View of the Binnenhof, the centre of government in The Hague
The Hague  (Dutch: Den Haag or 's-Gravenhage) is a city in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is the seat of the Dutch government, and the residence of Queen Beatrix, although Amsterdam is officially the capital city. The municipality has about 470,000 inhabitants, with the greater urban area numbering about one million. The Hague lies on the North Sea and is home to Scheveningen, the most popular seaside resort of the Netherlands, as well as the smaller resort of Kijkduin.
Internationally, The Hague is often known as the "judicial capital of the world" due to the many international courts that are located in the city. Among these are the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and, since 2004, the International Criminal Court. Beside these institutions, The Hague is home to more than 150 international organizations, as well as many EU institutions, multinational companies and embassies. This gave the city a distinct international character — one that is noticeably different from Amsterdam. Rather than having the many foreign tourists and fortune-seekers attracted by Amsterdam's reputation for excitement and liberalism, The Hague generally has more expatriates working and living in the city because of the number of international institutions and companies. Because of this, The Hague has a reputation as a wealthy, conservative and somewhat sedate city.
The Hague has very little of the edginess and excitement of Amsterdam; however, it provides well for its inhabitants in different ways, such as large areas of green space, 11 km of coastline, attractive shopping streets and an extensive multicultural scene. Rather than having canals like other Dutch cities, The Hague has streets and avenues that are just a little bit wider than those in the rest of the country, giving the city a more continental feel. Instead of the typical Dutch renaissance 17th-century step-gabled houses, it has 18th-century mansions in baroque and classicist styles. The city is considered by many as the most stately of the country. Just outside the city centre, posh neighbourhoods effuse a more 19th century look with eclectic and art nouveau architecture.
The farther you get from the sea front and the city centre, however, the more neighbourhoods tend to become less well-off. One dividing line between affluent and sketchier areas is drawn by some at Laan van Meerdervoort, which runs parallel to the seaside. Areas away from the sea tend to have much less in the way of green space. An exception to this is one centrally located park, Zuiderpark, which also used to contain the stadium of the local football team ADO Den Haag. Some of its supporters were known as the most notorious hooligans of the country, perpetuating a stereotype of "lower-class" for the inhabitants of that area.
The Hague offers great architecture, from the picturesque government complex of the Binnenhof, to the grand and stately mansions on Lange Voorhout. Museums like the Mauritshuis rank among the best in the country. For food aficionados, The Hague offers some of the country's best Indonesian cuisine, due to large-scale immigration from this former Dutch colony. The city also offers good opportunities for outings, such as extensive green spaces for walking and bicycling as well as dunes and seaside recreation areas just a few tram stops away from the city centre. The Hague also offers a few attractions especially appealing to children, such as the miniature city of Madurodam and the 360 degree Omniversum cinema.
Over the past 10 years, the city has undergone an extensive amount of development in the form of modern architecture projects. Recent constructions include the City Hall and Central Library by American architect Richard Meier, De "Snoeptrommel" (known by the locals as Candy-Box) - a round shopping centre next to the old town hall, and a collection of post-modern, brick-clad office towers in between the city hall and the Centraal railway station, which provide new housing for a number of ministries. A major infrastructural development has been the construction of an underground tram tunnel underneath Grote Marktstraat, which is used by regular trams, and a new light-rail system, known as RandstadRail, linking The Hague with the neighbouring cities of Zoetermeer and Rotterdam.
A major redevelopment project is currently underway in the area around the Centraal railway station. Here, skyscrapers like the 142 m Hoftoren rise up over the city and several other high-rise towers are currently under construction.
Strictly speaking The Hague does have its own airport after renaming Rotterdam Airport to Rotterdam/The Hague Airport, but the closest major international hub is Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, which is between 30 and 40 minutes away by train. Rotterdam/The Hague Airport, which serves a few European cities, is about 25 minutes away from the city centre by car, but can be difficult to get to via public transportation.
The Hague has two main train stations, serving domestic and international routes.
Den Haag Centraal is in the process of being renovated, and is the biggest train station in The Hague. It is within walking distance of the city centre and from Malieveld park.
