The Hague is a city on the West Coast of the Netherlands. It’s popular with tourists but not like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are. I visited recently with Visit Holland on a combined trip to discover what The Hague and Den Bosch has to offer and I really fell for The Hague!
Maybe it’s because we were told that The Hague has some of the best working and living conditions in the world, maybe it was the lovely people, maybe it was the feeling that this is a local and liveable city but either way, it’s a city that captured my heart quickly.
There is so much to do in The Hague and in no way is it a purely ‘health and wellness’ city BUT I did notice that there are a lot of things within the city that make you feel good visiting and participating in.
That is why I have put together this post of 6 things you can do in The Hague to give you that ‘feel good’ feeling to make you feel like you’re treating your body and doing something meaningful. So here we go:
Visit Namaste Cafe
Namaste Cafe was our first stop of the day and I was so grateful to be able to experience it. The owner Ruchi has travelled a lot and has a huge attraction and passion for India. Whilst in Goa she noticed that there were a lot of spiritual cafes that sold food and drink as well as products, massages, yoga classes and consultations, she also noticed that most of the people in them were Westerners. She decided this could be a good concept to bring back to the Netherlands so she took a gamble and opened up Namaste Cafe with the tagline – Coffee for the Soul.
It was the first spiritual cafe in Holland, she said that she loves travelling but now she has people from around the world visiting her which is pretty special.
The cafe sells a range of drinks and food, I had the saffron coffee which I’d never had before and it was great, and whilst you’re eating or drinking you can browse the various items on offer like hippie pants, jewellery, buddha statues, bags and postcards. Around the shop there are little positive, motivational quotes and there’s a big quote on the wall reminding, or informing, you of what Namaste really means.
Namaste Cafe also offers a range of workshops and massages and I promise you you’ll come out feeling a lot lighter after visiting.
Go to a Yoga Class
Talking of yoga, we were informed that The Hague has a lot of yoga and meditation centres, in fact there are over 40, which for a city of this size seems pretty impressive. So why not look at a few options before you arrive to see if you can join a class on your trip! I’m certain you’ll be able to find a class that is a bit different and not like you have at home! The Dutch seem very inventive!
Visit the Peace Palace
The Peace Palace is an international law administrative building right in the middle of The Hague ensuring that the city is recognised as the city of peace. It’s the most photographed building in the city with each Country having donated to a piece to create it, apparently the UK donated the stained glass windows.
It’s possible to visit the Visitor Centre everyday except Monday from 11:00-16:00 to watch a film which gives you an introduction to the founding history of the Peace Palace and to the juridical institutions based there.
Whilst in Namaste Cafe we were told that another reason it feels very special inside is because you can just see the top of the Peace Palace out of the window (see the view in the below picture) and The Hague is said to have a very spiritual energy within this area of the city.
Shop in the many Independent Stores
The Hague is all about its independent shops. During my trip we were lucky enough to meet a lot of the shop owners to hear how and why they set up their business. We were told that generally, you’ll always find the owner of the shop in the shop which is a touch I really like and they’ll be pleased to tell you their story.
Shopping in independent stores really helps give back. Firstly to the owners dream, many store owners have taken a risk in setting up their business and its taken a lot of hard work. Secondly to the wider community, we found that a lot of stores stocked products by young and new designers and artists to help promote them, and thirdly to the environment, as most independent stores seemed to sell local, handmade goods and are a lot more sustainable than the big chains.
A few of the stores we visited that I really enjoyed and would recommend are:
COLLECTIV – this is a concept store that opened in 2015. It holds a mix of designers items like clothing, jewelry, baby clothes, bags, furniture as well as a bagel cafe, a bow tie bar, and a bike store. What I really love is the fact that it has no staff and instead the artists and retailers work 2 days a week in store which covers the shop throughout the week and helps keep it really personal.
The bagels are said to be some of the best so I would take a visit and sit down for a coffee and a bagel whilst you’re there too!
Everything & More – soon to be named Everything and Nowhere, the owner couldn’t find a job in fashion so she opened a store for new and young designers to showcase their products. She spent 3 months gathering items and finding the right location before opening. She now has 23 designers items in the store and she ensures that the designers visit the store regularly and have contact with the customers.
All items are handmade and most are limited edition and very unique. The store is moving up the road very soon to ’74 Prins Hendrikstraat’ as the owner is joining forces with another shop owner saying that they are ‘stronger together’, a sentiment that I really loved. Make sure you pop in to say Hi and see some of the unique and quirky items they have on offer!
Lady Africa – If there’s one store you need to visit then its Lady Africa. The owners Irene and Gumi want to change the game in the Netherlands and get African designs appreciated. They have a range of items in store from super colourful pieces to black, grey and white pieces with small african prints so they are suitable for everyone and suitable for western weather and fashion. All items are sustainably produced and handmade. Lady Africa also helps support and up-skill new and young designers. So give them a visit and make a purchase to brighten up your wardrobe!
The Hague has an abundance of Art Galleries and Museums. The most famous is probably the Mauritshuis which featured the painting the Girl with a Pearl Earring, an oil painting by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.
A lot of the museum are in the central area of the city and are situated close to the Mauritshuis and also not too far from Den Haag Central Station.
Get some Sea air
Did you know that The Hague has a beach?? Well you do now! In fact, The Hague has 11km of coastline just outside of the City Centre. Beaches such as Scheveningen and Kijkduin are the most popular and we all know there’s nothing like being by the ocean to make you head a bit clearer and your body a bit fresher!
I hope you find these ideas useful and they help make your trip to The Hague that bit more special and unique!
The Hague will be celebrating 200 years of tourism in 2018 so it’s a place that you need to visit soon that’s for sure!
**Have you been to The Hague? Did you find this useful? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting me!**
For more of my posts on The Netherlands check out: