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From Scheveningen

The Hague Highlights Holiday Edition

Take this ‘intelligent readers guide’ and explore the city. Do it virtually, just sitting at home in your comfortable chair or plan your route, get out and let The Hague tell its story. This is basically what The Hague Highlights tells you to do. It’s a down to earth guide, with short summaries on  the historical background and fun facts of 100 places you must-see according to the authors. Authors Ineke Mahieu and Ad van Gaalen based their selection on: the connection of the places with the sea and the connection with the international character of the city.

Like many other guides, I couldn’t just read The Hague Highlights sitting at home. The fact that it doesn’t have a map or a route designed for you probably even made me more eager to create my own route and in that sense also my own story. I browsed through the book and picked a few places I wanted to visit. To feel the history, see what was described in the guide. I took a map, ticked the places and was off.  Now I treasure the Christmas season. I am always attracted by the decoration, the lights that give this magical glow to the city and get into this really festive mood with all the different events in The Hague. For this blogpost I chose a couple of places described in The Hague Highlights which get me into the festive holiday mood just thinking of them. For my blog on Anglo Info South Holland I picked a couple of other treasures from the book.

Department Store Bijenkorf Turns The Hague into 1 Big Highlight

Copyright video: de Bijenkorf

The Grote Marktstraat has completely changed in  the last two years.  Inspired by the old Hague Court and the royal lace patterns,  Architect Lana du Croq wanted to make it an open ball room. New and renovated buildings as the Markies & Sythoff city give  the street a royal grandeur. And in the midst of the shopping street is the Bijenkorf.  Even though it is now between other buildings that sparkle modernity, de Bijenkorf still holds its glamourous status. Every year in November the department store shows it shines like never before and reveils it’s Christmas shopping windows in the most spectacular way.

The Hague Highlights points out that his department store is seen as the highlight of the Amsterdam School of Architecture (1910-1930) Apart from the façade and the staircase,  the intelligent reader’s guide tells a funny fact about the escalator. Did you know that people actually queued to get a ride and there was actually  an employee to supervise the crowd?

Kurhaus and the -re-creation of memories

Highlight number 42  in the guide by Mahieu and Van Gaalen is the Kurhaus. When I read about the building, my heart just skips a beat. From a wooden bathhouse to the Metropolitan Bathhouse to the Kurhaus, this eyecatcher has had quite a transformation over the years. When I visit it, it makes me think of Eline Vere  written by The Hague author Louis Couperus. This dark and gloomy novel gives a good idea of traditions and way of life of the The Hague elite in the 19th century . Back to the present. The ninth edition of the Cool Event Scheveningen takes place this year between the 15th of November and the 17th of January. For years the big ice rink in front of the Kurhaus attracted most visitors, but  the Palace Fun Slide starting on the Pier is like a rising star and ready to become the biggest attraction of Scheveningen in this time of year.

A Polder of Winter in Uithof

The international character of the city near the sea is high on the agenda of the municipality of the City of The Hague. International visitors will start calling Scheveningen The Hague Beach  and the parks near Scheveningen become the International Park.  Not a word is said about The Uithof. Fortunately it is mentioned in The Hague Highlights.  Situated at the south side of The Hague it is best known for the big skating rink and the ski & sporting complex. I say: if winter & snow don’t come to you, get into the wintersport mood at De Uithof, The Hague. For me the highlight of the Uithof is the actual park, which as the authors of The Hague Highlights point out takes its name from the uithof polder. For me, it’s  the gateway to the Dutch countryside and a perfect example of a polder. How Dutch do you want it?

The Christmas Fair at the end of The Hague Forest

Copyright: Arjan de Jager

A couple of winters ago a new tradition started: the Royal Christmas Fair, which not only shines a new –high- light on brings you into a real festive mood. The Lange Voorhout is the most impressive, most romantic avenue in the Hague.  A long long time ago this was the end of a primeval forest. Haagse Bosjes, The Hague woods, was also part of this huge forest. Now this lane is full of lime trees and is tugged in between Noordeinde Palace, Hofvijver and surrounded by ministeries, embassies and museums. In spring, summer & fall the lime trees invite for a stroll past the stately 18th, 19th & 20th century buildings. In winter,  you can enjoy Dutch gezelligheid (cosiness) at the stalls of the Royal Christmas Fair. Edition 2017 takes place from 15 untill 24 December.

Want to win a copy of The Hague Highlights?  Share your The Hague Highlight on Facebook and tell us what’s so special about your hotspot.

