Walking Tour of The Hague, Netherlands
The Hague, Netherlands’ seat of government (despite Amsterdam being the major city), is an elegant and stately city, just 43 miles (about 60 kilometers) southwest of Amsterdam. Internationally, the city is well-known as the location of the World Court, housed in the Peace Palace. As a result of its presence here, there are over 60 foreign embassies in the area.
One of the most important tourist sights is the Binnenhof, a former hunting lodge which now houses the official governmental branches of the country. At the center of the complex is the Ridderzaal (the Hall of the Knights) which is decorated with flags of the provinces and coats of arm from the various cities.
Also of note are several palaces, Noordeinde, where the reigning monarch and her staff are employed, and Huis ten Bosch (House in the Woods Palace), which is the royal residence and can be found east of the city.
My walk begins at De Plaats (The Square), located at the intersection of Hoge Nieuwstraat, Buitenhof, and Kneuterdijk. The statue at the center is of Johan de Witt, who was executed (by hanging) in the square. Walk south from here on Buitenhof, which becomes the Hofweg, and skirts the western end of Court Lake (Hofvijver).
Just past the lake, turn left, into the Binnenhof courtyard. This former hunting lodge, built in the 13th century, has been transformed into Holland’s seat of government. Within the complex is the remarkable Ridderzaal, containing the stunning Hall of the Knights.
After your visit, exit to the northeast (the opposite side of the complex from where you entered), to find Mauritshuis, a 17th century palace which now houses a wonderful collection of Dutch paintings, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Rubens.
Now, turn right on Korte Vijverberg which enters a large square, The Plein, presided over by a Statue of William the Silent. This quintessential Dutch square is surrounded by vintage buildings and numerous outdoor cafes, and makes a great spot to relax and do some people-watching. From here, turn right (south) on Lange Poten. At the large intersection ahead, cross the street to Spuistraat and enter The Passage, an unusual glass-roofed arcade housing a huge variety of shops. This is the only mall of its type left in the Netherlands.
Continue to the western end of The Passage and exit onto the Buitenhof, turning left. Cross the Plaats (where you started the walk), and then turn right onto Noordeinde. Look for the Noordeinde Palace, on your left, as you walk (it cannot be visited but can be seen from the road). Noordeinde becomes Zeestraat, after it crosses a canal, and leads to the Panorama Mesdag, the world’s largest painting of its type.
Further north, bear left onto Sheveningseweg, and then turn left to see the Peace Palace, home of the World Court, and its lovely, landscaped grounds. When you leave, retrace your steps onto Sheveningseweg, and then turn left on Javastraat, and then right onto Alexanderstraat, which soon becomes Parkstraat. When you reach Lange Voorhout, turn left, admiring the classic, elegant homes as you stroll through what was once a large forest. The road will turn sharply right (south) as you proceed, and then turn right onto Korte Voorhout, and then onto Lange Vijverberg, which skirts the northern shore of Court Lake and leads back to De Plaats, where you began your walk.