The Hague Highlights Holiday Edition

Verita

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. With the third The Hague edition of Turn on the Lights the department store shows it shines like never before.

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 on the Mountain of the Hofvijver

 

Copyright: kerstmarkten.net
Copyright: kerstmarkten.net

The The Hague Brook connects the Hofvijver with the sea near Kijkduin. The brook was dug in the 14th century to supply the pond with fresh drinking water. The Hofvijver and the The Hague Brook are described in the intelligent reader’s guide, but I miss a story about the Vijverberg. The pond was made deeper. According to the legend the sand thrown on the banks became the Lange & Korte Vijverberg – the pond’s mountain-. The level of the streets is actually higher than other streets.  Many festivities & events take place around this world famous lake. From a picinic on the day before Prinsjesdag, to a fun fair on King’s Day. One of my festival highlights at the pond is Festival Classique, a classical music festival bringing a creative mix of dance, music & theatre. In 2016 it will move to Scheveningen. Last winter a new tradition started: the Royal Christmas Fair, which not only shines a new –high- light on the Hofvijver and the skyline of The Hague, but gets you into a real festive mood.

 

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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.

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