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