreds of tropical fish. You’re also in the neighborhood of The Hague Sea Life. A Sea Life Entry Ticket is a hot item and this popular attraction can be an excellent way to spend your afternoons once you’re tired of the sun and sand.
See Related: Best Beaches in the Netherlands to Visit
9. Visit the Antique Cars at the Louwman Museum
Address: Leidsestraatweg 57, 2594 BB Den Haag, Netherlands
Car enthusiasts will get a real kick out of visiting the Louwman Museum, with a collection of motorcycles, coaches, and cars. You’ll be head over wheels in love when you step inside.
As one of the area’s most important museums, you’ll see everything from Formula 1 to antique cars in this incredible 200+ car collection. Automobile collectors consider this museum to house some of the most beautiful cars in the world.
If you get hungry while admiring this amazing collection, stop at the restaurant for a bite, and then buy some fun automobilia and model cars from the gift shop. A Louwman Museum Entry is a hot ticket year-round, so purchase a ticket before you come.
See Related: Best Car Museums in Italy
10. Admire the King’s Working Palace (Noordeinde Paleis)
Address: Noordeinde 68, 2514 GL Den Haag, Netherlands
Noordeinde Palace is one of three official palaces in The Hague and is currently used as the workplace of King Willem-Alexander. It has been a palace for the royal family since the early 17th Century when it was given as a gift to the widow of William of Orange. The official residence of the royal family is Huis ten Bosch Palace.
While the Noordeinde Palace isn’t open to the public, you can visit the Palace Gardens for peace and quiet or take pictures of the palace from the street. You can also see the Royal Stables next to the park, where the coaches and horses of the Dutch royal family are kept. Unlike many European palaces, the Noordeinde Paleis is located amid modest shops and boutiques, so you may stumble upon the palace while checking out the latest fashion trends.
11. Visit the Peace Palace in The Hague
Address: Carnegieplein 2, 2517 KJ Den Haag, Netherlands
Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie is responsible for establishing the Peace Palace, an international law building that houses the Peace Palace Library, The Hague Academy of International Law, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the International Court of Justice. Carnegie donated over a million dollars toward the Peace Palace under the condition that it would house an exemplary public legal library.
A relaxing walking tour through The Hague is one of the best ways to experience the Peace Palace. The Peace Palace is only open for a few days a year, but the Visitor Center offers historic films and displays that tell about the work done here. If you’re lucky enough to visit when they’re open, you can learn about the works of art decorating the palace and tour all the main rooms, including the beautiful Japanese Room.
Outside the Peace Palace is World Peace Flame Pathway, which contains a stone pillar with a modest flame. Surrounding the flame are stones donated from almost every country, showing solidarity in a goal for peace.
See Related: Best Castles in the Netherlands for History Buffs
12. Experience the Seaside at the Mesdag Museum
Address: Zeestraat 65, 2518 AA Den Haag, Netherlands
The Mesdag Museum offers a fully immersive 360-degree work of art called the Panorama Mesdag. Mesdag was part of a movement of artists in The Hague School, residing in the area between 1860-1890. Often referred to as Grey School, members of The Hague School are known to paint in more somber colors.
Artist Hendrik Willem Mesdag created this masterpiece of Scheveningen Beach in the late 19th Century, and visitors can experience it firsthand. It’s a 360-degree painting, allowing visitors to the Mesdag Museum to walk around and “see” the dunes, sea, flat-bottomed boats, beach carriages, fishermen, and horses in Scheveningen.
You’ll feel instantly transported to the old fishing village in 1881 when you look at the Panorama Mesdag. A Panorama Mesdag Museum Entry Ticket is important to purchase beforehand, as the lines can be long at the Mesdag Museum year-round.
See Related: Amsterdam Day Trip to Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Marken
13. Try Some Indonesian Food
Address: various locations in The Hague
Visitors to the Netherlands will find some of the best Indonesian food, condiments, and spices (short of being in Indonesia). Because Indonesia is a former Dutch colony, many Indonesian dishes have become mainstream Dutch cuisine.
Enjoy Nasi Padang at Waroeng Padang Lapek, Rijsttafels at Indonesisch Restaurant Keraton Damai V.O.F., or Ikan Pepesan at Istana Indonesisch Restaurant.
You’ll also find Indonesian fast food and buffets at a more reasonable price, such as Toko Nusantara, Restaurant Bogor, and Dayang Eethuis & Afhaalcentrum. Menikmati! (Enjoy!)
See Related: Best Restaurants in Amsterdam
14. Enjoy the Architecture at the Old City Hall
Address: Dagelijkse Groenmarkt 1, 2513 AL Den Haag, Netherlands
Whether you’re an art lover or appreciate old architecture, visiting Old City Hall is worth it. Located near the Grote Kerk, the Renaissance-style Old City Hall is the former seat of The Hague’s local government.
Today, it is a place for special events like weddings and parties. One interesting thing about this building is that the Dutch royal family still registers the births of their family members here, while mere plebians use the new city hall.
Instead of a guided tour, try something unique and play an interactive online mystery game where the online clues lead you through the largest city on the North Sea. You must solve twelve puzzles on your phone to move on to the next location, a super fun way to learn about The Hague. One of the many stops in the game is the medieval Old City Hall, so get ready to have fun.
