The Hague, also called Den Haag in Dutch, is the International City of Peace and Justice. It is here that some of the world’s worst crimes are prosecuted. But there’s more to The Hague than criminal courts and palaces of justice. In The Hague, you can see famous works of art by Vermeer, stroll down quaint Dutch streets, visit a miniature version of the Netherlands, and even visit the beach. One day in The Hague is all you need to see the best of this city.
An Overview of The Hague
The Hague is located on the coast of the Netherlands. From Amsterdam, it takes just 50 minutes to get here by train, so The Hague makes a great day trip destination from Amsterdam.
In one day, you can visit several art museums, visit the beach if the weather is nice, and enjoy The Hague’s awesome international food scene.
Before you plan your day trip here, it’s important to know why The Hague is such an important city in the Netherlands. The Hague is home to the International Court of Justice, a center of justice associated with the United Nations, which is located in the Peace Palace. The International Criminal Court, which is responsible for prosecuting international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, is also located in The Hague.
In addition to these international courts, the Noordeinde Palace, which is located in the center of The Hague, is a working residential palace of King Willem-Alexander. It’s quite an important city, not only for the Netherlands but the rest of the world.
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One Day in The Hague
I designed this itinerary as a day trip from Amsterdam, although it also works just as well if you are staying several days in The Hague or visiting The Hague from another Dutch city.
Visiting The Hague on Monday: On Mondays, Mauritshuis does not open until 1 pm and Escher in the Palace is closed.
Arriving in The Hague
There are two main train stations in The Hague. Centraal Station is more centrally located and in 10 minutes you can walk to the main sites. Den Haag HS (Hollands Spoor) works also, but from here you will have to walk fifteen to twenty minutes, or take a tram, to get into the center of The Hague.
Arriving at Centraal Station between 9:30 and 9:45 is perfect for this itinerary.
From Centraal Station to Mauritshuis it is a 10 minute walk.
10:00 am Mauritshuis
Mauritshuis is an art museum that displays masterpieces by the Dutch painters Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hal, Jan Steen, and more. The most famous painting is Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer.
This museum is small and compact and visits here last about one to two hours.
PRO TRAVEL TIP: This is a popular art museum so queues to enter are common. By arriving at or before opening time, you can avoid waiting in line.
Important: Mauritshuis does not open until 1 pm on Mondays. If you are visiting The Hague on a Monday, you will have to alter this itinerary and return later in the day if this is a place you want to visit.
Cost: Adults €15.50, under 19 years are free, included with the Museum Card
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 6m, open until 8 pm on Thursdays; Monday 1 pm to 6 pm
11:30 am Escher in the Palace
From Mauritshuis, it’s a five-minute walk to our second art museum of the day, Escher in the Palace (Escher in Het Paleis).
The Escher Museum is a small art museum that displays works of art by M. C. Escher. This is another quick visit and the perfect place to take the kids if you are traveling as a family.
Escher’s artwork is fascinating…illusions, drawings of the impossible, transformations of one object into another, and altered realities are all themes of his artwork. On the top floor of the museum, you can explore interactive exhibits where reality is altered, similar to a trick-eye museum.
I have read that all of the artwork in the museum are replicas of the originals. That takes away some of the thrill of visiting this museum, but even so, we still enjoyed the experience.
Cost: Adults €11.00, age over 15 €10, ages 7 to 15 €6.50, 6 and under are free; Museum Card is not accepted
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11 am to 5 pm; closed Monday
12:30 pm: Lange Voorhout and the City Center
From Escher in the Palace, walk along the very pretty Lange Voorhout to the city center. In the city center, places to visit include the Passage, which is a covered arcade of shops, and the scenic streets.
The city center
This part of The Hague is a great place to go shopping. It’s also a great place to grab lunch. The Hague has some wonderful international restaurants to try.
Little V. If you like Vietnamese food, put this restaurant at the top of your list. The food tastes just like you are at a restaurant in Vietnam. This was one of our best meals in the Netherlands. By the way, Little V serves awesome non-alcoholic tropical drinks that are amazing. The drinks are pricey but worth the splurge.
Baladi Manouche. While finishing up lunch at Little V, one of our readers, who lives in The Hague, suggested this spot to us via Facebook Messenger. Baladi Manouche serves delicious Lebanese street-style food at cheap prices. We stopped here for our second lunch of the day and it was worth it. If you want a quick, budget meal or love Lebanese food, this is a great lunch spot.
2 pm: Panorama Mesdag
This place is amazing! All four of us were enthralled with this art museum and that does not often happen.
This “experience” is more than just staring at a painting. This is multi-sensory experience, where you view a 360° panoramic painting, with props and sound effects that transport you back in time. While standing in a lighthouse, view the spectacular mural of the beach and fishing village of Scheveningen as it was in 1881.
Cost: Adults €15, 4 to 11 years €7, 12 to 18 years €10, included on the Museum Card
Hours: Open daily 10 am to 5 pm; check hours before your visit (hours can vary due to the pandemic)
3 pm: Peace Palace
From Panorama Mesdag, it’s just a 10-minute walk to the Peace Palace.
The Peace Palace is the seat of the International Court of Justice, the only judicial center of the United Nations that is not located in New York City.
There is a Visitor Center to visit if you want to learn more about the Peace Palace. Several times a year you can take a guided tour of the Peace Palace.
3:30 pm Option #1 Madurodam
Madurodam is a miniature version of the Netherlands, where you can see “tiny” replicas of the Rijksmuseum, Schiphol Airport, Dutch canal houses, windmills, and the tulip fields.