It has connections to Amsterdam (45 minutes), Schiphol Airport (30 minutes), Utrecht (35 minutes), Groningen (2 and 1/2 hours) and many other cities throughout the Randstad and the Netherlands. You can get to Centraal Station from a variety of international destinations such as Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt, Prague, Moscow, Basel and Copenhagen via the city of Utrecht. Upon arrival, the city centre of The Hague is about a 5 minute walk from the Centraal Station. Leave through the left side entrance (look for the tram station stops) and walk through the glass passageway and straight ahead. You should reach the centre in less than 5 min.
Den Haag HS (Hollands Spoor) is a 20 min walk from Central Station.
It has connections by intercity train to Antwerp and Brussels, as well as domestic connections to Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Leiden and Delft.
Southbound trains from Den Haag CS always pass through Hollands Spoor. To get to the city centre, walk straight ahead from the main entrance and follow the Stationsweg road through Chinatown, and you will end up right in the middle of town.
Visitors are most likely to use Centraal Station, as it is closer to the cenre of town, tourist attractions and shopping. It also has the best local public transport links via tram and bus, and is also safer at night than Hollands Spoor, which is in a somewhat sketchy area of town. The only reason for using Hollands Spoor is to catch the international trains to Antwerp and Brussels. In addition to southbound trains from Centraal, tram lines 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 also cover the short distance from Centraal Station to Hollands Spoor. Both stations have trains that go to and from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
The Hague is connected by toll-free motorways to Amsterdam (A4 and A44), Rotterdam (A13) and Utrecht (A12). Access to the centre is through the A12 motorway that penetrates the city centre, like a needle, and ends on a large traffic junction just north of the historic centre. Approaching and leaving the city from any of these motorways can take a long time during the morning and evening rush hours. On hot summer days, hundreds of thousands of people try to reach Scheveningen beach by car, and huge traffic jams of up to 50 km long may occur, causing traffic delays of up to several hours. On such days, consider taking public transportation. A park and ride facility, P+R Hoornwijck, opened in 2008 on the Laan van Hoornwijck by the Ypenburg interchange. Motorists can easily reach it from the A4 (Exit 9) and A13 (Exit 7).
By tram or bus
The Hague has an efficient city wide system of light rail (called Randstadrail), trams and buses, running mostly on free tracks allowing for a fairly speedy ride. HTM  runs the public transport system in The Hague and some of the surrounding area. Rotterdam-based RET  runs a Randstadrail line between The Hague and Rotterdam, through various suburbs. Veolia  runs regional bus services to the areas surrounding The Hague.
The "strippenkart" system with which previous visitors may be familiar has been discontinued. If you are planning on using the very efficient and pleasant trams more than once (for which you will pay a higher fare to the conductor on the tram), you'll need to break down and get an "OV Chip". You get these at the GVB office, among other places. While you can register this and keep it as a permanent card, you can also purchase the card for 7.50 euros. It is usually sold for 12.50 euros, including 5 euros of usable credit. When you can on a train, you hold the chip card up to the sensor until it beeps. When you get off the tram, you do the same, which they refer to as "chipping out". Remember to chip out as you exit, or the system charges you 4 euros for the trip. As with the old strippenkarts, you can "top up" the card at a variety of supermarkets and local shops.
Centraal Station has easy access to trams on the south side (Rijnstraat), but the main lines (Randstadrail 3 and 4, tram 2 and 6) stop on platforms crossing the main station hall at level 1. You can find buses on the bus platform above the railway tracks. Central Station is currently finishing up a major reconstruction work that may make some connections hard to find. Just ask at the information kiosk at the centre of the station. Hollands Spoor has trams and buses stopping in the front of its main entrance.
While you can enter trams without having a valid ticket, there is a €35 fine in addition to paying the price of your ticket if you end up getting caught by the conductor. If you do decide to sneak on and get caught, the conductor will sometimes let you just buy your ticket from the driver. Many local kids just sneak off the tram at the first stop when conductors enter the tram, as stops are usually fairly close to each other. More recently, security and HTM personnel have orders of checking tickets more thoroughly, especially in the centre. The teams cover all doors and will check tickets even om the tram platform, so getting out is not an way out anymore. This policy covers almost all tramlines. (on all tramways between the major train stations). When caught, there is the possibility of arrest (on top of a fine); therefore, do not try to cheat the system.
The Hague's city centre is fairly compact and you can easily navigate the area on foot. From Centraal Station, it's about a 10 minute walk to the Binnenhof and the Hofvijver pond.