This post was inspired by:

The Hague Highlights: the 100 must-see places in The Hague

Ineke Mahieu & Ad Van Gaalen

English translation by Stephen Agnew.

Seapress/Uitgeverij Lakerveld bv, Rijswijk: 2015.

ISBN 978-90-73930-41-4. Price: € 14,50.

More info

Early autumn on The Hague road to Scheveningen

The other day, it was still August, I was on my way to my favourite summer bike path: the Scheveningseweg. When I got there I was  amazed that the trees already showed some signs of autumn. The colours made me smile, but I wondered if it was an early autumn on The Hague road to Scheveningen. Today, the 1st of September, on the official day of metereological fall, I found some answers.

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How to get to the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen 2017

Great that you’re coming to the International Fireworks Festival Scheveningen. To get to Scheveningen is quite easy, but I would recommend you to prepare your trip as this popular festival expects tens of thousands of visitors. Here are some tips on how to get to the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen.

Best way to get to the Firework festival Scheveningen is by bike
Best way to get to the Firework festival Scheveningen is by bike

Cycling to the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen

Of course, as a bike fan I would suggest to come by bike. Your journey to the Scheveningen beach won’t be any longer than usual, you don’t depend on bus or tram schedules and you can easily leave the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen. Finding a parking spot for your bike can be difficult though, so even when you come by bike, come a bit earlier. If you’re looking for a bike parking check biesieklette.   If you’re not from The Hague you can also rent a bike at Biesieklette. These are the rental locations:

  • Grote Markt (Laan 9)
  • Driehoekjes (Grote Halstraat 9)
  • Spuiplein (onder het stadhuis)
  • Anna van Buerenstraat (achter het Centraal Station)
  • Zeeman Grote Markstraat
  • Rabbijn Maarsenplein
  • Du Nord Keizerstraatpark & bike in Fireworks Festival Scheveningen

 

 

Park & Bike

Coming by car is a real hassle and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it. If you do want to come by car, check https://bksparking.nl/ for available parking spot in the area of the International Fireworks Festival.  If you really want to take the car to Scheveningen beach I suggest to use this website . This is a special Park & Ride system as you book a parking spot in advance ánd can add public transport,  taxi service or a rental bike . Do make sure that you reserve a bike at least one  day in advance as this is quite a popular service.

Want to use public transport to get to the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen?
Want to use public transport to get to the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen?

Fireworks Festival Scheveningen: just a tramride away

The last option to get to the Fireworks Festival Scheveningen is to come by tram. At the servicedesks in The Hague Centraal Station and Hollands Spoor they sell €4.00 event tickets which is valid for both ways. You can take tram 1 and 11 from and to railway station The Hague Hollands Spoor or tram 9 from The Hague Centraal railway station. Bus 21, 22 and 23 have several stops in The Hague city centre.  Check for more information ( in Dutch) HTM or 9292.nl

General information on how to get to beach resort Scheveningen can be found on this website.  The  fireworks festival Scheveningen takes place on 11,12, 18 & 19 August 2017. More information on the festival itself can be found here

The Hague Horse Drawn Carriage Ride in a Day Tour

The kids were exhausted. On the way back to their hotel in The Hague they just fell asleep. It didn’t seem to matter that they were doing something unusual. The The Hague horse drawn carriage ride, the cherry on the cake of the whole tour, passed unnoticed. Did we do too much on this one day tour The Hague area?

The Jewish American family during the dune walk
The Jewish American family during the dune walk

In retrospective I think it may have been too much, the schedule packed with activities in the The Hague dunes, the Scheveningen beach and harbour.  But, I really can’t help it:  I’m a big fan of alternative tours and showing cities and their surroundings from a different perspective.  I do know that things don’t always go the way you planned. Well, that’s for sure!  I had planned a tramride to Delft and a short Delft city tour. Then I found out the tram didn’t go all the way to Delft and it was raining cats and dogs.  One of the participants texted me with the question if they could visit the Escher museum. Slightly relieved, I proposed they visited the museum instead of going to Delft, which wouldn’t be that much fun anyway if my favourite tram wasn’t running.

At noon I met the participants, a Jewish American family who instead of doing a traditional celebration for the bar mitswa of their daughter/ niece went on a Europe trip.  After having visited three European countries, they were now visiting the Netherlands for 5 days.

