The Hague, Netherlands

Visit the Parliament of the Netherlands and other historic sites in The Hague. Then, tour miniatures of Holland’s most famous buildings before relaxing on Scheveningen Beach.

Share this

1 Binnenhof Reflected on Hofvijver in The Hague, Netherlands

The country’s third largest city has a population of over one million. The prosperity of The Hague is evident by the skyscrapers that have mushroomed since 2000. But tourists prefer the historic landmarks in Oude Centrum. The epicenter is Hofvijver, a small rectangular lake where William II of Holland built a palace in 1248. His mansion evolved into Het Binnenhof (Inner Court). The Parliament building is the meeting place for the Netherlands’ Senate and House. Also officed here are the Ministry of General Affairs and the Prime Minister.

Binnenhof 1, 2513 AA, Den Hague, Netherlands

2 Ridderzaal inside Binnenhof in The Hague, Netherlands

At first glance, Ridderzaal looks like a magnificent Gothic church with a rose window and twin towers. This is Knight’s Hall where visiting knights once resided. It was built inside of Binnenhof during the second half of the 13th century by Floris V, Count of Holland and the only son of William II. The medieval structure is primarily used for the annual opening of Parliament, formal government events plus receptions hosted by the country’s monarch and royal family.

Binnenhof 1, 2513 AA, Den Hague, Netherlands

3 Binnenhof Fountain in The Hague, Netherlands

In 1882, famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers designed an elaborate fountain for display at the Amsterdam World Exhibition the following year. It was then gifted to the Binnenhof and stands in a courtyard in front of the Ridderzaal. Notice the gilded gargoyles, heraldic shields and the statue of Willem II on top. He became the count of Holland in 1234 and the king of Germany in 1248 until his untimely death by drowning at 28 in 1256. He is also considered to be the founder of The Hague.

Binnenhof 1, 2513 AA, Den Hague, Netherlands

4 Maurice House Art Museum in The Hague, Netherlands

Adjacent to Binnenhof is Mauritshuis. The mansion was built in 1641 for John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen and former governor of Dutch properties in Brazil. Since 1822, the Maurice House has been an art museum. On display are the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. This is an extraordinary exhibit of about 200 masters from the 17th century Dutch Golden Age. Among the most popular are pieces by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt and Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens.

Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag, Netherlands

5 William of Orange Statue at Het Plein in The Hague, Netherlands

During the Middle Ages, there was a large produce garden outside of Binnenhof. In 1632, the land was converted into Het Plein. This is the main square of Oude Centrum. In the center is a statue by Lodewyk Royer of William I, Prince of Orange (1544 – 1584). William of Orange initiated the Dutch Revolt against Spain and started the House of Orange-Nassau. His heirs are still selected as monarchs of the Netherlands. In the background is the former Ministry of Justice Building.

Plein 0, Den Haag, Netherlands

6 Summertime Outdoor Dining in The Hague, Netherlands

The Haugue’s weather hovers around freezing in the winter. The average high in June, July and August is about 70°F. So, when the sun is shining and the temperature rises in the summer, the Dutch flock to outdoor restaurants for good food and socializing. The best places tend to encircle public squares such as Het Plein and Buitenhof. This is your chance to sample Dutch cuisine. Traditional foods include Hollandse Nieuwe (raw herring), erwtensoep (pea soup), kroket (deep fried roll), bitterballen (beef balls with breadcrumb coating) with a side of patat (Dutch French fries). Wash these down with the country’s favorite brews: Heineken, Amstel and Grolsch.

Plein 8, Den Haag, Netherlands

7 Kloosterkerk in The Hague, Netherlands

Dominicans built a Catholic church and monastery on this site in 1401. The latter was destroyed by fire in 1420 and rebuilt. The church was expanded in the mid-16th century. In 1574, the monks were expelled during the Protestant Reformation. Nine years later, their monastery was demolished. For over a century, the church deteriorated while standing empty until becoming a stable and then an armory. In 1690, the stored munitions exploded. After WWII, Kloosterkerk was restored and once again served a Protestant congregation. If you enjoy medieval churches, make sure to also visit Grote de Sint-Jacobskerk nearby. Sections of Great St. James Church date back to the mid-14th century.

Lange Voorhout 4, Den Haag, Netherlands

8 Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands

During the Hague Convention of 1899, Russian Emperor Nicholas II proposed numerous international laws regarding warfare. The Permanent Court of Arbitration was also established to resolve disputes among member states. In 1913, the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis) was constructed to house the PCA. Also inside are the United Nations International Court of Justice (World Court) and the Library of International Law. The Peace Palace was funded by Andrew Carnegie and is still managed by the Carnegie Foundation. Architect Louis Cordonnier designed the impressive Neo-Renaissance building. The elaborate garden in front was the work of Thomas Mawson.

