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Set your worries aside on the boardwalk and beaches along the North Sea. (Picasa/Barbara Ramsay Orr)
Set your worries aside on the boardwalk and beaches along the North Sea. (Picasa/Barbara Ramsay Orr)

The Hague, unbuttoned: Dining, shopping and lounging in this vibrant city Add to ...

At the end of a day in The Hague, head for the Grote Markt area and one of the many clubs to dance or just listen to music. Or slide into a café for a chilled genever, the Dutch-style gin.

With the grandeur and gravitas of the old city balanced by the pleasure pavilions in the dunes, life in The Hague is the perfect blend of work and play.


Remco Dorr is the author of several city guides of The Hague, covering the Jewish Quarter, the Royal City and the art nouveau architecture.

“My perfect day in Den Haag would begin with coffee, maybe at one of the cafés beside the canal, like Café Hathor. You often see politicians or diplomats there. I’d walk through the city in the morning, while the crowds are smaller, visiting the Parliament, the shopping district and the royal palace. On Thursdays and Sundays there is a good antique market under the lindens. If you are looking for art, stop in at one of my favourite galleries, Gallery Arte Fortunata, at Noordeinde 51. It features artist Bas Meeuws, whose photographs of floral still life, epoxy-sealed on metal, are an homage to the golden age masterpieces of Bosschart and van Aelst.

“Then I’d head to a museum or two and top that with a late lunch on the Lange Voorhout, under the trees where it is cool. Or I would eat at my favourite French restaurant on the Plaats, Le Bistrot de la Place. The duck is superb. After lunch I would walk to the Gemeentemuseum to see the Mondrians, or perhaps take a tram to Madurodam, the miniature recreation of Holland.

“In late afternoon, I’d take a tram out to the beach at Sheveningen and settle into a sofa with a glass of wine. I’d stay to watch the sunset, and then head back to the city for dinner. There’s a window table on the second floor of Garoeda with a view of the Lange Voorhuit, where I’d linger over a rijstaffel.”

- As told to Barbara Ramsay Orr


Getting there

Air Transat and Air Canada fly to Schiphol Airport, which has frequent train service to The Hague. The trip takes about 40 minutes to Central Station, from which you can cover the heart of the city on foot.


Getting around

This is an easily walkable city, but there is a convenient network of trams that will even take you out to the dunes. Invest in the Holland Pass (hollandpass.com) to get a good discount on museums, attractions and city transit.


Where to stay

Hotel Des Indes is a combination of old-world luxury and modern amenities. It is a Hague tradition to take afternoon tea in the dining room. Lange Voorhout 54-56, The Hague; hoteldesindesthehague.com; from $215.


Where to eat

Garoeda (garoeda.nl) at Kneuterdijk 18a serves traditional Indonesian dishes. Saur (saur.nl) is one of the best fish restaurants in the city, while Taste (tastethewinebar.eu) is a wine bar with a patio view of the Hofvijver, the lake that lies in front of the Dutch parliament like a reflecting pool, and the Mauritsthuis. Brasserie t’Ogenblik (t-ogenblik.nl) is a sweet café on Molenstraat that was recently honoured for the best service in the Netherlands. Wox (wox.nl) is a newer Japanese fusion restaurant near the Hofvijver, where you can watch Dutch parliamentarians coming and going.


Tourism The Hague assisted the writer with her stay.

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