A view of the new high-rise buildings near the city centre
The heart of the city contains most of the historic architecture from the medieval, renaissance, and Baroque periods and is easily accessible on foot. You'll also find lots of outdoor cafes and shopping near the Plein on the Lange Poten or just east of there on the Hofweg.
William of Orange overlooks the Plein
- Plein, (southwest from Centraal Station along Herengracht and Korte Poten). This square — Plein simply translates as 'square' in English — is one of the most elegant in the centre. Located right next to the Binnenhof, it is lined with historic government buildings on three of its four sides. The north side is lined with bars and cafés, which spill out onto the square in summer. These sidewalk cafés are quite popular with politicians from the neighbouring Binnenhof, and even Prime Minister Mark Rutte can be spotted here with a pint regularly. The square is also the scene for demonstrations against government policies. The statue in the middle is that of William of Orange, heralded as the founding father of the Dutch nation.
- Binnenhof, (northwest of the Plein, trams 1 and 9 (Spui stadhuis stop), trams 2, 3, 6, & 10 (Spui stop)), ☎ +31 70 3646144 ([email protected]), . M-Sa 10AM-4PM. Since the 13th century the Binnenhof ('Inner Court') has subsequently been the seat of the government of the county of Holland, the Dutch Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It used to be a castle, surrounded by moats on all sides. Since then it has been modified countless times to accommodate the expanding Dutch government. The moats have been filled, but the castle still borders on the Court Pond (named Hofvijver). In its waters the old buildings continue to mirror themselves. Today, the Binnenhof houses the two chambers of the Dutch parliament and the Prime Minister's office in a small round tower opposite the Mauritshuis. Enter through one of the gates on Plein or Buitenhof and you will find yourself in a medieval enclosed courtyard, surrounded by architecture from the 13th up to the 19th century. There may be crowds gathered here on occasion because of public demonstrations, TV airings or receptions for foreign officials. In the middle stands the Knight's Hall, the original centrepiece of the castle, used for ceremonial purposes. The Knight's Hall is accessible in guided tours. Unfortunately, the other splendid rooms of the complex are closed to the general public. It is possible, however, to attend the meetings of the parliament. The Tweede Kamer (second chamber) of parliament meets daily and has a new gathering room since 1992. The Eerste Kamer (first chamber) meets monthly, and does so in a splendid 17th century Dutch-styled interior with a lavishly painted ceiling.
- Mauritshuis, Korte Vijverberg 8 (next to the Binnenhof), ☎ +31 70 3023456 ([email protected]), . T-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM, and also M 10AM-5PM from Apr-Aug.. Housed in a 17th-century palace overlooking the water of the Hofvijver pond, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis contains the former collection of last Dutch stadtholder, William the V. While the museum is quite small (a complete tour takes a little over an hour) it contains some of the most famous work from the old Dutch Masters, including Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft), Rembrandt van Rijn (The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp), Andy Warhol ("Queen Beatrix"), Rembrandt self-portraits at ages 20 and 63, and others Adult incl. audio tour €11.50, under 18 get in free.
- Bredius Museum, Lange Vijverberg 14, ☎ +31 70 3620729 ([email protected]), . T-Su 11AM-5PM. The private collection of Abraham Bredius, a 19th-century art historian contains Dutch Baroque art, as well as drawings, porcelain and crafted silver. €4.50.
- Museum de Gevangenpoort, Buitenhof 33, ☎ +31 70 3460861. T-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 12PM-5PM. Built in 1370 as an entrance gate to the Binnenhof complex, the Gevangenpoort (Prison Gate) was converted into a prison in 1420. In 1853 the prison shutdown and it was turned into a museum. For a taste of medieval justice, have a look at their collection of torture instruments and get locked inside an original medieval cell block. €4.
- Lange Voorhout, (northwest along either side of the entrances to the Binnenhof). This former extension of The Hague Forest is now a large tree-lined square, bordered on all sides by grand 18th century townhouses. The large Baroque building on the west side is the 'Huis Huguetan', home to the Dutch supreme court. The square is especially pretty in spring, when its crocuses are in bloom. On Thursdays and Sundays there is a very good antique and book market. Every summer, the square hosts The Hague Sculpture (Den Haag Sculptuur) , a free outdoor sculpture exhibition. The fortified building on the corner is the US Embassy and has been a point of contention among locals and embassy officials because of the heightened security.
