The Hague (Den Haag) is the third largest city of the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the royal residence and the seat of the government. Besides, the Hague is well-known thanks to international legal bodies that found home here, including, for example, the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Criminal Court, and many more organizations. Consulates and embassies of other countries in the Netherlands are also located in the Hague.
In general, we can say that it is a large political center. Many people might think that there is nothing worth seeing in the Hague, just the politics and lots of economic events. But in reality, it is not like that. The Hague is a very beautiful city on the North Sea coast. It is a peaceful and cozy place with no chaos of the capital but with the same atmosphere of the Old Europe (the city was founded in the 13th century), especially in the historical downtown where the famous Binnenhof is located.
What Area is the Best to Stay in The Hague?
The Hague has eight districts, and each one of them is divided into subdistricts but these are not really important for tourists. I would recommend to pay a closer attention only to two districts:
Historical Center of the Hague
Unlike many old European cities, the Hague has never had defensive walls, so there are no clear borders for the area that we usually call the Old Town. Accordingly, the borders of the historical center are blurred. For the purpose of this article, I suggest we will see Binnenhof and the surrounding territory as a historical downtown. The magnificent Ridderzaal is a part of the Binnenhof complex.
Near the Binnenhof you will find such famous sights as one of the Gothic-style cathedral Grote Kerk, the Renaissance style Old City Hall, the medieval gate Gevangenport, Mauritshuis, a museum with masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age painting. The royal work residence the Noordeinde Palace – is also located within a close reach to the Binnenhof. Another royal palace Huis ten Bosch Palace – is located four kilometers away from the historical downtown.
The Hague has less hotels than Amsterdam. And most of them are in the city center. A great advantage of hotels here is their price – the rates are 1.5-2 times less than in the capital.
Good options in the city center include: 't Goude Hooft, Holiday Inn Express The Hague – Parliament, Berger's B&B. All of them are located within a five-minute walk from the Binnenhof and provide good value for the money. Plus, they regularly have good offers, so if you are flexible on the dates of your trip, you can check the prices regularly and in the end pay a fraction of what you would have to pay in Amsterdam.
Scheveningen is one of eight districts in the Hague, well-known as the best seaside resort in the Netherlands. Most of foreign tourists have no idea about Scheveningen, as well as about wonderful beaches with amazing infrastructure in the Netherlands. Some people even go for a swim, even though the North Sea is, of course, not as warm as the Mediterranean. The Scheveningen beach is stretching for three kilometers. Here you will find a lot of cafes and restaurants, attractions, even the Sea Life aquarium – a place loved by both kids and their parents.
This district is also home to a famous miniature park Madurodam. That’s the place with replicas of all noteworthy Dutch landmarks.
The city center is 20-30 minutes away by tram. Somewhere between Scheveningen and the historical downtown there is Peace Palace – a beautiful building designed and built in the beginning of the 20th century in the Neo-Renaissance style. Today it is occupied by the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
In Scheveningen you can take a closer look at such hotels as De Stern (a small family hotel at the sea), Boulevard Hotel (another small hotel near the North Sea), Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus (a five-star hotel in the most beautiful building on the seaside with very reasonable rates – for the same money you will have to search for something relatively decent in Amsterdam). If you want to stay closer to the Madurodam, then your choice could be Crowne Plaza Den Haag Promenade, a hotel with a cozy location in the park area.
In Scheveningen you can also rent apartments. It is a great option if you aim for some privacy and want to save some money by cooking your own meals. Though, I believe, the Hague is not the place where you should ignore local restaurants. It seems that all cuisines of the world are represented here and it would indeed be a crime not to taste at least a couple of new dishes.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Hotel in The Hague
The Hague is a relatively small town, and there are less tourists here. There are also less hotels compared to some other destinations in the Netherlands, that’s why the best options based on the price/quality criteria are sold out pretty quickly. The advice here is to book in advance and check the prices for the hotels you short-listed regularly.
As I have already said, hotel rates in the Hague are cheaper than in Amsterdam. It might make sense to stay in the Hague and go to Amsterdam for one-day trip – the city can be reached by train in just 30-40 minutes.