As the regal home of Dutch royalty, former capital Den Haag (The Hague) is an artistic, ornate city of palaces, architectural wonders and wide, tree-lined boulevards. It's also at the heart of Europe's news stories, a small place brought to fame by the development of the EU, and now populated by a multinational plethora of important legal and human rights staff.
Yes, You’ve probably heard of the city as the centre of the UN criminal justice system (the place where plenty of war criminals end up), but what you probably didn’t hear is that The Hague is also littered with artistic pedigree (typically hosting plenty of open air sculpture exhibits, photo exhibitions and the work of at least one mammoth name – at the time of writing it was Van Gogh), sits just a stones throw away from some magnificent beaches, and has an enviable party-on nightlife and lose-it-all casino, too.
You’ll probably want to start with the museums, which can seem overwhelmingly abundant. Aside from that art, you’ll find museums in honor of science, nature, culture, communication, cars, and even a 120-meter curved panoramic painting of nearby Scheveningen village entitled the panorama Mesdag.
When you’re done with those, move on to the spectacular array of royal palaces, which dominate the city with their grandeur. In amongst them you’ll find the Knights Halls, the Royal Stables and even a Prison Gate dating back to the Middle Ages. Mixed in amongst them all are castles and –just for the stereotype lovers – plenty of idyllic windmills out in the countryside, too, while the covered shopping street that is ‘The Passage’ is the last remaining example of a 19th century phenomenon.
There’s invariably a sad side to this city, too, in the grieving families protesting outside the Court of Human Rights, but if you’re here for a holiday, you can escape it by choosing the sea life center, theme park or race track instead, or heading to the theater to lap up The Hague’s impressive selection of shows.
It’s hard not to enjoy a city like this, especially in the summer, when all the open air sculpture exhibits are lining the streets, and the frenzied nightlife is at its peak. It’s no longer the capital, but The Hague is wallowing in culture, making it the kind of city where you want to rise early and sleep late just to squeeze everything in.
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