- Escher in Het Paleis, Lange Voorhout 74 (trams 16, 17 (Korte Voorhout stop)), ☎ +31 70 4277730, . T-Su 11AM-5PM. This former royal townhouse was recently converted into a museum dedicated to the famous Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. The first three floors display prints, sketches and archive material showing how Escher progressed from realistic pictures to his later works of optical illusion and geometrical pattern. The top floor offers a trip through Escher's worlds through 3D graphic headsets. €7.50.
- Denneweg. This street is a prime area for finding antique and specialty shops. It also has some good pubs and upscale restaurants to recharge in after shopping. Parallel to the Denneweg run the Hooigracht and Smidswater canals, which are two of the very few canals in The Hague compared to other major Dutch cities and towns.
- Paleis Noordeinde, (near Prinsessewal), . This is the royal palace that Queen Beatrix uses as her office. While the inside is not open to the public, the 17th-century façade can be seen from Noordeinde street, which also has a large number of art galleries. The gardens on the opposite side of the palace are accessible to the public for walking.
- Panorama Mesdag, Zeestraat 65, ☎ +31 70 3644544 ([email protected]). M-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 12PM-5PM. The Panorama Mesdag is a cylindrical painting from 1881, more than 14 m high and 120 m in circumference. One of the most famous painters of The Hague School, Hendrik Willem Mesdag, created a vista of the sea, the dunes and Scheveningen village. It is the oldest 19th-century panorama in the world that's still in its original site. €6.
- De Verdieping van Nederland, (north side of Centraal Station next to platform 12, inside the Royal Library). W-Sa 9AM-5PM, T 9AM-8PM, Su-M 12PM-5PM. A free exhibition showcasing the history of the Netherlands through original copies of historically significant documents. It has the original copy of peace treaty of Münster with Spain, marking the end of the 80-year Dutch independence war in 1648, and the original sales act of the Dutch purchase of Manhattan from the Indians.
- Oude Stadhuis. The original town hall is a small building from the 15th century when The Hague itself was a small settlement around the Royal Court. In the 18th century it was expanded upon and now has a grand facade facing the 15th-century Grote Kerk (Big Church), originally used as city's main place of worship, but now primarily functions as an exhibition space.
- Stadhuis. In the early 1990s, the municipality moved to this enormous white building by American architect Richard Meier, nicknamed by locals as the Ice Palace. Walk in to have a look at the lofty main hall, which has exhibits on various topics related to the city. The two air bridges through the hall connecting the various offices had to be fenced off to prevent suicides, but still make for a nice view of the atrium below. The city hall borders a large, somewhat barren modern square with a fountain. It contrasts sharply with the Baroque Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), located in a small park in the other side of the road.
Peace Palace, the home of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration
The Statenkwartier area, located between the dunes and the centre, has leafy avenues and 19th century housing and is very popular with The Hague's large expatriate community. The area is nice for walking tours of the 19th-century mansions, which showcase architectural diversity in The Hague. All kinds of neo- and modern-styles are represented here, especially Art Nouveau architecture. Good shops, delicatessens and restaurants are to be found on Statenkwartier's main street, Frederik Hendriklaan, or 'Fred'. The area also has a number of tourist attractions, which make it worth a visit, most of them being clustered around the Gemeentemuseum on Stadhouderslaan.
- Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Stadhouderslaan 41 (tram 17 (Statenkwartier stop) or bus 24 (Kijkduin stop)), ☎ +31 70 3381111 ([email protected]), . T-Su 11AM-5PM. The Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum) has a small collection of classical modern art (Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Monet, Sisley, Degas, Bacon). It boasts an especially large collection of Mondrians, showcasing the entire career of this painter known for his works with red, blue and yellow shapes. The Gemeentemuseum also has a large selection of paintings of the Hague School, a 19th century movement of landscape artists, in addition to period rooms and collections of fashion, musical instruments and decorative arts. Rotating exhibitions on 19th and early 20th century art held here are also quite popular. The museum is housed in a yellow brick building built in 1938 by Dutch architect Hendrik Berlage, a pioneer in modern architecture and best-known for his Beurs van Berlage - the exchange building on the Damrak in Amsterdam. Next to the Gemeentemuseum are the GEM, a museum with rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, and the Fotomuseum Den Haag, which has rotating photography exhibitions. €8.
- Museon, Stadhouderslaan 37 (next to the Gemeentemuseum), ☎ +31 70 3381338 ([email protected]), . T-Su 11AM-5PM. An interactive science museum, very popular with school groups and younger crowds. €7.50.
