CPC runners head towards the finish line.

My family and I are signed up for the ABN AMRO CPC (City-Pier-City) Run, which will take place in The Hague on March 13, 2011.  Once an intimate local race that allowed Dutch talent to shine, the CPC has become the stage for world class runners to set and break records, including Samuel Wanjiru who set a world record time in 2007 and legendary distance runner Haile Gabrselassie, and Sammy Kitwara who, after defeating Gabrselassie on the course in 2009, became the runner to watch. This year with changes made to the course making it even faster, the record making tradition is expected to continue.

Although the intense international attention shown to the race in recent years because of the world-class runners it attracts is exciting, the CPC is ultimately a local race defined by its intimate feel. In addition to the half marathon, other CPC events include the Ernst & Bobbie Children’s run, the Youth Run, the Schools’ Run in which students from local schools participate in a 1, 2.5, or 5 km run, the West 5 km Run, the AD Haagsche Courant 10 km Run and the Business Runs.

For more information on the race and registration visit the CPC website.

Beyond Bliss Spa


Garra Rufa fish treatment



Escape from the daily stress of life at Beyond Bliss Spa.  Located on Prinsenstraat, one of the most stylish shopping streets in The Hague, Beyond Bliss Spa features a range of treatments to pamper and refresh, but it is the Garra Rufa Fish Foot Spa that is creating a buzz.

Touted as a “natural pedicure” the treatment uses Garra Rufa fish, originally found in the hot springs of Turkey and used to treat psoriasis and other skin disorders, to feed on the dry skin on your feet. The fish are also believed to secrete an enzyme that promotes skin regeneration, resulting in softer, smoother skin.

Your feet are first sprayed with water to remove any dirt or fluff before you dunk them into the long fish tank filled with warm water and hundreds of Garra Rufa. The communal tank is sterilized by a special filter and UV light.

When you place your feet in the water, you must relax and sit still.  Too much movement will scare the fish away.  The fish nibbling at your feet tickles initially, but once you get used to it, it’s quite enjoyable.  Supplement the treatment, which can last up to 45 minutes, with a pedicure and give your feet the treat they deserve.

Other treatments offered at Beyond Bliss include manicures, deep tissue and facial massage and light therapy, standard treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or “winter blues, something that will in no doubt be very popular during the dark days of winter.

Owner Adrienn Kefei proves to be a wonderful hostess and often makes the intimate spa available for private events, such as birthday parties and wedding and baby showers. Beyond Bliss also offers discounts and monthly specials.  Visit the website for more information.


Pluk and Laser Light Show at Madurodam

Madurodam is a mini Holland, with typically Dutch towns and scenery presented on a 1:25 scale. In front of Madurodam is a statue of the Dutch literary character Hans Brinker who famously put his finger in a leaking dike, keeping it there until the town’s people were able to repair it and prevent the country from flooding.  The multimedia show Madurodam by Light uses light, water and lasers to give a modern interpretation to this classic tale, which symbolizes Holland’s struggle with water. You can see this multimedia extravaganza every night at sunset through October 31.

While at Madurodam, be sure to visit Pluk in Madurodam.  This exhibition of another beloved Dutch literary character, Pluk van de Petteflet from the books by author Annie M.G. Schmidt and illustrator Fiep Westendorp has been extended due to its popularity.  Highlights include Pluk’s tow truck and a collection of original drawings by Westendorp.

For more information on Madurodam by Light, Pluk in Madurodam and Madurodam’s opening hours visit the website.



Antique Shopping in The Hague

Antique shopping in the Hague

Lange Voorhout antiques and book market

The Antiques Diva Tours are 4 or 8 hour shopping excursions started by Toma Clark Haines with the goal of teaching you all you need to know about antique shopping in Europe.  The tours are offered in various cities throughout Europe, including Paris, Brussels, Berlin and The Hague.  In fact, it is the Antique Diva’s opinion that the antique shopping in The Hague is among the best in Europe, making special note of the Denneweg and Fredrikstraat.  The antiques and book market found on the stately and dignified Lange Voorhout every Thursday and Sunday from May to October, is another must for lovers of antiques.

Find out more about antique shopping in the Hague at the Hague Tourist Information website. For more information about The Antique Diva Tours visit the website.

Duivenvoorde Castle

Duivenvoorde Castle dates from the 13th century and is one of the oldest in South Holland.

Originating in the 13th century, Duivenvoorde Castle (Kasteel Duivenvoorde) in The Hague suburb of Voorschoten is one of the oldest castles in Zuid Holland.  For the first five centuries of its history one family, the Van Duivenvoordes, who gave the castle its name, owned the castle.  Opened to the public in 1960, the castle’s magnificent rooms are furnished with Delft earthenware, Chinese and European porcelain and portraits of the noble Van Duivenvoorde family.

This year the castle celebrates 50 years of being opened to public with a number of special events including a series of lectures, a photo, drawing and painting competition and  exhibition based on the theme Timeless Trendy which focuses on the way the castle’s interior and modern art collection.

Duivenvoorde Castle is also available for special events and is a popular place for weddings, parties and in the summer months, concerts.  Every October candlelight tours are offered, allowing you to experience the splendor of this beautiful castle by candlelight.

For more information on Duivenvoorde Castle, its opening hours and 50th year celebration visit the website.

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.

The Hague’s Cultural Season Begins

Haags Uit Festival and the Hague’s Museum Night

Following the success of museum nights in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, The Hague is hosting its first Museum Night on Saturday, September 4.  The event will feature more than 20 museums, galleries and libraries with cultural programs based on the theme “Mix it, don’t miss it”.

Attend a masked ball on the Lange Voorhout hosted by the Escher in het Paleis; experience the glamour of Hollywood at the Museum for Communication and at the open-air film screening at the Gemeentemuseum and take a flashlite tour of the Prison Gate Museum.

Sunday, September 5, come “uit” and usher in the official start of The Hague’s cultural season at the Haags Uit Festival.  This cultural festival features more than 100 acts performing at a number of venues throughout the city, with the main stages located on Lange Voorhout and Spuiplein.

Visit the Musuem Night and Haags Uit Festival websites for more information on participants and activities.

%d bloggers like this: