Enjoy Amsterdam More by Sleeping in the Hague

Apr 18, 2024 4:55:22 AM | Europe Enjoy Amsterdam More by Sleeping in the Hague

For many, Amsterdam is high on the list of European cities I'd like to visit one day. However, that may come with the tradeoff of dealing with obnoxious party culture.

Want to skip to the good stuff? Click the links below πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

βœ… What to know about the Hague
🏨 Hotels in the Hague I suggest
πŸš†Getting There / Around
πŸ“Google Maps pins
πŸ›οΈ Sites to see

| When I suggest someone stay in the Hague, I usually get the following response : "Isn't that just a city where war crimes trials happen?"

"Yes, it's the same city. There's also alot more to it than the ICC" 

First, why should I stay in the Hague?

Staying at a hotel in The Hague instead of Amsterdam offers several benefits. First and foremost, accommodations in The Hague tend to be significantly cheaper. I would estimate I save 30-50% per night over comparable hotels in Amsterdam.

Additionally, The Hague is generally less crowded than Amsterdam. This lesser crowd density also tends to limit the tourist-driven disruptions (drunks doing drunk things) often seen in Amsterdam, making The Hague a more pleasant and quieter environment at night.

Additionally, The Hague is a really cool city in its own right. It's worth spending a day or two there just enjoying the Dutch vibes!

The Hague is reachable by direct train from Schipol (Amsterdam's international airport) in about 30 minutes

Schipol, Amsterdam's main airport is set outside the city like most other large airfields. The airport has a train station inside. You do not ever have to even walk outside the building to catch the train. 

The easiest way to reach the Hague is to walk out of the baggage area. Once you pass through the final customs gate, you'll find yourself almost in a mall. Keep headed in the same directions following the train signs overhead will lead you to the station in just a couple hundred feet. 

You'll end up in the large room pictured below (there will probably be alot more people there though). I 100% guarantee you will have a travel hangover from poor sleep, so simply bookmark this page and follow my steps to make it easy. 

Schiphol Train Station By Yintan - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76657255

Step 01 - Find the large yellow ticket machines and buy a ticket (Arrow in Blue)

You must have a ticket to travel on the trains in the Netherlands. It is not possible to buy tickets on Dutch trains. So you'll need to buy one in the station. The machines work in English, take cards, and tickets are sold based on destination. Simply snag one to "Den Haag Centraal" which is the main station in the Hague. 

Step 02 - Move out of the way and look up at the Departure Boards (Arrow in Green)

I listed "move out of the way" first, because again you are tired and may forget. There is nothing worse than missing the train you need to catch for a meeting because tourists are in the way, so don't be those people! The board overhead will list all of the trains that are departing. Figure out which train you want to catch then... 

Step 03 - Look for the right escalator, validate your ticket, then go down to the platform

(Arrow in Red)

Look overhead the escalators for the right number. Each escalator leads down to a pair of platforms (right and left) on a single island. If you go down the wrong escalator you will need to walk back up and into the station. 

It is critical that you validate your ticket before you board the train! (arrow in white)

If you have lived in a city like New York or London, you will be familiar with "tapping in." The concept is no different here, simply tap your ticket on the pole looking things right next to the escalators. If you don't validate your ticket and you get caught you will be fined €50 to be paid in cash on the spot (although with a passport they may let you pay it later). 

After about 30 minutes you will make it to Den Haag Centraal

Group 2 (3) GraphyArchy, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

You're sleepy, so remember what pocket you put your tickets in. You will need them to scan at the gate and exit the station.  Take a left and you will find yourself walking out these doors (arrow in red). You cannot miss the tram platforms which are to your right. 

| How do I use the trams? 

Google maps will give you a very good idea about which tram can take you to your hotel. Chances are that if you are in the city center, it's just as easy to walk. For instance, if you want to get to the Voco, it's an 18 minute walk or a 12 minute tram ride. 

In this case I usually suggest walking. It's an easy way to get a good view of the city and honestly might be quicker and easier by the time the tram arrives, you get on/off, etc. 

Like the trains, you need to have a valid fare to ride the trams. If you are caught without one, you will pay the same €50 fine in cash that you would need to on a train. 

The easiest way to get a valid ticket is to use OVpay by simply tapping your debit or credit card in when you get on, and tapping out when you get off. There is no need to ever stop at a kiosk or get any type of card. Note, you will need a Visa, Maestro, or Mastercard for these transactions. Discover and AMEX are not as commonly used in the Netherlands. 

Travel Pro tip: Most of the Tram drivers (and realistically all of the government employees) in the Hague are very nice and will answer your questions in English if you need help. Police officers in the Netherlands are also incredibly nice & helpful and not at all in the same league with US cops (unless you are being a drunk asshole... but again you're staying in the Hague to avoid that crowd). 

| Where would you stay?