- Omniversum, President Kennedylaan 5 (behind the Museon), ☎ +0900-6664837 ([email protected]), . Cinema with a round screen, offering a 360 degree viewing experience. Runs IMAX/Discovery-style documentaries; some are aimed at children. €9.
- Vredespaleis, Carnegieplein 2 (bus 24 (Kijkduin stop), tram 1 (to Scheveningen Noorderstand)), ☎ +31 70 3024137 ([email protected]), . The Peace Palace was built in 1913, to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was hoped to provide a means to legally settle international disputes. Ironically, World War I broke out just a year later. Today the Peace Palace also houses the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial body of the UN, which settles disputes between countries only. 5€.
- Madurodam, George Maduroplein 1 (tram 9 or 22 (toward Scheveningen Noorderstrand), ☎ +31 (0)70 416 2400, . 9AM-6PM. This miniature city contains a selection of Dutch architecture, ranging from Amsterdam's canals and church spires from Utrecht and Den Bosch, to modern architecture from Rotterdam and the enormous Delta works that protect the country from the sea. Madurodam also has an airport, a seaport, beaches, and little cars, trams and trains running through the entire town. A great attraction for kids (and those young at heart). €14.50 for adults, €10.50= for children.
- Paleis Huis ten Bosch,  The home palace of Queen Beatrix, Huis ten Bosch, is in the middle of the vast Haagse Bos park. (The Hague Forest). While the surrounding park is open, the palace itself is not open to visitors.
- Louwman Museum (Nationaal Automobiel Museum), Leidsestraatweg 57 (Between benoordenhoutseweg and N44/A44), ☎ +31 (0)70 – 304 7373 ([email protected], fax: +31 (0)70 – 383 5587), . Daily, except mondays, from 10AM-5PM. Opened in juli 2010. This private collection contains a century of history of the car. Price: € 13,50, 6-12 year € 7,50, Parking € 5,-..
- Boat trips The Hague,  Enjoy The Hague during a boat trip on the canals.
Since The Hague was founded on a former hunting manor, there are a variety of parks and green spaces that are ideal for exploration. Like the majority of cities in the Netherlands, The Hague is extremely bike friendly and it's easy to get from one place to another on a bicycle if you feel like stepping outside the city centre. Scheveningen (and to a lesser extent Kijkduin) is a busy seaside resort filled with boardwalk cafes and close to the dunes. The prime months to get out and see The Hague on foot or by pedal are in the late spring, summer, and early fall months; just note that the beachfront area can get extremely crowded as vacationers from all over Europe come to visit and bask along the North Sea coastline.
- Park Clingendael - Once a former estate, the park is best known for its Japanese garden, one of the oldest (1910) in Europe. While the garden is open only from late April to mid-June, the surrounding area is open all year long and is free for visitors.
- Westbroekpark - An English-style park from the 1920s. Renowned for its Rosarium or rose garden, with 20,000 different varieties of roses blooming from June until November. The park includes a restaurant with lovely views.
- Haagse Bos - This park is the oldest forested area in the country. It stretches from the suburb of Wassenaar to the northeast and goes right to the doorstep of Centraal Station, where there is a small fenced off area with deer. Haagse Bos also has a large birds-nest built on top of a pole with which the local municipality has succeeded in attracting a pair of storks, since the stork is in the city's emblem. The Haagse Bos also contains the Queen's palace of Huis ten Bosch.
- Scheveningse Bosjes - A park near Scheveningen centred around a small lake, the Waterpartij. Home to the Indiëmonument, which commemorates Dutch victims of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies.
- Wassenaar - This suburb of The Hague is the wealthiest municipality in the country. Large wooded areas contain cycling and walking paths and are interspersed with huge estates. The village centre has a few restaurants and shops and is fairly close to the beach.
Scheveningen Pier in the late summer
- Duinrell, (near Wassenaar village), . This amusement park is mainly aimed at children but has accommodation as well for longer stays since it is right near the beach. The surrounding dunes and forested areas are great for walking, cycling and mountain biking.
- The North Sea coast resorts, . Resort facilities at Scheveningen and at Kijkduin have access to the beach, the dunes, as well as seaside restaurants and cafes. Be sure to check out the Scheveningen Pier, the largest pier in the Netherlands, which has a 60 m (200 ft) lookout tower, bungee jumping, and a casino and restaurant. Scheveningen gets crowded in the summer, so try Kijkduin if you're looking for something a little more peaceful.
