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The Hague is a city that can get overlooked by tourists who come to the Netherlands mainly to visit Amsterdam. But, as the seat of the country's political and judicial branches, The Hague holds a lot of historical and cultural value. The world-renowned museums, beautiful parks, and fascinating architecture make The Hague a must-see city on your Holland list. The Hague is the third-largest city in the Netherlands, but unlike Amsterdam, it is not crowded with tourists. When you explore The Hague, you will get a taste for the real flavor of the Netherlands.
The Grote of Sint Jacobskerk (Great or Saint James Church) is one of the oldest buildings in The Hague, constructed in the 13th century. It is a landmark in the downtown area. Members of the royal family, House of Orange-Nassau, have been baptized and married here. The latest is King Willem-Alexander and his daughter Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange.
This art museum was founded in 1866 and is famous for having the largest Mondrian collection in the world. Mondrian is a Dutch painter and is one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art. Other famous artists are also on display here such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, and Vincent van Gogh. In addition to paintings, this museum houses collections of pottery, glass, prints, fashion, and music.
The Noordeinde Palace is one of the three official palaces of the Dutch royal family. It was originally a medieval farmhouse before being converted into a residence in 1533. Voltaire stayed here while he negotiated with a Dutch publisher for his work, Anti-Machiavel. Queen Wilhelmina was born here in 1880 and she frequently stayed here, except for during World War II. Today, it is the official workplace of King Willem-Alexander.
This beautiful street is wonderful to stroll down on a nice afternoon in The Hague. It was constructed in 1536 by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, when he visited The Hague. He decided to join the front gardens of the buildings to create a broad avenue, then gave the street it’s stately aesthetic by lining it with four rows of lime trees. This street is home to many great institutions and monuments, such as the Kloosterkerk, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the Escher Museum, the academic association Diligentia, the art society Pulchri Studio, as well as the embassies of the United Kingdom, Spain, and Switzerland.
In 1934, Pieter Louwman began the collection of cars that has grown into The Louwman Museum. There over 230 automobiles on display, with more cars from 1910 or older than anywhere else in the world. There are 15 classic Dutch brand cars, a car owned by Winston Churchill, the Aston Martin DB5 used in the James Bond movie Goldfinger, and a Cadillac owned by Elvis Presley.
Escher in Het Paleis (Escher in The Palace) features the works of M.C. Escher, the Dutch graphical artist. Many of his acclaimed prints are displayed here including Air and Water (birds become fish); Belvedere (the inside out of a Folly); Waterfall (where water seems to flow upwards); Drawing (two hands drawing each other). The third floor of the museum holds multiple interactive displays, including one where adults seem to be smaller than their children.
Scheveningen is located just outside of The Hague within a 10-minute bus ride. It is a modern seaside resort with a long, sandy beach and many restaurants located right on the sand. The esplanade, pier, and lighthouse complete the aesthetic. There are many activities available such as the Ferris wheel, ziplining, bungee jumping, windsurfing, and kiteboarding.
The Peace Palace was officially opened in 1913 after a Russian and American diplomat discussed the need for providing a home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Andrew Carnegie donated $1.5 million (or $40 million if adjusted for inflation) to build the house and the library of international law. Today, the Peace Palace houses the International Court of Justice. the PCA< The Hague Academy of International Law, and the Peace Palace Library. The impressive facade is worth a visit alone, but there are also guided tours available if you plan ahead. Tours are available in Dutch, German, and English. Tickets are available online.
The Binnenhof is a complex of buildings that houses the States-General of the Netherlands, the Ministry of General Affairs, and the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. It was built primarily in the 13th-century and is among the oldest Parliament buildings in the world still in use. The Ridderzaal (literally Knight’s Hall) is located in the center of the Binnenhof and was originally built as a ballroom. King Willem-Alexander holds his annual Speech from the Throne here.
The Mauritshuis Museum is an art museum that houses the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, which includes mostly Dutch Golden Age paintings. The collection contains works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, and many others. In 1641, the Mauritshuis was built as a home and then in 1774, it was opened as an art gallery. The most famous paintings on display here include Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, and View of Delft.
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The list is truly endless for things to do in Amsterdam. It is a major world city with fabulous cultural and historical significance. If you are planning a trip to this canal city, then here are the things you will not want to miss.
If you are looking for your next vacation destination, then look no further than The Netherlands! It is a small country, about the size of Massachusetts, but this means that you can easily travel around and see many different areas. The Netherlands is so diverse and has so many different things to offer. Whether you are into art history, nature, or cuisine – there is something for everyone!
Maastricht is truly a beautiful city, I would certainly spend more than one day here. However, if you only have one day then you can still try to fit in all the incredible history, culture, and nature that is around Maastricht. There is a great shopping district, over 1,600 national heritage buildings, beautiful parks, and even an intricate network of tunnels!
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