Madurodam is best visited from mid-spring to fall, when the canals are filled with water and flowers are in bloom. During the winter months, some exhibits undergo renovation so you will not get the same experience.
The easiest way to get here from the Peace Palace is to take a taxi. It’s a 25 minute walk and there is no tram to connect these two places.
Online ticket prices: €16.50 online; €19.50 at the ticket office; family ticket €58.50
Hours: 9 am to 8 pm with reduced hours from September through March
Get full operating hours and book your tickets online on the official website.
3:30 pm Option #2 Scheveningen
If the weather is nice, you can spend the afternoon at the beach. Scheveningen is the Netherland’s seaside resort. Walk on the pier, have dinner, ride the ferris wheel, or even go zip-lining. It’s a nice way to end the day, especially if you are visiting The Hague with kids.
Learn more about Scheveningen here.
Getting to to Scheveningen: From the Peace Palace, take Tram 1 to Scheveningen Village.
Departing The Hague
To get back to Centraal Station, take tram 9. To get to Den Haag HS, take tram 1 or 9.
Bonus! The Hague Tower
If you like the idea of getting a bird’s eye view over The Hague, visit The Hague Tower. From the top of the tower you can see across The Hague and out to Scheveningen. Your tickets to the observation deck include a drink at the bar but you can also have dinner here as well.
Cost: €9 (includes a drink voucher for the Sky Bar)
Hours: 12 pm to 10 pm
Getting here: The Hague Tower is located right next to Den Haag HS. To get here from Madurodam or Scheveningen, take tram 1 to HS/Waldorpstraat and then it’s a one minute walk to the Hague Tower.
To get to Amsterdam, take the train from Den Haag HS (instead of Centraal Station).
How to Modify this Itinerary
The town of Delft is very close to The Hague. Delft is small town with canals, similar to Amsterdam. Delft is also famous for its blue and white pottery.
You could spend the morning in The Hague and the afternoon in Delft. In The Hague, visit the Escher Museum or Mauritshuis, don’t miss the amazing Panorama Mesdag, walk past the Peace Palace, and have lunch in town. Then, take tram 1 to Delft and spend the rest of the day in Delft.
To get to Amsterdam from Delft, it is one hour by train. There are direct trains and there are trains that have a transfer in Rotterdam, Leiden, or at Schiphol Airport.
You could also split the day between The Hague and Haarlem (this is what we did). In the early afternoon, we took a train to Haarlem, did a little sightseeing, had dinner, and then took a second train to Amsterdam.
How to get to The Hague from Amsterdam
The best way to travel between Amsterdam and The Hague is by train. There are two train stations in The Hague. For this itinerary, we recommend arriving at Central Station (Den Haag Centraal) in The Hague.
Trains run every ten minutes, the journey takes 50 minutes, and the cost is €13.80 one way. If you don’t want to transfer trains, make sure you pick a route that is a direct train.
You can book your tickets in advance at www.b-europe.com or purchase your tickets in the train station. For these trains you do not need a seat reservation. You simply purchase a ticket and get on the next available train, similar to using the metro.
For more information, read our full post: Netherlands Train Travel: How to Book Your Tickets and Use the Trains
How to Get Around The Hague
You can walk to most sites on this itinerary, but The Hague does have a fantastic public transportation network. Trams and buses are cheap and easy to use.
Visit The Hague website for more information about using public transportation.
Click here to see a map of the tram lines in The Hague.
Should You Buy the Museum Card?
The Museum Card is a card that gives you free entrance into 400 museums in the Netherlands. For Dutch residents only, the card is valid for one year. For tourists, it is valid for 31 days and can be purchased at a handful of museums.
The Museum Card costs €64.90. If you have plans to visit Amsterdam, The Hague, and other towns in the Netherlands, purchasing the Museum Card is worth it. In Amsterdam, if you visited the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, and Our Lord in the Attic, you would pay €61. By also visiting one museum in The Hague, you would save money.
In The Hague you can purchase the Museum Card at Mauritshuis.
When to go to The Hague
The Hague can be visited all year round, but the best weather is between April and October. April and May is a very popular time to visit the Netherlands, since this is the time when the tulips and daffodils create blankets of color in the bulb fields, parks, and flower markets.
We visited The Hague the first week of April. We had a nice day during our visit, with sunny skies and temperatures reaching 60°F (16°C).
If you have any questions about how to spend one day in the Hague, let us know in the comment section below.
Planning a Trip to the Netherlands? Keep Reading:
- AMSTERDAM: Two Days in Amsterdam: The Perfect Itinerary
- AMSTERDAM: Top 10 Things to Do on Your First Visit to Amsterdam
- AMSTERDAM: Where to Stay in Amsterdam: Best Hotels & Neighborhoods
- HAARLEM: 6 Reasons Why You Should Take a Day Trip to Haarlem
- UTRECHT: One Perfect Day in Utrecht
- ITINERARY IDEA: 10 Day Amsterdam Brussels Paris Itinerary
Where are You Going Next?
More Information for Your Trip to Europe:
- EUROPE: One Week in Europe: 25 Amazing Itineraries
- FRANCE: 3 Days in Paris: The Ultimate Paris Itinerary
- LUXEMBOURG: One Perfect Day in Luxembourg City
- BELGIUM: How to Visit Bruges and Ghent if You Only have One Day
- AUSTRIA: One Perfect Day in Hallstatt, Austria
- LONDON: The London Bucket List: 50 Must-Have Experiences
- GERMANY: How to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle without the Crowds
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