Carnegieplein 1, Den Haag, Netherlands

9 Madurodam, a Miniature Park in Scheveningen, Netherlands

These kids are fascinated by their view of central Amsterdam behind Dam Square. On the left is the former Amsterdam Main Post Office (now Magna Plaza shopping mall.) On the right is the Royal Palace of Amsterdam (originally City Hall). But these buildings are models! They are two of several Dutch landmarks replicated in incredible detail at Madurodam. The miniature park is located a few minutes north of The Hague’s city center and an hour south of Amsterdam. So, if you can’t drive around to see the Netherland’s most exquisite architecture, then admire their tiny clones at Madurodam.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

10 Rijksmuseum Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

Windmills are Holland’s most recognizable structures. In second place is Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Since the art museum was founded in 1798, their priceless collection has grown to over one million pieces. The National Museum attracts about 2.5 million visitors each year. This small facsimile of Rijksmuseum is flawless in every aspect. Speaking of windmills, all 19 of the famous ones at Kinderdijk are miniaturized along a pretend canal at Madurodam.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

11 Westerkerk Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

Another Amsterdam landmark superbly reproduced at Madurodam is Westerkerk. The real Western Church was constructed in 1631. The most eye-catching feature is Westertoren (Western Tower). The orb on top represents the Imperial Crown of Austria worn by Maximilian I. He was king of the Romans (1486 – 1519) and Holy Roman Emperor (1493 – 1519). His wife Mary inherited the Seventeen Provinces. Also called the Low Countries, this covered most of today’s Netherlands.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

12 Peace Palace Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

Madurodam is in a district of Den Haag (The Hague). So, naturally the miniature park showcases several of the local famous sites. This is the Peace Palace. The Dutch Renaissance design by architect Louis Cordonnier exhibits several elegant, cone-shaped turrets. Inside the actual Vredespaleis is the United Nations’ International Court of Justice. Andrew Carnegie attended the opening ceremony in 1913 for his philanthropic project. If you want to admire the authentic Peace Palace, it is about 1.5 miles from Madurodam park.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

13 Binnenhof Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

The reproductions of historic sites at Madurodam are so lifelike that photos of them appear to be taken from a drone … until tourists photobomb your shot. These two women are admiring the model of Binnenhof, the Parliament of the Netherlands in Den Haag. Notice the Little Tower at the left of the complex. Torentje is the office of the prime minister. On the far left is a mid-17th century former mansion named Mauritshuis. Maurice House is now an art museum. The rectangular lake in the foreground is a re-creation of Hofvijver.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

14 Ridderzaal Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

The centerpiece of Binnenhof is the 13th century Ridderzaal. You were introduced to this stunning Den Hague site earlier in the guide. Notice how the Madurodam artisans embellished the reproduction. At attention on the left are members of the Rifles Guards Regiment. On the right in red are foot guards from the Garderegiment Fuseliers Prinses Irene. And you can almost hear the Royal Military Band playing during the arrival of the royal carriages. The Golden Coach in the center carries the Dutch monarch to Ridderzaal on the third Tuesday in September to deliver the Speech from the Throne. Incredible attention to details, right? You will be further impressed to learn the clothes of the miniature tourists are changed in the summer and winter!

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

15 St. John’s Cathedral Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

You will stare in awe at the exquisite Gothic design of St. John’s Cathedral. Imagine the skill and patience required to duplicate these lacelike features at 1:25 scale. The genuine 16th Catholic church measures 203 feet wide and 377 feet long. Sint-Janskathedraal is in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The former walled-in city is located in southcentral Netherlands.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

16 Dom Tower Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

George Maduro was a war hero while defending The Hague against the Germans in 1940. He was captured several times. Each time he was freed, he joined the Dutch resistance until his death at 28 in the Dachau concentration camp. His parents started Madurodam in 1952 and named the miniature park in his honor. Pictured here is a model of Dom Tower. The actual Gothic bell tower in Utrecht province stands an impressive 368 feet, the tallest in Holland.

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

17 De Haar Castle Replica at Madurodam in Scheveningen, Netherlands

De Haar Castle is another major attraction in Utrecht. The original Kasteel de Haar was constructed in 1391 and burned down in 1482. The fortress was rebuilt in the 16th century and again in 1907. In essence, this miniature version at Madurodam is the third reproduction of the famous medieval castle. By the end of your Madurodam walking tour, you will be enamored with miniatures. Why not purchase a unique souvenir of your visit? Have your picture taken at the Fantasitron photo booth. In a few weeks, a tiny 3D figurine of you will be delivered to your door!

George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

18 Seaside Resort of Scheveningen, Netherlands

Scheveningen is a coastal resort town about a 15 minute drive from the historic center of The Hague. During the treasured summer months, fair-skinned Dutch flock to this expansive beach for suntanning and fun. Attractions include a boardwalk, restaurants, snack kiosks and bars plus a giant Ferris wheel and the Scheveningen Pier. But don’t go home at dusk. Watch a marvelous sunset and then indulge in the nightlife at clubs or the Holland Casino Scheveningen. If you are really hearty – or just crazy – take the plunge during Nieuwjaarsduik, a swim event on New Year’s Day.

De Pier, Strandweg 154, 2586 JW Den Haag, Netherlands

19 The Kurhaus in Scheveningen, Netherlands

The Kurhaus has been the picturesque centerpiece along Scheveningen Beach and the promenade since 1885. The hotel hosted countless dignitaries for generations. Concerts by international performers were staged here from 1927 until the Rolling Stones in 1964. The grande dame then deteriorated. After an extensive remodeling in 2001, the historic facility reopened as the five-star Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus.

Gevers Deynootplein 30, 2586 CK Den Haag, Netherlands