Ronald’s Personal Tips For The Hague

These are my recommendations for The Hague, based on personal experience and research. Scroll down to see where to eat, shop and hang out, and don’t forget to leave me a review.

See you at the next tour!

Ronald

Likes: Painting, gardening, cooking

Favourite city (besides The Hague): Maastricht

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Getting Around In The Hague

Getting around in the city is easy with an extensive system of trams, buses and trains. Visit the English-language webpage of HTM to plan your route.

Eating In The Hague

Whether you like your fresh fish from a stall (picture above • herring being stolen by seagull), or lightly braised and served with mango & sprouts (picture below • dish from Umami by Han), The Hague is your stop for the best seafood.

Fresh from the North Sea: If you like Japanese sushi or sashimi, our local fish will be a fresh, pleasant surprise. Try a herring at the Hofkar, just outside of the Binnenhof, but be aware of the hungry, attacking seagulls – really!

Snack: Try kibbeling (battered cod pieces) at the same place. Be aware at some fish stalls the kibbeling has been waiting for you and gets soggy over time, but here, every portion is fried fresh on the spot for you and served with a smile!

Local sweets: Try the signature sweets of the Hague, Haagsche Hopjes, a confection made of sugared and creamed dried coffee chips, available at any supermarket.

Ice cream: The Italians that settled here were famous for their building skills, and the beautiful ‘Terazzo’ floor in the Passage was made by these stonework masters. They also brought their wonderful gelato recipes with them and there are several superior ice cream parlors around the Hague. I suggest Florencia near the Pallas Garden to taste for yourself!

Indonesian/Javanese: The traditional Restaurant Keraton Damai serves very fine Indonesian/Javanese cuisine, with good vegetarian options. A bit outside the city’s center, but worth the effort, it’s one of the best in town. You can eat well for €25 with your choice of several different dishes, but a Nasi Rames or Bami Rames (Miniature Rice Table) is a must-taste adventure for any diner.

Asian: Modern Asian food by Michelin-star chef Han Ting is served at Restaurant Umami by Han. Whether you come for the lunch menu (around €20) or a 3-course dinner (around €40), their menus are always a culinary surprise!

Food market: You have an international group and can’t decide what to eat? At the Foodhallen Den Haag you have a wide selection of dishes from all over the world – Japanese, Malaysian, Italian (and terrific falafel) just to name a few.

Market: The Haagse Markt (The Hague Market) is open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9am to 5pm. It will give you a good impression of the many cultures living together in this city. You can get spices and veggies from all over the world, as well as fish and clothing. Also some other exotic wares are to be found. There is a good selection of street foods from the Netherlands. Low prices and worth the (free) adventure.

In the 1960s, a large part of the Dutch Chinese community moved from Amsterdam to The Hague and brought their culinary tradition with them. The city was then enriched with so many new restaurants a little ‘Chinatown’ developed. Here I have researched quite a few of them, and describe my favorites.

By the way, in a Chinese restaurant you don’t go out to eat, you simply go to eat. You won’t get pampered the way you might in other restaurants, but the food is generally high quality for a reasonable price.

The basic rule is to always go where you see Asian customers; avoid unpopular eateries or tourist traps There is a Chinese restaurant in every city and village in the Netherlands so there are plenty to choose from.  The menus in Chinatown include quail eggs, pig ears, and chicken feet – the Chinese eat animals from head to toe! World travelers may notice some famous dishes have been changed to adapt to the somewhat conservative taste of the Dutch. These new recipes are now actually celebrated as part of our Dutch/Chinese heritage and worth a try.

In any cafe, a pot of jasmine Chinese tea to drink with your meal is a very good idea. In case you empty the pot, put it on the side of your table with the lid upside down and it will then be quickly refilled.

Here are three of my favorite Asian restaurants for lunch and dinner:

Northeastern Chinese Fusion: At New Taste Da Dong Bei (Their website is Dutch, but the names of dishes are in English), the origin of the food is Northeast China, so there is a connection to Korean and Japanese dishes. The Kim-chi is wonderful here, and there are more than enough vegetarian possibilities with the eggplant dishes among my personal favorites.