Check the "Haagenda" for current events link->
- KoninginneNach, . Evening of the 29th of April. While Amsterdam is generally known for having country's largest celebration of Dutch Queen's Day on the 30th of April, in recent years The Hague has held the largest anticipatory party the night before. KoninginneNach (Queens' Night in The Hague dialect) has bands and DJ's giving shows in 5 different locations in the city centre.
- Scheveningen International Sand Sculpture Festival, . May.
- Scheveningen International Fireworks Festival,  August.
- Parkpop, . Last Sunday of June. Huge, free, one-day pop music festival held in Zuiderpark. Attracts nearly 400.000 visitors each year, nearly as many people as actually live in the city, making the festival the largest of its kind in the world.
- North Sea Regatta, . End of May / Beginning of June. International sailing contest, held off the coast of Scheveningen.
- Tong Tong Fair, . End of May/beginning of June. This claims to be the largest Eurasian festival in the world. Since its first edition in 1958 it has been the quintessential event and meeting place for the country's sizable Dutch-East-Indian community. The festival also attracts lots of outsiders though, who come to sample Indonesian cuisine in the huge food halls, listen to music, buy foodstuffs, Indonesian clothes and parafernalia and inform themselves about Indonesian culture. The festival is held in large tents on the Malieveld, opposite Centraal.
- Den Haag Sculptuur, . June, July and August. Free sculpture exposition on Lange Voorhout with different themes each year.
- North Sea Jazz Festival, . Second weekend of July. After having been held in The Hague for 30 years, this world famous jazz festival has now (2006) moved to Rotterdam because of accommodation problems in The Hague.
- Prinsjesdag. Third Tuesday in September. Prinsjesdag or 'Princes Day' marks the beginning of the new parliamentary year. On this day, large crowds are drawn by the traditional journey that Queen Beatrix makes from her palace at Noordeinde to the Knight's Hall at the Binnenhof. She makes her trip in the Gouden Koets (Golden Carriage), a gift from the people of Amsterdam to her grandmother Wilhelmina from 1903. The carriage is used only for this special occasion. In the Knight's Hall, the Queen then performs her duty as the formal head of state by reading out the Troonrede (Throne Speech) to the gathered chambers of the parliament. The throne speech contains a summary of the policies the cabinet is planning to implement over the next year.
- Crossing Border Festival, . November.
- TodaysArt Festival, . Last weekend of September. International Festival Beyond Art.
Many people move to the Randstad area (including The Hague, Amsterdam, Rotterdam) either for a year out, work (as an Expatriate) or to join partners (who are mostly either Expatriates or Dutch). There are specialist websites for English and non-Dutch speakers looking to work in The Hague (and Randstad area) and a good place to start; Blue Lynx - Employment by Language .
Immigration matters are dealt with by the Immigration Service IND . Registration is done by both police and municipalities. Immigration policy is restrictive and deliberately bureaucratic. That is especially true for non-EU citizens.
European Union citizens do not require a work permit. Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians are afforded a one year working-holiday visa. In general the employer must apply for work permits. Immigration is easier for "knowledge migrants" earning a gross annual salary of over € 45 000 (over € 33 000 for those under 30).
Most of the main department stores are located near the city centre.
- Maison de Bonneterie, Gravenstraat 2. An opulent fashion store inside a glass-domed building built in 1913. Stores such as Burberry, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, and others cater to an upscale crowd. They also have purveyors to Queen Beatrix herself!
- De Bijenkorf, Wagenstraat 32 (corner Grote Marktstraat). This middle-priced to expensive department store is housed in a large building from 1924, built in a unique expressionist style with brick and copper. Have a look at the glass-stained windows in the staircase. The restaurant 'La Ruche' in the third floor has a good view of the surrounding area.
- V&D, Grote Marktstraat 50. A similar department store to Debenhams in the UK.
You can find the best shopping in The Hague on the side streets that circle out from the city centre. While lots of them are upscale, you can find a few bargain stores dotted here and there.
- De Passage - A unique covered shopping gallery built in 1882, with a sister-building in Brussels. Here you can find specialty and upmarket fashion shopping. Check out the outdoor cafes just outside on Buitenhof
- "De (The Candy Box), (next to the Oude Stadhuis). This building is near the up-market Hoogstraat shopping area. Locals call it "The Candy Box" because of it's unique exterior. Completed in 2000, it's one of the newer building in the city
- Prinsestraat - Specialty shops, delicatessens and restaurants in the area around this street, located between Grote Kerk and Noordeinde palace.
