The Hague

The Hague Travel Blog

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Train station at The Hague.

I'm sitting in a café now.  Sue has to work until about 7, so I will explore this city and visit the Mauritshaus which has a great collection of Dutch masters - Rembrandts, Vermeers, etc. and is the home of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" which I would like to see.  Finding the hotel wasn't difficult, but at the moment I'm not sure where I am - I'll ask the guy here in the café.  I'm having a capuccino and a great bran muffin with walnuts and raisins which is really good.  This place is really nice - I think I'll write a review...  I figured out exactly where I am - got my bearings - I'm in a little courtyard called Haagse Bluf which is an interesting place.  In renovating this area, they have conserved old facades but have surrounded them with nondescript gray/green surfaces.

  The contrast is nice.  The streetlights here are also whimsical - oxidized copper flowers, hanging upside down - like flowers hung out to dry. 

After my coffee (I needed it, I've been up since 5 and am sleepy) I continued wandering around the city, through the "Passage" which is a covered arcade from the 19th century with interesting specialty shops.  I read that this is the last covered arcade from that era remaining in the Netherlands.  I walked all over the place and was able to see the Stadhuis - City Hall - which is a modern building designed by American Architect Richard Meier.  It is an immense glass building.  It is also referred to as "The Ice Palace."  If you google him and check out his web site, there is a presentation about this building which can give you an idea of just how enormous it is and the feeling of space and light that it conveys.

  I also wandered through the Binnenhof which holds the parliament and government buildings before making it to the Mauritshaus. 

The Mauritshaus kept me busy until I thought I should leave so as not to keep Sue waiting.  It is a fantastic museum - especially the art on display, but the building itself is fantastic to see.  It is a large house finished in 1644  in North Dutch Classical style and the paintings are displayed in elegant rooms.  Definitely worth a visit! I wouldn't mind coming back.  The paintings are incredible.  It's amazing how these artists were able to so exactly portray reality and use light in fantastic ways.  I read that artists specialized in specific parts of a painting.

  For example, one would do the human forms, another the still lifes in the same painting and still another might handle landscapes in the background!  

The visit to the museum includes an audio guide.  Do not forget to get this! It really adds to the experience when you are able to hear some insight about what you are seeing.  I walked into one of the rooms, looked up and there was the girl with the golden earring looking at me.  It is a beautiful painting.  It was amazing to look up and see her unexpectedly.  I could see how she could inspire Tracy Chevalier to write the book.  A lot of the paintings here simply depict the reality of the times, sometimes with a kind of moralizing message.

  An example of this is a painting that I enjoyed titled "Fighting Peasants" by Adriaen Brouwer.  It was painted in 1625 or 26 and depicts an environment where instincts rule.  It's a cross between comical and depraved with funny details like a man relieving himself in the background.  The moral message here was "dont live like this!"

After the museum I went to the hotel and took a short nap.  I met with my sister and some friends at a little bar not far from the Beatrixkwartier tram stop and the fun began!  We had a great time.  After a couple beers we headed back to the center to a restaurant for dinner at a place called Café Restaurant Rootz.  Fantastic! Somehow I ended up drinking a 13% alcohol Trappist beer!  Good thing I've been getting some practice in Poland.

After dinner and some carousing, we headed back to the hotel.  It wasn't late but we've got a lot to do tomorrow!

boxinbcn says:
It was fantastic! I'm trying to remember where each picture was taken! Not so easy and it has only been two days!
Posted on: Apr 30, 2008
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Train station at The Hague.
Train station at The Hague.
I like storks! I noticed them a lo…
I like storks! I noticed them a l…
Haagse Bluf
Haagse Bluf
Haagse Bluf
Haagse Bluf
Haagse Bluf
Haagse Bluf
Kaldi - Koffie en Thee.  This was …
Kaldi - Koffie en Thee. This was…
The Mauritshaus.  It was completed…
The Mauritshaus. It was complete…
Binnenhof.  This holds the parliam…
Binnenhof. This holds the parlia…
This is from a poster for the Coor…
This is from a poster for the Coo…
At Café - Restaurant Rootz on Gro…
At Café - Restaurant Rootz on Gr…
Canal close to the train station
Canal close to the train station
See her in the Mauritshaus!
See her in the Mauritshaus!
The Hague
photo by: Sweetski