15. Explore the Grote Kerk (Great Church of St. James)
Address: Rond de Grote Kerk 12, 2513 AM Den Haag, Netherlands
Together with the Binnenhof, the Grote Kerk is one of the oldest buildings in The Hague. Established in the 13th Century, the Great Church of St. James began as a small wooden church, but over a couple of centuries, they added brick, a vaulted ceiling, a carved wooden pulpit, beautiful stained glass, and a large organ.
This church has been the home of many special historical events, from the baptism of the Princess of Orange and Prinsjesdag to the meeting of the Knights of the Golden Fleece and the Iconoclastic Fury.
Located in the middle of the bustling city, this Gothic-style church stands out with its bell tower, requiring almost 300 steps to get to the top. This gorgeous church has free admission as long as no events are scheduled.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Haarlem, Netherlands
16. See Amazing Art at Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Address: Stadhouderslaan 41, 2517 HV Den Haag, Netherlands
Art lovers, rejoice! A trip to Kunstmuseum Den Haag is like no other museum, with its collection of modern art, fashion, and decorative art. As one of Europe’s largest art museums, it has famous works by artists like Francis Bacon, Kandinsky, Picasso, and Monet.
The art museum has over 150,000 pieces in its collection, and the building’s architecture is like icing on the cake. The art-deco-styled building highlights the hallways and galleries with gorgeous daylight, making it a joyful experience for all who enter. It’s clear why visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in the Hague.
Due to the museum’s popularity, booking a Kunstmuseum Den Haag Entry Ticket ahead of time is the way to go.
See Related: Rotterdam vs Amsterdam: What’s the Difference?
17. Visit the Prison Gate Museum (Rijksmuseum de Gevangenpoort)
Address: Buitenhof 33, 2513 AH Den Haag, Netherlands
In its earliest days, the Prison Gate Museum was a gateway to the Binnehof buildings, but it later became a prison where historical people like Johan en Cornelius de Witt were imprisoned. The Prison Gate was also used as a courthouse of Hof van Holland when many defaulters were imprisoned while other suspected offenders awaited their fates.
Today, the prison gate is a museum showcasing the century-old prison cells and the torture instruments they used and highlighting the stories of crime and punishment. When you visit the Prison Gate Museum, you’ll hear about the murder of the De Witt brothers and other major events in Dutch history.
Like many popular attractions in The Hague, pre-purchasing a Prison Gate Museum ticket can benefit you tremendously, so you don’t have to wait in a long line during peak times.
See Related: Rijksmuseum Travel Guide: What to Know When Visiting
18. Enjoy a 2-Hour Guided Street Art Bike Tour
Address: Bierkade 22, 2512 AB Den Haag, Netherlands
While there are plenty of important museums in The Hague, sometimes the best way to experience art is to explore public art. A guided tour is a fantastic way to experience high-quality street art using a bike to transport you from mural to mural.
The guide will show you hidden gems across The Hague, which are almost better than any art museum in the city. Not only will you ride through less-traveled areas like the industrial section of The Hague, but you’ll also see art that isn’t widely seen by the public.
When the tour is over, the bike is yours to enjoy for the rest of the day. Depending on your energy level, stop by the St. Anny Tea House for a watermelon mint tea (and some Chinese food if you’re hungry).
See Related: Tips for Riding a Bike in Amsterdam
19. Get to know The Hague at The Hague’s Historic Museum
Address: Korte Vijverberg 7, 2513 AB Den Haag, Netherlands
If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to stop by The Hague’s Historic Museum, which once housed the militiamen of the Guild of Saint Sebastian. Today, this museum houses works from the great Dutch masters and permanent exhibits on the history of The Hague. However, this museum isn’t just for adults; it offers interactive games and activities to inspire children of all ages.
The permanent exhibit includes 16th Century cityscapes, dollhouses, and furniture. One of the most prominent pieces at the museum is the mid-19th Century painting Gezicht op Den Haag by the Dutch painter Cornelius Springer.
This fairly compact museum is worth a trip, especially if you only have an hour to spare. Purchasing a Hague Historical Museum ticket in advance is a smart idea.
See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe
20. Get high (no, not like that…) at The Hague Tower
Address: 2516 LX The Hague, The Netherlands
Spend your morning or afternoon on a Guided Tower Climb of The Hague Tower, which has over six centuries of history and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. This tower has seen lightning strikes, wars, and revolutions. Its unique hexagonal shape has protected it from the harsh sea wind.
The Hague Tower is the city’s third tallest building, with 42 floors. You can enjoy the views with a bite at the Veranda Cafe or at the fine dining restaurant The Penthouse.
So, follow in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps (it’s true, he climbed it!) and climb this tower to say you did it. The views are worthwhile, we promise.
And if you do feel like getting the other kind of high in the Netherlands, head over to Amsterdam and peruse the coffee shop scene.
What is The Hague known for?
The Hague (or Den Haag) is a beautiful historic city in the Netherlands. While Amsterdam is the capital city, The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and the monarchy.
The Hague is also the home of the International Court of Justice, the main judicial arm of the United Nations. It’s also the greenest city in Europe.
What are the best tourist attractions in The Hague?
The Madurodam, the Mauritshuis Museum, the Peace Palace, Noordeinde Paleis, Drievliet Amusement Park, the Binnenhof, the Grote Kerk, The Hague SEALIFE, and Scheveningen Beach are some of the top attractions in The Hague.
What is the best thing to do with kids in The Hague?
The Hague SEALIFE, the Madurodam and Drievliet Amusement Park are going to be your best bet in The Hague if you’re bringing the kiddies.
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