- Spuistraat. Pedestrianized, shopping streets with mainly smalll chain stores. Other streets bordering the area with similar shops are Vlamingstraat, Venestraat and Wagenstraat.
- The American Book Center, Lange Poten 23, ☎ +31 70 3642742, . This unique store sells new and used English titles and caters to both expats and locals. If you're dragging extra copies of books across Europe, but don't want to throw them away, try trading them in here.
- Denneweg and Noordeinde. These shopping streets lie parallel to one another from either side of the Binnenhof. The former has antiques, bric-a-brac, and several interesting restaurants and specialty food shops, while the latter is known for its boutiques and haute couture.
Just as Indian restaurants abound in the UK, the Netherlands has an excellent tradition in Indonesian and colonial Dutch-Indies cuisine. After Indonesia became independent from the Netherlands in 1945, the country received a large number of former colonials from Dutch and mixed descent who had been forced to leave the newly independent colony. The Hague received a relatively large number of these people and is still a centre of the Dutch-Indonesian community.
Indonesian, city centre
- Garoeda, Kneuterdijk 18a. Historic place (founded 1949) with waiters in traditional costumes, spread out over two floors.
- Poentjak, Kneuterdijk 16. Next to Garoeda. Interior is a time-warp to the 1920ies.
- Istana, Wagenstraat 71. Small restaurant with somewhat minimalist decor. Excellent sateh.
Indonesian, out of the centre
- Bogor, Van Swietenstraat 2 (070) 346 1628. Know by the in-crowd as traditionally the best place in town. Simple but excellent food, has been around for over 40 years and has not changed since.
- Tampat Senang, Laan van Meerdervoort 6. Very colonial-style restaurant with waiters in traditional costumes. Beautifully decorated with indigenous art. Excellent garden for outside dining in summer.
- Palembang, Thomsonlaan 17. Cosy place with excellent food. Lots of pictures on the wall with local celebrities who visited here.
- Sarinah, Goudenregenplein 4, 070-360 1585. A local institution, this place gets especially busy in the weekends when service can be a bit slow. Has both a restaurant area and a take-away service.
- Keraton Damai, Groot Hertoginnelaan 57, 070-363 9371. Small 'living-room style restaurant' with very personal and attentive service. Small but excellent choice of dishes.
Asian Fusion HanTing restaurant on Prinsestraat 33 offers a fusion of Asian flavours with flair. Price range around 30 Euro for a 5 course gourmet meal. www.hantingcuisine.nl.
- Chinatown. Recently the town has officially hailed the area around Gedempte Gracht and Wagenstraat as its local Chinatown, and added street signs in Chinese and all that. The area is not particularly spectacular, but good Chinese food is to be found around here. Fat Kee has a superb chicken and broccoli dish. Another excellent place is Harvest, which is in the heart of Chinatown; try the various dim sum dishes there, if you don't mind eating freezer meals, copious amounts of vetsin and the occasional rotten shrimp.
- Dudok. Hofweg 1a. Dudok lies right opposite the Binnenhof and is quite popular with both politicians and the "ordinary" public out shopping.
- Sakura. In Scheveningen. A friendly sushi bar that can accommodate a big crowd.
- Irodion (Greek) In the city centre, next to the Media Market. Actually this is made up of two restaurants; the first one is fast food take out, where you can get the ubiquitous giros and tzatziki, with a generous portion of french fries. The second part is actually more fancier eat-in restaurant. Highly recommended.
- Bodega de Posthoorn. A grandcafe is the centre of the Hague. Located near various tourist attraction: Maurtishuis, Hofvijver, Binnenhof, Historical Museum and Escher Museum. Bodega de Posthoorn is a unique eating and drinking establishment with typical Dutch grandieur. If you visit the Hague, you must have had a at least a cup of coffee here, to experience the typical Dutch grandieur.
- There are also other small mom and pop restaurants around The Hague, such as take out Suriname, Chinese, or Thai. They are small and normally a tourist wouldn't know much about them. But if you wander around the city and the more residential areas, such as the Zeeheldenkwartier, you'll find them easily. On the main street in the Zeeheldenkwartier (Elandstraat 52), past the McDonald's and the Albert Heijn, you'll find a small Suriname restaurant called Warung Kromo there. It is mostly for take-away dishes, but there are a few tables and chairs inside if you want to eat there. The people are friendly and the food is good and cheap. Try the roti and curry dishes, as well as the simple Suriname "broodjes".
