Den Haag: Museum, museum, …

So far I had seen all the cities I visited in the Netherlands before. The Hague (Den Haag) was the only exception! The very modern city is very popular with tourists. The large number of museums, beautiful buildings and shopping undoubtedly have something to do with it.
As it rained here pretty much non-stop, I went hiding in some of the many, beautiful museums of The Hague.

The skyline of The Hague, seen from the city center.

The skyline of The Hague, seen from the city center.

After arriving in my hostel, again a stayokay, I could check in right away. Pfew! Because I don’t like to leave my luggage in a common area.
Stayokay hostels are a bit too commercial for me, unfortunately. For everything you need to pay extra… Even to store your valuables in a safe. In other hostels this is almost always included. Most of the times there is a closet or safe which you can lock with your own lock or key.

With my laptop and camera crammed in my bag I got to meet the cloudy The Hague. Like everywhere in the Netherlands, here too I noticed a lot of canals.
Yet, Den Haag is totally different from other Dutch metropolises! I immediately noticed that most of the town’s appearance was quite modern.
There were some classical looking buildings but the majority was actually quite modern.

As you may know, The Hague is a very important city for the European Union! (And the Netherlands) and actually a bit for the whole world… The International Criminal Court and the Court of Appeal are located there, but also many embassies and ministries. This makes it quite obvious to understand, why the royal family also lives in this city and not in Amsterdam

Some of the typical streets in Den Haag.

Some of the typical streets in Den Haag.


The clouds became darker and darker, but that didn’t hold me back from exploring the city. I soon arrived at the center. The gigantic shopping street was crowded with tram tracks and a jumble of cyclists who would probably drive over most tourists.
That’s really something I noticed in these last couple of days. Cyclists in the Netherlands are totally crazy! They don’t really care about other traffic and perhaps it’s a national sport to try to scare pedestrians away with bikes…

My head swung from side to side and anxiously I crossed the tram tracks. All the way hoping that I would not get knocked down by a horde of ferocious cyclists.

Once I arrived at the other side I landed on a nice little square. From there I could see the contrast between the old and new buildings very well. Around the square, there were a lot of nice eateries in old mansions, while behind modern skyscrapers were lurking.

Inside the beautiful Mauritshuis museum.

Inside the beautiful Mauritshuis museum.

Museums everywhere!

A quick search in Google, or a swift consultation on tripadvisor, makes it clear that you can see LOADS of culture in The Hague. Mainly due to visiting museums.

On Monday there is only one open museum: the Mauritshuis. It had started to drizzle slightly. So I perfectly timed my visit to this museu!

The Mauritshuis is also called the Royal Cabinet of Paintings. This building has long been used for various royal and official matters. The then governor William V and later King William I had acquired a significant collection of paintings. Eventually, these works were transferred to the state and so the museum was thus established.

Personally, I don’t like a lot of classical painting and the Mauritshuis houses pretty much only works from the Golden Age… Not an ideal choice. Yet the interior (and view) out of the building were absolutely beautiful to see.

A lot of people come by to see the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer. A fictional girl with an oversized earring. Perhaps one of the precursor of the gauged ears?

I think this was the only painting I also knew, and actually I found it a bit exaggerated that the work received so much attention. There were many other paintings that were equally beautiful to me!

After a little over an hour wandering around in the beautiful, regal rooms of the Mauritshuis I descended back down with the very modern staircase. There was one more exhibition in the museum. Instead of showing the front of paintings, this exhibition showed the back (copies) from some famous paintings!

In the beginning I didn’t know what there was to see, and so I walked straight past all works. Only afterwards I saw the movie about the man who made this quite interesting art.
Nice, but ultimately, there is only so much to see from the back from a painting. Sometimes there were to be seen some additional stickers, steel wires, but ultimately never anything very spectacular.

The rest of the day I wandered a bit aimlessly in the Hague city. Parks, medieval buildings and modern skyscrapers. Quite an interesting mix to see.

Tomorrow I would go visit the other museums and see more of Holland’s Royal city!

The Girl with the pearl earring. One of the most famous works in the Mauritshuis.

The Girl with the pearl earring. One of the most famous works in the Mauritshuis.

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