Den Haag is the third largest city in The Netherlands. Although it is not the capital of The Netherlands, it is the seat of the national government, as well as being home to the royal family.
I’ve had the week off and my host-family has been on holiday in Italy so I decided to explore The Netherlands a bit more. I got to Den Haag early in the day, set on making the most of the time I had there. It was the coldest day of the year so far so I’ll be honest, it was a bit miserable at times being outside. Luckily, I found lots to do inside and now have an excuse to come back when it’s warmer.
The Mauritshuis was especially beautiful. The museum is filled with over 800 pieces of art, mostly by Dutch painters of the Golden Age. Some famous artists included Vermeer, Steen, and Rembrandt. The museum itself was originally home to a Dutch Count, but changed hands through the years, officially becoming a museum in the late 1800’s.
The museum’s most famous painting, Girl with the Pearl was having some restoration work done. The cool part was they were actually doing it on the museum floor, protected by some glass barriers. This allowed patrons to not only see the painting itself but also see the kind of work they were doing. The Dutch News was even there and asked to interview me, but unfortunately, my Dutch wasn’t quite good enough to get on TV 😦
After Mauritshuis I walked through the Binnenhof, where the Dutch Parliment meets and works today. The beautiful collection of buildings were built in a gothic style in the 1200’s, making it the oldest House of Parliament in the world still in use. The buildings also sit next to Hofvijver, which was picturesquely frozen over.
After my quick picnic lunch next to the lake, I walked to the Mesdag panoramic museum. This beautiful museum features the work of Hendrik Willem Mesdag. His most notable piece of work is Panorama Mesdag, a 360° painting of the dunes and beach at Scheveningen. The piece is more than 14 meters high and about 40 meters in diameter! The painting is meant to depict a complete view of an average day at the beach.
It was beginning to get dark when I left the museum, and I had plans to meet up with a friend from home who now lives in Den Haag! I ran to the trusty Albert Heijn to grab us some dinner and called it a night! He lived in Chinatown, which is also very quaint and full of so many delicious smelling restaurants!
I wish it had been a bit warmer because I would have loved to explore Den Haag more! Now I have a reason to go back this summer 😉 Some things I plan to do in warmer weather:
- Madurodam (a huge museum/park filled with miniature dioramas)
- Scheveningen (A beach town only a few kilometers from Den Haag)
- celestial vault (located in a crater, you can see the earth’s curvature when you lie in the right spot)