Voco the Hague

voco The Hague

Is one of my favorite hotels in the entire country. It's set in restored former bank building a couple blocks away from Parliament. The entire hotel feels light and airy, rooms are large, and the showers have great water pressure. It's also incredibly quiet.  Rates can often be had for around €125/night. 

Best for: Romantic couples trips or relaxing vibes

Staybridge Suites the Hague - Parliament

If you value a little more space or have an extended stay, the Staybridge nearby is a very good option. The rooms are larger, have kitchenettes, and the hotel has a laundry that guests can use. They also have a couple free weekly happy hours (tues/thurs iirc) where you can meet others staying there. 

The downside to this property is that recently prices have gotten much more expensive. Today they are averaging around €200/night, but I have paid around €100 personally so there are deals out there if you are flexible with dates. 

Best for: Extended stays or working professionals

What to know about the Hague 

1. The Hague is the seat of government of the Netherlands

Image of the Hague parliament taken at night

Although not the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government. The city hosts the Dutch Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Council of State.

2. The Hague is located on the Rotterdam Metro line

If you want to see Rotterdam, you can easily take a day trip there on the Metro. If you are going to the city center however, it is typically faster by a few minutes to take an intercity train.

3. You can visit the beach by taking the tram to Scheveningen

The beach is a little over half an hour away from the center by tram. There is a boardwalk along the coast with restaurants and entertainment. The area can be very pleasant when the weather is nice. However I do not suggest this as an activity outside of the warmer months. High wind, high humidity, grey clouds, and low temps make for a not so nice beach day. 

4. The Hague houses one of the world's largest panoramas:
Panorama Mesdag is cylindrical painting about 14 meters high and more than 120 meters in circumference. It gives the viewer a 360-degree view of the sea, dunes, and the village of Scheveningen as it appeared in 1881.  

5. You can visit a 1/25 scale of many famous Dutch Buildings at Madurodam

Madurodam is a park you can walk through with various iconic Dutch buildings, landmarks, and historical sites on a 1:25 scale. It's an interesting way to see the highlights of the Netherlands in just a few hours and a great activity for those with children. 

Pro-tip: Buy your tickets online to save €2/ea. 

Any restaurants you would suggest? 

My favorite place to eat in the Hague is De Basiliek. It's featured in the Michelin guide, and it isn't the cheapest restaurant, but man is it good! I'd suggest going for lunch, it's a bit less crowded and you can do the lunch specials to save a bit of money. I spent a bit over €30 for lunch last time I ate there in 2023. 

Paid Attractions

Gevel_Escher_in_Het_Paleis_300_dpi 1

By Escher in het Paleis - Flickr: Gevel Escher in Het Paleis 300 dpi, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32804275

Escher in Het Paleis: Cost: €12.50/ person

Escher in Het Paleis (Escher in The Palace) is a museum dedicated to the works of Dutch graphical artist M. C. Escher, located in The Hague, Netherlands. Since November 2002, the museum has been situated in the Lange Voorhout Palace, a former royal residence that dates back to the eighteenth century. 

Madurodam: Cost: €22.50 online /  €24.50 in person

image 1

By Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium - Madurodam, The Netherlands, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24415497

Madurodam, located in the Scheveningen district of The Hague, Netherlands, is a miniature park that features 1:25 scale replicas of famous Dutch landmarks and historical cities. Since its opening in 1952, the attraction has welcomed tens of millions of visitors and donates all net proceeds to various Dutch charities.

Free Attractions

Visit the Dutch Parliament

The public is allowed to visit the House of Representatives on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during session days. Access is granted to the Statenpassage, the Plenary Hall's public gallery, and the Statenlokaal, where visitors can enjoy a coffee.

All guests planning to visit the House of Representatives need to register. Pre-registration can be completed online at https://bezoekers.tweedekamer.nl. Each visitor must obtain an individual ticket that will be sent to your email address. 

Head to the Beach

Other than a tram ticket, it's completely free to visit the beach in Scheveningen. The city has a long sandy beach and esplanade. There is also a lighthouse, a pier with restaurants, and other resort city activities to enjoy.  

Stroll through Haagse Bos (the Hague Forest) 

IMG_8570 1

Haagse Bos is an ancient forest in The Hague, Netherlands, stretching from the city center to the Wassenaar border. It is one of the oldest remaining forests in the country and played a role during World War II as a launch site for German V-1 and V-2 rockets. The forest was historically a hunting ground for Dutch counts and has been protected to prevent complete deforestation.

Mike Lee

Written By: Mike Lee