Day 1: Art and Canals
The Hague’s superb Mauritshuis art gallery is currently under renovation and the pride of its Dutch Old Master collections are on display at the HP Berlage-designed Gemeentemuseum den Haag until May 2014. Pay a visit to check out Jan Vermeer’s famous View of Delft; peerless works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Rembrandt; and the world’s foremost exhibition of abstract works by Piet Mondrian.
Enjoy a lunch of fries and mayo from a street vendor and explore the elegant city center around Hofvijver Lake; don’t miss the splendid façade of the Mauritshuis, the fairy-tale spires and gables of the Ridderzaal in the Binnenhof courtyard, which is surrounded by the grandiose Dutch parliament buildings. Choose one of the city’s many Indonesian restaurants for supper.
Day 2: Power Politics
Tour the imposing Vredespaleis (Peace Palace), which has just celebrated its centenary. The Hague’s best-loved landmark was designed by Louis Cordonnier and completed in 1913 in neo-Gothic style with finance provided by American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The imposing brick-and-stone edifice and its decorative clock tower incorporate the UN’s International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Peace Palace Library of International Law. As befits such a lofty institution, the interior of the palace is highly ornate, crammed with chandeliers, marble, sweeping staircases, frescoed ceilings and stained-glass windows.
Afterwards check out the extraordinary Panorama Mesdag; this startlingly realistic, circular 19th-century seascape stretches 400 ft (120 m) in length and features The Hague’s seaside suburb of Scheveningen. Wander the gardens of Noordeinde Palace, the official ‘working palace’ of King Willem-Alexander and by night eat out on Chinatown around Wagenstraat
Day 3: Visit the Seaside
Take the 15-minute tram ride to Scheveningen itself to walk along the seafront esplanade or relax on the beach. The kids will love Sea Life Scheveningen, the 3-D films at Omniversum and seeing The Netherlands in miniature at Madurodam. Round off the day with fresh seafood in one of the many promenade bistros.