Chinese Shared Dining: Woeng Kee on the ‘Gedempte Gracht’ offers a decent atmosphere, but as in most Chinese restaurants, don’t expect too much politeness, just great food. When you enter you get a little notebook and a pen, so you can write down the desired dishes from the menu and avoid confusion.  note the many vegetarian options available – nice.

Dim Sum could be considered a Chinese equivalent of Spanish Tapas and their dim-sun is great; I suggest you order at least three different dishes per person.   If you love oysters, be sure to try their variation with black beans – amazing!

Dim-Sum: The interior of the Kee Lun Palace may appear a bit dusty, but their dim-sum menu is the largest of them all. Don’t be in a hurry here, each dish will be brought to you when it is finished cooking, so your sweets might be first, and your soup may be last. It’s all a part of the experience so my advice is: go with the flow!

Drinking In The Hague

Cafe/pub: De Zwarte Ruiter (The Black Horseman) is a big cafe at the Grote Marktstraat of the Hague. It has a very nice terrace out front, where you can enjoy a good drink and look at all the people passing by. A great place to party with friends as there is a late-night menu and lots of drink specials.

Craft beer pub: Next to one of the canals in the Hague, you’ll find De Paas. If the weather permits it, you can be seated on the boat in front of the cafe. They specialize in microbrews and have a list of 188 different beers (I counted personally) currently available.  Tip: Every Sunday afternoon, free soup is served with meals!

Bar: Behind Hotel des Indes is a great shopping area where you can find De Landman here. It’s basically a gay bar, but very friendly towards visitors of any orientation with its informal and cozy atmosphere. Gezellig!

Live music/cafe: This small cafe Gekke Geit (Crazy Goat) has live music and serves good, cheap beers all night long. It has a very good atmosphere and the bartenders are happy to help you make a nice drink selection.

Live music: The pop temple of the Hague is Het Paard (The Horse, formerly known as the Trojan Horse). Holland’s most famous rock band ‘Golden Earring’ played here years ago, so its a legendary venue and a rock’in good time! Check out their program for the next gig.

Pick your favorite from the wide selection of craft beers at De Paas (picture above) and end the night at Het Paard (picture below), where the famous Dutch band Golden Earring made their debut.

Shopping

Get your custom-made scent at Dutch Perfumes (picture above) and gather haberdasheries from the age of yesteryear at The Hague’s Antiques & Book Market (picture below).

Shopping streets: Right behind the Hotel des Indes, you’ll find the Denneweg. A parallel street is found in front of the Paleis Noordeinde, called Noordeinde which crosses a third parallel named Prinsestraat. On all those streets, many small shops sell wonderful gifts, keepsakes and products. From original art and elegant clothing to antique books and top-quality coffee, do your window shopping here and leave with a treasure. Don’t forget to look up to see all the beautiful house fronts!

Shopping mall: The Passage is the oldest still existing shopping mall in the Netherlands, dating back to 1885. You would think you’re in Italy here because of the marble architecture. To this day you’ll still find high-end shops here with prices matching. Buy a few special bonbons, a bit of quality chocolate or a shower gel with an exotic scent to remember the Hague.

Luxury warehouse: Consider the Bijenkorf, the high-quality warehouse at the Grote Markstraat. Nothing tacky to be found here, only vintage clothing, trendy bags, fashion shoes, great food and unique sweets to name some highlights. I personally only shop for sales merchandise there, but label-conscious shoppers will find all their favorite brands here.

Antiques & Book Market: Situated on the Lange Voorhout, the Antiques & Book Market is a great place to dive into the historic old days of the Hague. With 70 stands, there’s something for everyone there from May till September – every Thursday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm.

Perfume: Dutch Perfumes is where every nice scent you can think of can be recreated by a Syrian perfume master out of more than 1000 basic ingredients and essential oils he owns.  Name a brand you like or tell what scents are your favorites and a unique, balanced mixture can be made for around €50. Take your time to enjoy the process of this rare ‘mindful experience’ downtown. 

