Visiting The Hague, when in the Netherlands, is an experience not to be missed. Strolling through the wide leafy boulevards you will feel a sense of the regal presence in this historic city. Walking in the steps of 15th, 16th and, 17th-century history will take you back in time to the dramatic events of the past, as you visit the many pleins (squares) that this city boasts.
One of the things that you will not want to miss is the impressive Mauritshuis. The Mauritshuis is an art museum housing the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. The famous Vermeer, Girl With the Pearl Earring, can be viewed here, along with over 800 other Dutch Golden Age Paintings.
The city of The Hague is known for its hundreds of places to eat and rest your weary feet. And as luck would have it, the proximity of the Mauritshuis to Plein 19, Plaats, and Buitenhof means you will be spoiled with choices.
So where does one eat around the Mauritshuis with so many choices? I went there to find out for you and believe me, it was no easy task.
As you walk along the Korte Poten towards Plein 19, you will find several brasseries, coffee shops, and restaurants. One of my favourites spots for authentic pizza and classic plates of pasta is Pizzeria Pinocchio. The oldest pizzeria in The Hague established in 1976, they serve classic pasta and pizzas in a vibrant atmosphere.
If you are looking for a quick snack then there are also several places worth a visit. Coffee Company has free wifi, great coffee, wholesome snacks and pastries in a haven of relaxation. At Tosti van Josti, as the title may suggest, toasted sandwiches are on the menu here, but by no means, ordinary. Instead, enjoy biological ingredients, home-made lemonade, soups, salads, and freshly squeezed juices. At Grand Cafe De Tijd indulge in sandwiches, uitsmijters, salads, and a selection of hot meals.
Once you have reached the end of Korte Poten, you will find yourself faced with yet more options of places to eat. Plein 19 is literally a sea of restaurants and bars, all with alfresco dining and heated terraces, offering variations on brown cafe cuisine. I visited Gusto on a balmy September afternoon, sat outside on the heated terrace with a friend of mine and enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the pursuit of an answer. Tomato soup was ordered for the entree. I can only describe this as an explosion of taste, chunky tomato infused with basil, slightly sweet and tangy, just delicious. For the main course, I chose chicken, mango, and avocado salad; my friend, a spaghetti carbonara. Both were faultless in their presentation and taste and served by a very friendly and helpful waiter. This restaurant has acclaim to a Couverts award. Couverts is a website specifically for restaurants in the Netherlands, and Gusto has scored an 8.3.
All of the aforementioned restaurants have boards outside advertising what’s on offer. The choices range from daily/weekly specials, luxury sandwiches (belegen broodjes), salads, a wide selection of hot meals, wine, and extensive beer lists — there will be something to satisfy every palate. A large number of the establishments offer a vegetarian menu on request. Fixed price menus also offer some good value dining options.
If this choice isn’t enough then you can always walk through the Binnenhof and find yourself opposite Buitenhof. The choices here are varied and much more international than those establishments found on Plein 19. Try BIT, known for its Argentinean steak. They also do a very good calve’s liver with apples and onions. There’s Vapiano, a self-service pizza and pasta establishment. But be warned, it’s very busy here and you could find yourself waiting in line over half an hour if you decide pasta is what you want. Popocatepetl, the name derived from old-Aztec times and means “where the earth gets hot” serves classic Mexican dishes, nachos, margaritas, and Mexican beers. Havana is the place for Cuban cuisine, snacks, and Cuban cocktails. And De Luca, an upmarket classy brasserie where the food is an art form, really does taste as good as it looks.
Still not satisfied? Then a short walk from Buitenhof you will find Plaats, one of the oldest and most historic squares in The Hague. Here you can dine French style at Bistrot De La Place, have a freshly made bagel at Bagels and Beans, or return to traditional Dutch style cuisine at Julianas.
Pack Your Bags
The Hague (Den Haag) in the Netherlands enjoys a warm and temperate climate. There is a lot of rain, even during the drier months. The driest months to visit are April and May, with August enjoying the warmest temperatures and January the coldest. As one of the European Union member countries, the Netherlands currency is the Euro (EUR). The Netherlands is on European Standard Time (EST), one hour ahead of Greenwich Meantime (GMT). [/success]
The Hague is easily accessible from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS), a short train journey takes 40 minutes to the Centraal Station. The Hague is also within easy reach of all other major cities in the Netherlands. You can plan your journey online prior to arriving. The Hague has a very efficient bus and tram service, should you need it. You can hop on a bus or tram to take you to the many points of interest. Timetables and a handy journey planner are available online at www.9292.nl. This useful website also provides disruption information and other relevant travel news.
Situated in the centre of The Hague, the Mauritshuis can be reached easily on foot from the Centraal Station. From the Central Station walk towards the centre along Herengracht and take Korte Poten, which will bring you to Plein 19. Walk diagonally across Plein 19, you will soon see the impressive cream and gold building of the Mauritshuis. Gold and black signposts will help you get your bearings and point you in the direction of all notable buildings and monuments. [/danger]
What to See
The fact that The Hague is home to the seat of the Dutch government and, also the Dutch royal family provides an impressive range of things to see. Classical and contemporary art museums, royal stables, Noordeinde Palace, Buitenhof, Binnenhof, museum de Gevangenpoort/Musem of the Prison Gate, Peace Palace/Vredespaleis, just to mention few. [/info]
Check out these online resources for more information on planning your trip to The Hague.
The Hague Tourist Information is the municipality official site with a wealth of information dedicated to The Hague only.
Holland.com is an all-encompassing website and will help you plan your trips not only in The Hague but also any other cities that you wish to visit whilst in the Netherlands. [/warning]