20 Must-Visit Attractions in the Hague, the Netherlands

The Hague is far more than a political hub, and ideal for a weekend break
The Hague is far more than a political hub, and ideal for a weekend break | © NAPA / Alamy Stock Photo
Tom Coggins

The Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands and has acted as the country’s political capital for centuries. Over the past 100 years many international organisations have settled in the Hague and the city has developed deep ties with the United Nations. Although these political factors are certainly important, there’s significantly more to the Hague than governance and the city features many fascinating attractions that will appeal tourists, travellers and day trippers.

1. Mauritshuis


Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Holland
© Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo
Maurithuis has housed the Royal Cabinet of Paintings since the 19th century and contains many masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age, including Johannes Vermeer’s magnum opus Girl with a Pearl Earring. This stately building was partially designed by the architect behind Amsterdam’s Royal Palace, Jacob van Campen.

2. Binnenhof

Historical Landmark

During the 13th century, several Dutch counts built an elaborate Gothic palace on the banks of Hofvijver lake in the Hague. This medieval complex was eventually bequeathed to the Dutch parliament and was converted into the democratic centre of the Netherlands. Although both houses of parliament still meet inside the Binnenhof it is possible to visit the complex during special guided tours.

3. Madurodam

Amusement Park

This sprawling miniature theme park features thousands of tiny replicas of famous Dutch landmarks such as the Binnenhof, Dam Square and the Dom Tower. The sheer number of miniatures at Madurodam is truly remarkable and everything inside the park has been painstakingly realised in order to capture the essence of Dutch architecture.

5. Escher in the Palace

Art Gallery, Museum

The M. C. Escher Museum in The Hague, Netherlands
© Ventura Carmona / Getty Images
In 2002, Lange Voorhout Palace in the Hague was converted into a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to M C Escher. Its collection includes many famous prints, lithographs and woodcuts created by Escher and also features several interactive exhibitions that render the artist’s mathematically inspired creations.

6. SkyView Pier

Architectural Landmark

This gigantic ferris wheel is perched on top of Scheveningen Pier’s most northernly walkway and spins above the Hague’s pristine coastline. As the ferris wheel towers 40m (131ft) above sea level, many nearby towns and cities are visible from its gondolas.

7. Huis ten Bosch

Historical Landmark

Many famous figures have lived inside Huis ten Bosch over the past 400 years and the palace is currently owned by the Dutch Royal Family. According to official sources, King Willem-Alexander and his family will relocate to the palace sometime in the near future and make it their formal residence.

8. The Peace Palace


The Hague’s Peace Palace has housed the International Court of Justice and several other important legal organisations since the early-20th century. Guided tours are available around the palace on certain days and there is a permanent visitor centre onsite.

9. Panorama Mesdag


Panorama Mesdag, The Hague.
© frederic REGLAIN / Alamy Stock Photo
In 1880, Dutch marine painter Henrik Willem Mesdag was commissioned to create an enormous, panoramic seascape of the Hague’s coastline. This insanely detailed painting was eventually mounted onto custom-built 40m (131ft) cylindrical platform. The panorama has been on display in the Hague ever since and still attracts scores of visitors everyday.

10. Bungy Scheveningen

Sports Center

This hair-raising attraction is located on top of the spiralling tower at the head of Scheveningen pleasure pier. At Bungy Scheveningen, adrenaline junkies are invited plunge from a 60m (197ft) platform and then bounce candidly over the Hague’s coastline.

11. Gemeentemuseum


Gemeentemuseum has the largest Mondrian collection in the world and keeps many of these groundbreaking paintings on permanent display alongside a significant number of other de Stijl artworks. The museum is an architectural masterpiece in itself and was designed by modernist trailblazer H P Berlage.

12. Scheveningen Beach


Chilling out on Scheveningen Beach is a staple of Dutch summertime and legions of day trippers flock to this coastal resort during sunny spells. The beach is around five kilometres (3.1mi) aways from the Hague’s city centre and easily accessible via tram or bike.

13. Mesdag Collection


Daubigny hall inside the museum
© De Mesdag Collectie
In the 19th century, Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his wife Sina van Houten enjoyed prominent artistic careers in the Netherlands and collected dozens of artworks during their lifetimes that now are on display inside their former residence. This collection includes many important artworks from the 19th century created by leading figures from the European art scene such as Gustave Courbet, Anton Mauve and Charles-François Daubigny.

14. Kijkduin

Historical Landmark

Although Kijkduin is slightly overshadowed by Scheveningin, there are many reasons to visit this smaller seaside resort. Its natural dune landscapes, for example, are absolutely stunning and offer unrivalled views across the Netherland’s western coastline.

15. Haagse Bos

Natural Feature

Haagse Bos is among the oldest surviving forests in the Netherlands covering a rectangular parcel of land that trails from the Hague’s centre to a small town called Wassenaar. The forest has always played an important role within the Hague’s history and provided timber for the Binnenhof’s walls during the palace’s early years.

16. Museum Beelden aan Zee


Bronze sculpture by Tom Otterness. Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague.
© Rasvan ILIESCU / Alamy Stock Photo
Beelden aan Zee is only the museum in the Netherlands that is fully dedicated to sculpture. Its collection features many artworks from famous Avant-Garde figures such as Man Ray and Karel Appel. Besides its permanent display the museum also regularly organises temporary exhibitions that showcase Dutch and international sculptures.

17. Clingendael


The gardens around Clingendael manor are renowned for their stunning natural beauty and have been open to the public since the mid-20th century. This marvellous estate contains a painstakingly designed Japanese garden that features many authentic Japanese items and many rare and exotic plants.

18. Sea Life Scheveningen


Sea Life Scheveningen cares for hundreds of aquatic critters including sharks, penguins and clown fish. This colourful menagerie lives inside several specialised zones that are dedicated to specific species or habitats.

19. Kinderboekenmuseum

Amusement Park

Kinderboekenmuseum is dedicated to the preservation and distribution of Dutch children’s books. Its kid-orientated interactive exhibitions feature many familiar faces from Dutch literature such as Kikker and Nijntje (Miffy).

20. Museum de Gevangepoort


Entrance to the Museum de Gevangenpoort in The Hague, Netherlands.
© Maurice Savage / Alamy Stock Photo

The stone keep near the Binnenhof in the Hague incarcerated serious criminals for over four centuries and has held several famous figures from Dutch history. Today, this medieval building contains an educational, family-friendly museum that retraces the history of crime and punishment in the Netherlands.

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