I arrived in The Hague on a sunny Friday morning, with the only clear goal to visit the Escher museum that day.. But there was so much more to see. I stopped at the tourist information and with a small tour guide in hand, I decided to see ALL THE SIGHTS. Of course, I failed. But I ended up seeing a lot in a single day. The Hague is a very enjoyable mix of historic buildings and modern buildings. I’m usually not a fan of sky scrapers, but the ones I saw here were actually pretty to me. But the first big complex I visited was the medieval Binnenhof. Built throughout several centuries, the central Knight’s hall dates back to the 12th century and is the largest Gothic building, not built as a church. Though it definitely reminds one churches, with the large windows. The surrounding Binnenhof itself is mostly from the 17th century. In theory the Knight’s hall should be visitable, but once again I’d managed to pick the day they were having an event in the hall and were busy setting up. I didn’t want to disturb them. From the Binnenhof you exit onto the plain where the duality of new and old is best seen in my opinion. The place is surrounded by old houses, with all the sky scrapers visible in the back ground. The skyscrapers themselves are from the 1990ies to the early 2000s and are mostly government buildings. Each of them is housing a separate ministry. The concept of the houses was supposed to illustrate openness and transparency, so a lot of them have garden in the interiors and some actually have streets leading through the middle of the building. At the same time as the ministries, the “De Resident” area was created consisting of several multi-story houses and a small inner yard. Because the tram line was considered a disruption to the area and the inner yard, the tram line was actually built through a building! You can see the rails disappearing into the right hand tower and then come back out on the other side. The entire complex of sky scrapers is centred around the central station, which makes it a convenient point of reference when orientation yourself (and searching for the central station). From there I moved to “Spui” and the shopping area of The Hague. Even here there is a mix of old and new. I’ve rarely seen a shopping street that had a general concept and where the street and the metro entrances had a design element. But The Hague has that and it’s actually really cool! They’ve even turned the tram stop into an architectural highlight by creating an underground space with wooden floors and lots of light.
At the end of the tour, conveniently, I passed by the Escher museum. A small palace that shows the works of Escher and illustrates his life. It also illustrates the life of some Queen that used to live in said palace.. Something I found absolutely not interesting.