A Procession Through The Hague

After watching the procession of the golden coach through the streets of The Hague, make your own procession through the city, visiting royal palaces and museums filled with works by world famous Dutch artists.

While Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague, located 40 miles to its south, is the center of government. Every third Tuesday in September all eyes turn to The Hague as the Queen addresses the joint houses of Parliament officially opening the Dutch parliamentary session. Throngs of people line the streets waiting to get a glimpse of the Queen as she passes notable city landmarks, such as Lange Voorhour and Korte Vijverberg on the way to the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall) in the Binnenhof. After watching the procession of the golden coach through the streets of The Hague, make your own procession through the city, visiting royal palaces and museums filled with works by world famous Dutch artists.

Start your tour with a visit to the Binnenhof (“Inner Court”) home to Dutch politics since 1446. Other buildings on the grounds include the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall), where the queen annually addresses the Parliament, and the Torentje (Little Tower), the office of the Prime Minister. Be sure to take a stroll around the perimeter of the courtyard, where you will find open spaces for the public to enjoy and the lake, the Hofvijver.

Overlooking the Hofvijver is The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis. This intimate museum located in the 17th century palace of a Dutch count is home to a grand collection of paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists, such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Paul Rubens, Frans Hals and Pieter Brueghel, and includes the famous works Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and Laughing Boy.

Hendrik Willem Mesdag is another Dutch artist whose work can be found in The Hague. His Panorama Mesdag is 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference. Viewing this panorama from an observation gallery in the center of the room, you feel as if you are on a sand dune overlooking the view at the beach resort Scheveningen. This cylindrical painting is the biggest painting in Holland and the oldest 19th century panorama in the world in its original site, a building built specifically to house it.

Complete your tour of The Hague with a visit to the royal palaces where the figurative leader of the Dutch government, Queen Beatrix lives and works. Palace Huis ten Bosch (House in the Woods), tucked away in the Haagse Bos, was used as a summer home for the royal families until 1981 when Queen Beatrix and her family moved into the palace making it the official royal residence. The Hague’s other royal residence, Noordeinde Palace, is used as the “working palace” for the queen and her staff. While neither palace is open to the public, the beautiful parks and woods surrounding the respective buildings are available for the public to enjoy.

Prince’s Day (Prinsjesdag)

CC Photo Courtesy of Audringje ❘ Flickr

The third Tuesday of September is Prince’s Day in the Netherlands.  It signals the start of the Dutch parliamentary year and is one of the most important days in the Dutch royal calendar.

Schools in The Hague close so the children can watch the procession as the Queen rides a golden horse-drawn carriage from the Noordeinde Palace to the Hall of Knights in the Binnenhof, the seat of the Dutch parliament in The Hague.

As Head of State, the Queen delivers the “Speech from the Throne” before a joint meeting of both chambers of parliament, members of the cabinet, the Council of State and some other invited guests.  The Queens’ Speech outlines the government’s plans for the coming year.  The Finance Minister presents his symbolic briefcase, containing both the Budget Memorandum and the National Budget to the President of the House of Representatives later in the day.

The Dutch Royal Armed Forces line the road as the procession returns to the Noordeinde Palace.  The Royal Family appears on the palace balcony to address the huge crowd waiting for them.

The Prince’s Day celebrations date back to the 18th century when a holiday was declared to mark Prince Willem V’s birthday.

In present times, the occasion has taken a more pragmatic significance and is not a national holiday.  The scenes of royal traditions in The Hague however are not lost on an adoring public that lines the city’s streets to witness the pomp and glory of the occasion.

A city with royal style


For my very first 52 cities’ guide I made a walk through the centre of The Hague. Start along the leafy Lange Voorhout with the Palace where Queen Emma lived from 1901 to l934. Nowadays it is a museum [1] tributed to the Dutch artist Escher. The prestigious Hotel Des Indes [2] built in 1858 had many royal guests, aristocrats and celebrities. Enjoy an afternoon tea in the lovely lounge area. Every Thursday and Sunday from May until the end of September you’ll find the antique market on the Lange Voorhout. Pulchri Studio [3] is an artist’s society, established in 1847. In this building the artists show their works of art (free entrance). The history of the Kloosterkerk starts around 1400 AD. Every last Sunday of the month a cantata service is held in collaboration of the Residential Bach Orchestra and the Residential Chamber Orchestra. In 2009 the Indonesian restaurant Garoeda [4] celebrated its 60th anniversary. You can enjoy either a light lunch up to a complete Rijsttafel (ricetable). One of the most famous clients of De Graaff Tobacconist [5] in the Heulstraat was Churchill himself. Palace Noordeinde built in 1533 is Queen Beatrix’ work palace. Every Wednesday morning foreign ambassadors arrive here in horse carriages. Not only Princess Maxima loves to shop in the boutiques at the Noordeinde and Hoogstraat. Enjoy an Italian cappuccino at Deluca, situated on the corner of the oldest shopping centre in Holland, the Passage, built between 1882 and 1885. The Dutch government is located in the Binnenhof, built in the 13th century. On the third Tuesday of September Queen Beatrix holds her speech in the gothic Ridderzaal. The office of the Prime Minister is in the so-called Torentje next to the 17th century Mauritshuis [6]. In this museum you’ll find a collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Jan Steen and Frans Hals.