Coffeeshops (No Coffee, Marijuana!)

Coffeeshop: Cremers offers the largest selection of weed and hashish in town, presented in a chill, informal cafe environment. Good advice on what to choose for beginners or veteran ‘herbologists’ alike.

Coffeeshop: Space Ball , open from 9 am till 1 am, offers the best buy for your money yet still provides a nice menu to choose from.

Coffeeshop: Near the center of the Hague, Waterworld serves the best Hiya hash (sativa) from Morocco, but don’t buy the cheapest variety, go for the best – it’s worth it.

Make sure you are well-informed on the effects of the strong varieties of marijuana in the Netherlands.

Museums

Dive into the Museum Of Modern Art (picture above) or defy logic and gaze at the mathematically impossible works of M.C. Escher (picture below) in the old Winterpalace of the Dutch royal family, called ‘Esher in the Palace’.

Top choice: The Museum Of Modern Art (formerly ‘Gemeentemuseum’) is a must for those who appreciate modern artwork. The building itself is a fine example of great ‘brick architecture’ by Master Berlage from the Netherlands. It houses an extremely interesting collection of Dutch painters like Mondriaan and Toorop, a ceramic collection, fashion arts, and more specialized exhibitions from time to time. There’s enough there for several days of exploration!

Golden Age: At our meeting point for the tour you will find the Mauritshuis. Great art from the Dutch Golden Century. Take your time to gaze at all the pieces; it takes you half a day to get a good impression of the exhibits. If you have less time (or money), try the Prince Willem V Gallery, next to the Prisoner’s Museum for a great impression of Golden Age art.

Geometric visuals: Escher in the Palace is dedicated to this famous modern artist from the last century who turned mathematics into fine art. It’s situated in the old Winter Palace of the Dutch of the Royal Family but it’s not too big and you can see it in a couple hours.

Sculptures: At our seaside resort Scheveningen, you will find the beautiful Museum Beelden Aan Zee (Statues By The Sea Museum), with expositions both inside and outside. Have a walk on the boulevard afterwards, visit the Kurhaus or enjoy the dunes and/or the beach.

Panorama: Panorama Mesdag is the name for a huge painting, 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference depicting the seaside resort (Het Scheveningen) at the turn of the 20th century. It’s the earliest form of VR I ever encountered and well worth an hour if you’re in the neighborhood – otherwise skip this.

Miniature Holland: Want to see all the signature buildings of the Netherlands in one afternoon? Visit Madurodam! Most preteens love this minature city, and so do quite a few grown-ups.  Teenagers not so much!

Parks/Beaches/Forests

Forest: In front of Central Sation, walk up to the treeline and take a right. A short walk will take you to the Haagse Bos (The Hague Forest). There are still some small patches of pristine forest, untouched by humans to be found here. You can’t get lost, as the forest is bordered by roads, so feel free to explore without hesitation. It’s one of those rare places that are much bigger than it seems from the outside.

Park: Enjoyable in every season, the Clingendael boasts a wide variety of ancient trees and charming gardens. It has the oldest Japanese Garden in Europe and it’s definitely worth a visit if that’s your thing. The gardens are well tended but the rhododendrons are the most beautiful blooms in spring, so take a picnic basket to enjoy to the fullest.

Beach: The Hague is situated along the North Sea, with shorelines, sand dunes and beaches that are worth visiting all year round. Go to the Scheveningen (take tram no 1) at the boardwalk and check out the nearby healing house ‘Kurhaus’. Take in the coastal landscape and look at the classic beach cafes. Enjoy a drink there with a view of the North Sea. Then go to Kijkduin, as the locals do, to have a walk among the dunes with some refreshments at one of the cozy shoreline shacks nearby!

Take in some fresh forest air in the pristine Haagse Bos (picture above), or stroll along the Scheveningen Beach boardwalk (picture below)