JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH ALEX GOROVA FROM THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS!
Alex, a local of The Hague, has been living in the city for almost seven years. Her biggest passion is to live a sustainable life full of adventures. Alex wants to have a big family in future and wishes that they travel together to every corner of the world, surf the biggest waves and enjoy every single moment in life.
Holland’s third largest city, after the Dutch capital Amsterdam and world’s smartest port city, Rotterdam, the Hague is the headquarters of international organizations and home of Dutch Royal family. Located on the North Sea, the Hague is the capital of the province of Zuid-Holland (South Holland).
Called the “International City of Peace and Justice” Den Haag (or the Hague) is a very international town as all embassies, European institutions and diverse companies are located here. English is spoken here more than Dutch.
When is the best time to visit Hague?
The Hague is beautiful at any time of the year but of course I imagine you would like to explore the city while still enjoying good weather. Since The Hague is in fact a small and cozy coastal city, which has a very relaxed and down to earth vibe to it with its beautiful sandy beaches, promenades, bars and a vibrant cultural scene, I advise to visit it during the warmer months (end of April to end of September/October). This way you will be able to include a few beach days in your itinerary.
April is the busiest month of the year for two simple reasons – tulips and King’s Day. So if you want to experience those make sure to visit from the second half of April.
Winter is quite depressing time of the year. Days are short, cold and rainy, so if possible I would avoid travelling during November/March. However, for Christmas lovers, December is the time when Hague changes into a winter wonderland with mulled wine, fireworks, carol concerts, outdoor skating and Christmas markets. If you happen to be in Den Haag during winters, check out all that it has to offer here.
Which is the most convenient and favoured transport of Hague?
If you are visiting Netherlands, bike is a must. There are plenty of bike rental shops where you can get a bicycle for €8-11 per day. The Hague is a very bicycle friendly city and traffic is nearly not as bad as in Amsterdam, so even if you are not very experienced believe me, you will be fine.
The public transport company HTM connects the entire city by buses and trams. Depending upon the duration of your stay you can buy a two hour, whole day or 3 days ticket. If you wish to stay more you can even get a OV-chipkaart which helps you to travel on credit in Hague and throughout the Netherlands on trams, buses, metros and trains.
Since Hague along with Rotterdam falls in the Zuid-Holland region (South Holland) you can also buy a combined tourist ticket for unlimited travel by bus, tram, metro and waterbus throughout the region for € 14,50. The two hour tickets are only available at the bus driver while all others are available at ticket vending machines at the station, tourist info centres etc. Other bus and tram operators in The Hague region are and . The or NS is the Netherlands Railway company has an extensive network of trains.
To get from Schiphol Airport to The Hague is super easy. Every 30 minutes there is a direct train from Schiphol Airport Station to The Hague Central Station. Tickets can be bought online or from the self-service machines in the airport for € 8.90.
What are the top three must visit places in Hague?
The Hague is a political capital of The Netherlands, so Dutch Parliament “Binnenhof” is an absolute must. Binnenhof, a Gothic castle turned into a government complex is located in the city center. It is the oldest House of Parliament still in use, has a beautiful lake in front of it and is absolutely free. You can enter Binnenhof through any of the two gates – the Stadhouderspoort (to the west) or the Mauritspoort (to the east). The Riderzaal or Knight’s Hall is the oldest building located at the centre of Binnehof. This complex of buildings houses the meeting chambers of both the Upper and Lower House of Parliament. Het Torentje or the Little Tower is an Octagonal tower inside this complex which currently serves as the office of the Prime Minister. From Den Haag Centraal Station, Binnenhof is only a thirteen minutes walk away.
I would also strongly recommend visiting the Peace Palace in this International city of Peace and Justice. Home to the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague Academy of International Law and the Peace Palace Library, the Peace Palace is the temple of peace and justice. The Eternal Peace Flame inside the Peace Palace has been burning since 2002. The inscription on the monument describe the objective of eternal flame as “May all beings find peace”. Make sure you plan your visit in advance as it can be fully-booked.
Scheveningen is one of the eight district of Hague and the main beach boulevard of The Netherlands. It was renovated a few years ago and boulevard was extended to eleven kilometres. During your time there take a stroll from famous Kurhuis hotel direction of the harbor and enjoy some fresh fish along the way. Explore the pier, take in the view of the North Sea coast from the 50 m high ferris wheel on the sea, drop into the SEA life centre on the boulevard, indulge in activities like wind surfing, kite boarding and bungee jump from the pier, visit the miniature theme park Madurodam to get a bird’s eye view of Netherlands or discover the most contemporary sculptures at Beelden aan Zee (or Sculptures by the Sea).
The beach is divided into two parts – Noorderstrand (Northern Beach) and Zuiderstrand (Southern Beach). The Northern beach is more touristy and can be reached from the city centre using tram no.1 and 9 or bus 22 from Hague’s central train station. To reach the Southern beach which is more urban take tram no. 11 from the station Hollands Spoor.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Hague?
A short ride away from The Hague is a small but very cute town with canals, cafes, bakeries and thrift stores– Delft. During you time there visit the Old and the New Church and Vermeer Centrum Delft to know about the world famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer who was born in Delft. Although there aren’t any original paintings from Vermeer there, you can learn about his life, career and how he reproduced light on canvas. Visit the famous Royal Delft factory which creates the world popular Delft Blue earthenware.
