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The Hague

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Hague (Den Haag) is the third largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Officially known as Gravenhage — the count's domain — because of a 13th-century count's castle, it is the seat of government and home to the royal family, but not the Dutch capital. That honour goes to Amsterdam.

Queen Beatrix commutes every day from her residential palace to her city office in Noordeinde. If the flag is hoisted, Her Majesty is inside working!

The foundation of The Hague as an international city of peace and justice began in 1899 when the world's first Peace Conference took place there. It is now home to the UN International Court of Justice, the Academy of International Law and the War Crimes Tribunal.

The Hague has no university, but its many civil servants and diplomats, including large numbers of expatriates, make it culturally diverse. It has a refined air, with stately mansions and palatial embassies.

The layout of The Hague is more spacious than other Dutch cities and the older parts have wide green boulevards. This was to give easy access for horses and carriages. These days they are a popular tourist attraction taking visitors to the city's highlights. Gilded carriages are very much part of the elegant city.

The largest Dutch city on the North Sea, The Hague has two distinct beach towns. The main beach resort Scheveningen in the city's north-west is popular with tourists and young locals.

There are plenty of pavilions along the coastline. People drop in for a refreshing drink in summer and something warming in winter. Strandclub WIJ is a beach club which in recent years has been awarded many prizes for being top of its class.

The very impressive Kurhaus Hotel goes back to 1818 when Jacob Pronk opened a bathing establishment. The wooden pavilion was very popular and grew into a hotel while the bathhouse became a spa. Its stunning concert hall has been a popular venue for entertainers and the bar is lined with photographs of famous guests. The Kurhaus offers five-star luxury. There are 255 sea-view or town-view rooms and suites, all stylishly decorated.

Kurzaal restaurant and bar, where contemporary design meets classical architecture, serves drinks, meals, afternoon tea and supper every day.

Kandinsky has views of the sea and in summer guests dine on an enchanting terrace.

The Conservatory is perfect for enjoying a cappuccino, light lunch or cocktail. It also has views of the North Sea coast.

Location

The Netherlands' third largest city.

Cost

Golden Carriage tours are around $15 for adults and $8 for children. They operate between June and September on Fridays and weekends.

DriveAway Holidays has car hire from $68 a day based on seven or more days. Valid between April 01, 2008 — March 31, 2009.

Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel rooms start at around $250 a night.

More information

Golden Carriage Tours
Tickets can be bought from:
VVV tourist information office
Hofweg 1
Den Haag, Nederland
Ph: 31 (0)900 340 35 05
Fax: 31 (0)900 352 04 26

Steigenberger Kurhaus Hotel
Gevers Deynootplein 30,
Postbus 80654,
2508 GR Den Haag, Nederland.
Ph: 31(0) 70 4162636
Fax: 31(0) 70 4162646
Website: www.kurhaus.nl
Email: reservations@kurhaus.nl

Strandclub WIJ
Strandweg
12586 JK Scheveningen, Nederland
Ph: 31 (0) 70 358 56 07
Website: www.strandclubwij.nl
Email: info@strandclubwij.nl

DriveAway Holidays
Level 2, 157 Walker Street,
North Sydney 2060
Ph: 1300 363 500
Fax: (02) 9929 4655
Website: Email: enquiries@driveaway.com.au

User comments
I'm from Brisbane and have been living in The Hague for over 2 months now. Although it may not be as well known as Amsterdam or have the nightlife of Rotterdam, it is a unique city and well worth a visit. The restaurant and cafe scene is great (particularly in the Summer), the public transport (trams and buses) excellent and like the rest of the Netherlands has never ending bike paths and very cheap beer. The Frederik Hendriklaan ("The Fred") is one of the most famous shopping streets in the Netherlands and is well worth a visit to check out the variety of cafes, bakeries, cheese shops and other food shops amongst others. We love it.
I have lots of friends in the Netherlands, and quite a few live near Den Haag. I have been there 6 times in the last 7 years, and I love it! Nothing beats walking from my friends house in Scheveningen down to the boardwalk and watching the sun set in summer, sipping a drink in one of the restaurants along the beach!
My son and daughter-in-law live and work in The Hague. I visit as often as I can and it is a favourite destination. It is a friendly and attractive city with lots of restaurants and outdoor cafes. Fabulous restaurants at Scheveningen on warm summer evenings. The ICC and ICTY are interesting courts where the public can go and sit in on trials - quite an experience.
I ENJOYED YOUR PROGRAMME. I WAS BORN THERE AND TRY TO VISIT THE HAGUE EVERY TWO YEARS IF I CAN. I WAS BORN ABOUT 10 MINUTES WALK FROM THE PEACE PALACE IN THE CENTRE OF TOWN. I ALWAYS ENJOY WALKING ALONG THE BEACH IN SCHEVENINGEN.

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