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Slowing down in The Hague

Alison Laycock

As I arrived in The Hague after already seeing 4 cities in 2 weeks, it was clear I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace I had set myself so far. Having been to so many museums and attractions, I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t just completing a tick list and seeing as many places as I could without actually appreciating it or taking anything in. As an introvert, spending time on my own would definitely recharge the batteries. This may sound a bit silly as I’m travelling on my own, however being in crowds all the time also depletes me of any energy.   

Although I’ve slowed down a little, I have still managed to see The Hague and be impressed by the city. There are many museums and attractions to see around the city area and the beach and you can always find activities to do for free. Part of my slowing down was to limit what I chose to do over my 4 nights stay and to do more of what I like to do to relax and still see the area. 

Mauritshuis: This was my first choice when I looked at the list of museums and decided to just go for this one. At €15.50, it’s a great price for what you see around the museum. Not only do you get to see the ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ which of course is the pull on all the advertisements, but all the other paintings are worth the visit too. You can see more than 250 masterpieces by Dutch and Flemish painters as well as a separate exhibition showing ‘The Dutch in Bitain’ where you can explore the areas which have been painted by Dutch artists. There were a few paintings I loved falling in to and you often have enough space to move around in and enjoy whatever you wish to take time meditating on.

Peace Palace: Fortunately, I was able to book a ticket online for a tour of the palace. The ticket costs €11 for an hour long tour. To enter the palace, you need to leave bags, cameras and mobile phones in free lockers in the visitors centre and you will need your passport or identification card which will be checked as you go through security. This is great as then you know that everyone is listening and following the same tour rather than simply taking photos. I found both the visitors centre and the palace were worth the visit and the fee as I loved the stories of the history, the architecture and the decor which all come together to promote the idea of peace. If you can’t do the tour for whatever reason, you can still visit the visitors centre which offers a free audio tour which lasts about 30mins. Here you will learn about the history of the palace and also the present in terms of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Peace flame is set in the square in front of the entrance to the visitor centre so you can also take all the photos you want without needing to go inside.

Binnenhof Projection: This was a great projection to see on the Binnenhof called ‘Old Masters, New Heroes’ and this takes us through the history of the residence and is well worth standing out in the cold for. It will no doubt mean more to Dutch visitors however  I still enjoyed watching the projection itself. It takes place every 15 minutes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings between 1800 and 2200. It’s something all ages can watch and enjoy.

Jewish memorial: I came about this memorial by chance on one of my walk arounds and I find it very poignant. Very similar to the one I saw in Leeuwarden in terms of spaced out and leaving room for people to come and sit around it. There is also a walking route you can follow to see all the other markings around the area, however I followed my own route and then checked it out on the website. 

The Hague is a city you can easily walk around and I did that to relax and to also get a sense of the city and all it had to offer. It is such a beautiful place that it would be a shame not to enjoy a walk taking in all the buildings. If you like shopping then you will also find enough shops to lose yourself in or perhaps you’ll want to sit back with a drink in one of the cafes in the squares and all of these activities would be great too. 

#Mauritshuis #PeacePalace #slowingdown #TheHague

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