Despite Delft’s rich history, it still feels like a young town since it’s home to TUDelft, the highest ranked university in Netherlands. Delft will remind you of old Amsterdam but with way less tourists. To reach Delft, take NS train from Den Haag HS or Den Haag Centraal (15 minutes) or take Tram 1 (25 minutes).
UNESCO World Heritage Kinderdijk is a village less then an hour away from The Hague, so if you want to windmills that’s the place to go. Kinderdijk illustrates how people of Netherlands have used technology to handle water they have been blessed with. To keep the soil dry, Kinderdijk has been using 19 windmills and 2 pumping stations which drain excess water to the nearby river. Explore the network by bike or foot, gaping at the beauty of the windmills or drop into Nederwaard and the Blokweer Museum Mills inside the windmills. Former is a collection from the lives of Hoek family which lived and worked there for generations and latter is the oldest of the 19 mills in Kinderdijk.
If you are here during April/May then of course tulips fields should be on your list. Although Keukenhof is the biggest flower park in the world, my advice would be to skip Keukenhof and take a train to Leiden instead. Rent a bicycle from there an cycle around in the direction of Noordwijkerhout for beautiful tulip fields and windmills, and come back via Sassenheim.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Hague?
Without a doubt – King’s Day on the 27th of April. The whole country is a one big party. There are garage sales, lots of festivals, live street music and everybody is dressed in orange.
What is the most loved local food of Hague? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
There is no such thing as a Dutch cuisine but they sure know how to snack.
To name a few – Dutch bitterballen (also vegan option), “Kibbeling” – deep-fried chunks of fish with garlic sauce, “Poffertjes” mini-pancakes with sweet syrup and sugar powder, “Stroopwaffles” – caramel waffles, best to buy fresh from the market.
In general there are lots a vegetarian/vegan options in cafes and restaurants and me personally I never struggle to find yummy healthy food. One of my favorite places – SLA.
Where to head for shopping in Hague?
There is no such thing as a shopping mall but there are two shopping streets parallel to each other – Grote Markt and Spui. So if you are looking into buying something I would head there. Shops usually close at 17:30-18:00 except Thursdays, then they are open until 21:00. For chic boutiques, fashion galleries and antique shops, also many coffee places and world class restaurants head to Noordeinde.
Denneweg with its narrow lanes and neighbouring canals is an open air shopping mall with many high-end fashion and lifestyle stores. It’s dotted with a plethora of cafes, pubs and restaurants.
The Hague’s bustling, multicultural, outdoor market, De Haagse Markt, with its myriad of stalls and kiosks have a lot to offer to its visitors. The market is visited by approximately 35,000 people, four days a week. Every first and third weekend of the month there is a market on Plein in the city center, next to Binnenhof.
Or visit De Bijenkorf which is a chain of high-end department stores in the Netherlands.
Which is the local craft or souvenir of Hague?
Symbol of The Hague is a stork. You can find it on all post cards, magnets and even stork-shaped chocolates. Best place to look for it – De Passage or Holland Souvenirs.
Netherlands is world’s second largest beer exporter, there is no way you can miss beer here. Heineken, Grolsch, and Bavaria are all Dutch brands. For craft beers try Kompaan Brouwerij which is available throughout Hague.
Which are the best streets of Hague worthy of taking a stroll on?
I have already mentioned the two shopping streets but my favorite ones are – Noordeinde, Oude Molstraat and Piet Heinstraat. Hofkwartier district behind the Noordeinde Palace has beautiful streets with old bricks and some of the most high-end shopping streets. From there walk down to the oldest streets in The Hague, the Molenstraat. All of these have more of a local vibe to them.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of Hague?
The Netherlands is as flat as a pancake, so there are no panoramic view points. My favorite view to The Hague would be from the end of the Scheveningen Pier.
Would you suggest any shows in Hague to drama, music or art lovers?
The Municipal Museum for realistic pieces by Mondrian, the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis for paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Vermeer’s famous painting, “Girl With a Pearl Earring and Escher in The Palace exhibition dedicated to the world-famous artist M.C. Escher.
Close to the Hague Municipal Museum is the Omniversum Circle Theatre which shows spectacular wide screen films. The films are magnified 500 times and projected on a dome-shaped screen, with a new documentary shown every hour in Dutch/English. For theatre, the Royal Theatre in Hague where the National Theatre Company showcases many timeless pieces from Chekhov, Shakespeare, Ibsen and others.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in Hague?
For food options I usually just use Instagram ☺
Do you want to give any suggestion to tourists coming to Hague?
The Hague is a great city to visit and has lots to offer. Take at least one full day to explore the city and I am sure you will love it. One day however is just enough for seeing the most popular sites, my advise would be to spend a couple of days here and combine it with a beach.
Things to know :
Visa : You can travel to Netherlands with a Schengen Visa. Click here to know the general required documents for a Netherlands Visa application.
Tap water : Drinking tap water is safe in Netherlands.
Electric Socket : In Netherlands the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You don’t need a converter if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).
Drones : Large parts of Hague is under no-flying zone. Check these drone footage regulations in Netherlands before flying them.
IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING TO HAGUE OR WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT ALEX’S TRAVEL EXPERIENCES THEN BE SURE TO FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM
Click here to share this interview.