View point lake The Hague dunes day tour Netherlands

Fortunately the tram to the Scheveningen beach ran on a normal schedule. I brought the family to  beach restaurant De Waterreus, where they had a fantastic sea food lunch and service was perfect.

When the sky cleared we rented bikes and made our way to the Dunea information centre , which is located in the midst of the The Hague dunes. The park ranger stood in front of the centre waiting for us. The walk we made with him through the dunes was amazing. From a land full of potatoes he took us to a foresty area and whispered that we might be able to see the wild horses that were grazing in this valley full of maythorns ( hence the name Meijendel). The eyes of the youngest participant lit up. When she spotted them she was extatic. The funny thing was that the horses followed her as if they were on a magic spell.

Wild horses Meijendel dunes Hague area-veritasvisit

 

While she was still enjoying the attention of the wild horses, we climbed up the hill to get the most spectacular view overlooking a big lake with in the background the skyline of beach resort Scheveningen.

Amazing view on The Hague skyline from Meijendel dunes
Amazing view on the skyline of beach resort Scheveningen from Meijendel dunes
The park ranger explaining where Hague's drinking water comes from
The park ranger explaining where Hague’s drinking water comes from

It was at this point the park ranger explained how the dune water was extracted and used for distribution of drinking water to thousands of households in The Hague region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enchanted by the dune walk we returned to our bikes and cycled to the horse and wagon. The Hague horse drawn carriage ride back was, like I said, a quiet one. Only the youngest participant still chatted excitingly about the wild horses. The route was beautiful though and we had a lot of spectators. Everyone stopped to see the horse drawn carriage wagon pass by.

The day tour The Hague area was quite an adventure. And to be honest, if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

The Hague horse drawn carriage ride is the end of our day tour The Hague area
The Hague horse drawn carriage ride is the end of our day tour The Hague area

 

How a small café by the harbour became the core of the Vlaggetjesdag Challenge

It wasn’t supposed to get all the attention, but somehow it did. A small café by the harbour became the core of the Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen Challenge. This is how it happened.

Flags Flag Day Scheveningen-veritasvisit

Celebration of the Dutch New Herring

The new herring catch of the season calls for a typical Dutch celebration. A typical Dutch celebration calls for a challenge by Verita’s Visit. So there we were, me and a bunch of international minded people, at the harbour of Scheveningen with just one mission: find out what Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen was all about and if it was more than Dutch new herring.

King William and Madonna at Vlaggetjesdag

The participants had no idea what to expect, there were question marks all over their faces when we met at the Scheveningen library. As there was some drizzle outside that was expected to turn into heavy rainfall, we headed inside for a short introduction. The given information could be used during the challenge.  King William, Madonna, the painter Mesdag and of course the Dutch herring, also known as Hollandse Nieuwe  all dropped by in this introduction.

 

the go with the flow festival challenge

Exactly at the moment the rain stopped, the participants, now divided in teams, were off to the first location in the Scheveningen harbour where they had to answer a question and complete a creative challenge. Now, finding your way in a local festival is quite a challenge by itself, so at first all teams were a bit lost.  By the time they had done two or three challenges they got the hang of it. They somehow realized the best thing to do was to just go with the flow, dive into the festivities and have fun.

Enjoy the local atmosphere and get social with a local

The best thing on local festivals like Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen is the atmosphere, everyone is relaxed and it’s easy to make contact with locals or visitors.  Just like in the Leidens Ontzet Treasure Hunt  the participants of the Vlaggetjesdag Scheveningen Challenge had to step out of their comfort zone and get social with a local.

Sharing Experiences during Herring & Corenwijn tasting

At the end of the Scheveningen Vlaggetjesdag challenge we all gathered at Restaurant de Dagvisser. In this small café by the harbour we tasted 4 exquisite herring dishes with 4 types of Corenwijn. All teams shared their experiences there. When I asked them why they all had chosen the song ‘Het kleine café aan de haven’ for one of the challenges they all responded in unison: “Because it was the shortest!”

Tasting Dutch Herring & Corenwijn
Tasting Dutch Herring & Corenwijn in a small café in the harbour ( actually a restaurant 😉 )

Small cafe by the harbour of Scheveningen

Athough they were all enjoyed, it was not the Hollandse Nieuwe,  the fishers’ boats, the stands demonstrating the local crafts or the men and women in traditional clothing, it was a small café by the harbour that became the core of the Vlaggetjesdag Challenge edition 2016.

Female net repairer Scheveningen-veritasvisit