- Asta, . Club located in a former theatre and cinema building. The atmosphere of the old cinema is retained in the interior, including one room, which still has the original cinema seat available for lounging. Student's nights is Thursday, club nights on Friday and Saturday. Queues can get massive on Thursday's and on other days when well-known acts are contracted. Spui 27. Open Th,F 11PM-4AM, Sat 11PM-5:30AM.
- Paard van Troje and Paard Café, also a venue for concerts and such . Prinsegracht 12.
- De Zwarte Ruiter . A busy bar at the "Grote Markt" square near Paard van Troje.
- September, next to De Zwarte Ruiter.
- Supermarkt (formerly known as Club Sillies), a bar cum live rock venue, next to September and De Zwarte Ruiter.
- De Boterwaag opposite September, housed in a former weighing building it's a spacious and atmospheric venue.
During summer, the "Grote markt" becomes a big open air terrace, great for people watching and music festivals!
- Florencia  near the Grote Kerk the best ice cream parlor in town.
- NEW cafe Madeleine  just outside the centre. take tram 3 to valkenbosplein and just have a coffee and something sweet :) open for early birds from 8am
- Stayokay Den Haag, Scheepmakersstraat 27 (tram 17 (Rijswijkseplein stop)), ☎ +31 70 3157888 ([email protected]). This standard backpacking hostel has double rooms with individual toilet and shower facilities as well as 8 bed dorms. The hostel has a good location, being close to the Hollands Spoor train station (a 5 minute walk). Hosteling International members get discounts at Stayokay, and you can get a one-year membership card that is useful if you're staying at other HI Hostels. There are internet facilities available to lodgers at a reasonable fee.
- Ambassade Arena Aparthotel Scheveningen (Berkenbosch Blokstraat 9), ☎ +31 (0)70 306 0123, . checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am". A1 location on tram lines 1 & 9. Located just 15 minutes from Central Station and less than 5 minutes walking distance from the beach.
- Ibis Den Haag Centre (Jan Hendrikstraat 10), . Great location close to the Grote Kerk.
- Novotel Den Haag Centrum, Hofweg 5-7, . Located in the Passage shopping centre and literally right across the street from the Binnenhof.
- Hotel des Indes, Lange Voorhout 54-56, . A former residence of a seventeenth century aristocrat, this über-luxury hotel opened its doors in 1881 and has been serving artists, musicians, and other celebrities ever since. It is located down the street from some of the major diplomatic missions such as the American and French embassies, and has also hosted heads of state such as Dwight Eisenhower and Jacques Chirac. Be sure to check out the ultra-luxurious bar and lounge.
You should take normal precautions against pickpockets and baggage theft, especially in the main shopping streets, in trams and trains, at stations, and anywhere where tourists congregate. Street begging is common around the Hollands Spoor train station and at the Grote Markt. Most of them are homeless and non-aggressive and a simple 'no' will be enough. At night, the city centre is quite safe because of the large number of police cameras monitoring this area. Neighbourhoods southwest of the centre are less affluent and may not be as safe. The area between Zuiderpark and Hollands Spoor has a bad reputation due to the increasing number of street gangs. Schilderswijk and Transvaal areas are blocks that should be avoided after dark. If you are unsure, take a taxi to your destination. Taking a tram is also considered safe, as the so-called 'risky lines' in this area now have a security team on board from 8PM till 1AM.
Quaint cities like Delft, known for its famous blue pottery, and the university town of Leiden are just 15 minutes by train.
- Delft - Arguably the country's most picturesque canal-lined town. Home of the famous Delft Blue pottery (or Delftware), and the home of Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer. Trains leave from Centraal Station or Hollands Spoor every 15 min; the trip takes 12 or 8 min respectively. Tram 1 also reaches the Delft city centre.
- Leiden - This town lays claim to the oldest university in the Netherlands, Leiden University, which was founded in 1575. It is the second largest 17th-century town centre after Amsterdam. Home to many interesting museums. Trains from Centraal Station or Hollands Spoor every 15 minutes, with each trip taking 13 or 10 minutes respectively.
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