[1] Escher in Het Paleis, Lange Voorhout 74, www.escherinhetpaleis.nl

[2] Hotel Des Indes, Lange Voorhout 54-56, www.desindes.nl

[3] Pulchri Studio, Lange Voorhout 15, www.pulchri.nl

[4] Indonesian restaurant Garoeda, Kneuterdijk 18a, www.garoeda.nl

[5] G. de Graaff Tobacconist, Heulstraat 27, www.gdegraaff.com

[6] Mauritshuis, Korte Vijverberg 8, www.mauritshuis.nl

A good life in The Hague

Let me introduce myself as author of this blog

My name is Ellie Brik and I was born many many years ago in Rotterdam. Since 1999 I live in The Hague, in the so-called Statenkwartier; I love to bike to the Denneweg or to the beach and enjoy a good cappuccino on a sunny terrace. In 2000 I wrote for publisher Mo’Media in Breda (www.momedia.nl) my first book “52 zondagen wandelen & lunchen” (52 Sunday walks and lunches) which was very successful (100.000 copies and on the Top 100 list of best sold books in 2002). Uptil now I wrote 12 books all about the good life: visiting lovely towns and villages, having great lunches and dinners, and staying in the best hotels. Furthermore I wrote about lifestyle, fashion and furniture for Elsevier Thema. For a Belgian magazine I wrote about shopping, dining and sleeping in lovely cities in Holland and Belgium. I also write about the good life for magazine Heerlijkheid, published by Mariënwaerdt in Beesd (www.marienwaerdt.nl), see issue October and December 2010 and February 2011. In my blog http://elliebrik.web-log.nl you can read about my private and business matters.

Some tips for The Hague

At least try bread or the delicious galettes from Philippe Galerne. Try the shrimp croquettes at Dendy (www.restaurantdendy.nl), the Caesar salad at Oker (www.restaurantoker.nl), both at the Denneweg in the Hague, or the fusion kitchen of Wox (www.wox.nl).

Stay at the hotel of one of the authors here, at Hotel des Indes (ask for a room with a view on the Lange Voorhout), or at the Paleishotel (www.paleishotel.nl)

Visit the Gemeentemuseum (www.gemeentemuseum.nl), the Mauritshuis (www.mauritshuis.nl) and the Panorama Mesdag (www.panorama-mesdag.com) all three a must.

You can find me on Twitter as @EllieBrik

Don’t Forget the Feel at Home in The Hague Fair

Especially if you are an expat who recently settled in The Hague, you shouldn’t forget the Feel At Home in The Hague Fair Sunday September 19 in the City Hall Atrium.

Slideshow of wandering through The Hague

I found this video, actually a slide show with some nice music of Youtube user Deiktes
His comment:

Brief photo slide made of pictures taken while walking around in The Hague, during a trip to Holland in 2006. The Hague, is the third-largest city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. It belongs to the province of South Holland, of which it is also the provincial capital, and it is part of the conglomerate metropolitan area Randstad, with a population of 6,659,300 inhabitants. The Hague is the actual seat of the Dutch government and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands lives and works in The Hague, but the official capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam. It is also home to over 150 international (legal) organisations The Hague originated around 1230, when Floris IV, Count of Holland purchased land alongside a pond (now the hofvijver) in order to build a hunting residence. When the Dukes of Burgundy gained control over the counties of Holland and Zeeland in the beginning of the 15th century, their seat was located in The Hague. Probably since those days, the stork has been the symbol of the city. At the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War, the Spanish troops easily occupied the town, due to the absence of walls. From 1588 The Hague also became the location of the government of the Dutch Republic. In order for the administrations to maintain control over city manners, The Hague never received city rights (although it did have many privileges, normally only attributed to cities). Parts of the city sustained heavy damage during WWII, and the Atlantic Wall was built through part of the city, causing whole neighbourhoods to be torn down. In 1945, due to navigational errors a heavily populated and historic part of the city was bombed. Because of its history, The Hague lacks a large historical inner city; the older parts are mostly from the 19th century and the early 20th century.

