This former hunting lodge was extended to a castle by William II of Holland in 1250. His son Floris V made the Binnenhof to his royal residence. Today the beautiful courtyard houses the Parliament and the Senate of the Netherlands. The Parliament and the Knights' Hall can be visited.
The Knights' Hall "Ridderzaal" is the center of the Binnenhof. The Gothic building was built in 1280 as a ballroom. The Knight's Hall was later used as the palace and assembly room of the councilors. Today, the queen's throne stands here. On "Prinsjesdag" (Day of the Price) the king reads the throne speech in the Ridderzaal, with the governments program for the next year. In front of the Knight's Hall stands the golden fountain "Fontein Willem II van Holland".
The "Paleis Noordeinde" is the official residence of the Dutch royal family. The palace was built in 1533 and rebuilt several times. After the World War II the Paleis Noordeinde was also used as a school. Since the 1970s the palace serves again as home of the Dutch monarchy.
The "Great Church" of The Hague was built in the 14th century, but in 1539 it was almost completely destroyed by a fire. The 93 m high clock tower was built in 1420. With its hexagonal shapeand it is unique in Holland. In the Jakobus church (official name of the "Grote Kerk"), the royal family's weddings used to take place.
Between Grote Kerk and Grote Marktstraat you will find the Grote Markt (Big Market Square). On the square there are many restaurants and cafes which makes the place one of the busiest places in The Hague. One of the most famous restaurants is "De Zwarte Ruiter" where live music is played.
The "Plein" is the main square of The Hague, many restaurants and cafes invite to linger. The square is surrounded by old gabled houses made of brick work. The square is situated between the pedestrian zone and the Binnenhof.
The "Chinatown" of The Hague is marked by two Chinese archways and red lanterns span across the street. There are not that many Asians seen on the street but there are some good Chinese restaurants and small Asian fast food stores.
The main shopping street in The Hague is called "Grote Marktstraat". The big department stores like Bijenkorf or Marks & Spencer and many new shopping centers are located here. The Grote Marktstraat is a wide pedestrian zone between the Grote Markt and Klavermarkt. For more on the Bijenkorf building, see Architecture The Hague. At the intersection of Grote Marktstraat and Spui is the center of The Hague with the new town hall and a tram junction.
In 1899 a peace conference was held in The Hague. In 1913 the American steel baron Andrew Carnegie donated the money for the construction of the Peace Palace (dutch Vredespaleis). The French architect Cordonnier was responsible for the design of the building that houses the International Court of Justice and a library.
The 135 m high skyscraper "De Haagse Toren" at Den Haag HS station offers a viewing platform with a great panorama over the city. At good weather you can see the North Sea in the west and Rotterdam in the east. The ride up costs about 9 € (2018) for adults, the price includes a drink.
On the beach of Scheveningen stands the grand hotel "Kurhaus". The "Kurhaus" was built in 1885 as a seaside resort and hotel for noble guests, emperors and kings. It was planed to be demolished in 1973 after economic ruin, but was taken over and saved by the Steigenberger hotel group in 1979. Today the Kurhaus Scheveningen is a famous landmark and tourist attraction of The Hague.
The first pier of Scheveningen was opened in 1901. The wooden structure burnt down in 1943. In 1959 the new pier was built. The 380 m long pier has two levels. The lower level in inside, here are shops and small cafes. At the end of the pier is a round building with a restaurant. The upper level is outside. There is a Ferris wheel and a bungee tower.
Discover The Hague
The Hague is the capital of the Netherlands and the seat of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The city with over 500,000 inhabitants is also a popular seaside resort and has a high recreational value with parks and beaches. The most famous sights of The Hague include the Kurhaus of Scheveningen, the Museum Mauritshuis (here is the famous picture by Vermeer: "The girl with the pearl ring"), the Binnenhof, the Peace Palace and the Japanese Garden.
Public transport in The Hague
The Hague has a dense tram network that is supplemented by buses. There is a PDF with all lines on the HTM website. There are vending machines in the trams where you can buy a ticket. Current information and prices can be found at HTM.