As one of the participants our recent brainstorm session said: “It’s always interesting to see your own city through the eyes of a visitor”.

Ooievaart Canal Tour Offers Rich and Unique History of The Hague

Amsterdam isn’t the only city with canals. Find out more about the rich and fascinating history of The Hague during the Ooievaart Canal Tour.

Zieke canal
Canal Tours are not just limited to Amsterdam. Since 2003 the Ooievaart Canal Tour has offered a unique glimpse into the 400+ years of hidden history along the canals of The Hague.  It reveals little gems such as the home of Dutch painter Jan Steen, the location of the smallest church in The Hague, the residence of author and native son Louis Couperus, famous Dutch dancer turned WWI spy Mata Hari’s residence, and the beautiful holiday mansions for Dutch/Indonesian merchants on the Mauritskade. The Ooievaart Tour also provides a wealth of information on the former uses of the canals, their original role in the security of the city, the trade routes and the goods The Hague exported, and interesting landmarks for the city that flourished near the water’s edge.

The tour guide is very knowledgeable and the tour is conducted in Dutch; however, you can request a guidebook in the language of your choice when you arrive at the boat.  The English guidebook was filled with interesting information and offered a map to all 21 points of interest. The tour is an hour and a half and was a great way to introduce the city to new visitors and residents alike.

Of note: The boats are uncovered, but with good reason – during its development The Hague did not create bridges over the canals, but rather built roads directly across the water. This makes some of the tour more interactive – be prepared to duck quite a bit!

Highlights from the tour can be found on Flickr. For more information on the Ooievaart Canal Tours, please visit their website: www.ooievaart.nl

The Hague says: “Good bye Manolo Valdes”

Opening The Hague Sculpture 2010 _MG_5745Lady in Green

Opening The Hague Sculpture 2010 _MG_5876
Queen Beatrix looking at a Regina Statue of Manolo Valdes
Opening The Hague Sculpture 2010 _MG_5839
Two Regina Statues by Manolo Valdes

In summer there is an open air sculpture exhibition at the “Lange Voorhout”, The Hague Sculpture. Melinda posted about it already. When the exhibition was opened by Dutch Queen Beatrix, I took this lady in green’s portrait while entering the Klooster Church for the opening ceremony. Hats are en vogue during such official venues. I believe such classic ladies with chic outfits are typical for The Hague.

Today the statues of Manolo Valdes will be taken away. The Kim Ruysenaar sculptures will be on display until September 12.

I really wondered whether Manolo was inspired by Beatrix, who is a sculptor herself, time permitting, or whether his Regina series that could reflect Beatrix caused the organizing committee to invite Manolo for this year’s exhibition and to ensure Beatrix would do the opening ceremony.

For those of you interested in the actual sculptures featured in The Hague: I’ve uploaded several sets of photos to my Flickr account: 2010, 2009, 2009 opening, 2008 and 2007.

This post was featured at the Carnival of Cities hosted by Family Travel Logue of September 22, 2010

Last edited by Happy Hotelier on October 4, 2010 at 5.40 pm

Plastic Deformation

Plastische Vervorming / Plastic deformationOn September 11 Plastic Deformation (Plastische Vervorming), the invisible life of trams will premiere as a theatrical evening on site in the HTM tram depot.

Sophie’s father her best friend dies in a tram accident. One year later everybody is telling her she needs  come to terms to the grief and be bereavement.

She does this in her own way by reconstructing the last days of his life in detail. She maps his last footsteps and reconstructs every conversation he had before the accident and she finds out things about him she would never have known otherwise.

Plastic Deformation/distortion  is produced by Theatre Group in association with The Arsenal jetzt. The play was inspired by the location itself, Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, BBC’s In Treatment and the 1977 Tenerife airport disaster.

The play is in Dutch.

Thu, Fri, Sat from September 9 through October 23. (Try-outs Sept. 9 & 10)

more info here.

This article is translated from Dutch.
De Nederlandse versie is te lezen op Hofstijl.

thanks for editing @earlybird44.