Part of the Randstad – the name given to four of the Netherlands’ largest cities – The Hague is fairly unique. The city epitomises dignified business and politics: it is the heart of the Dutch government, the primary residence of the king and queen and the centre of international courts, but it is also a place to play, as the home to famous Dutch beaches and the delightful miniature theme park Madurodam.

Things to do, see and experience in The Hague

Mondrian to Dutch Design: 100 years of De Stijl

The year 2017 is the centenary of the De Stijl abstract art movement, and The Hague is celebrating: the entire city is honouring the movement and one of its most famous founders, Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, with the theme Mondrian to Dutch Design. Visitors to The Hague are greeted by a colourful display of his iconic work on every corner of the city: huge red, blue and yellow colour blocks adorn the outer walls of city hall, with other installations popping up throughout the year. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag will present its entire 300-piece collection of his art in the exhibition The Discovery of Mondrian from 30 June until 24 September 2017.

Architecture

Like most Dutch cities, The Hague is rich with architecture. The king’s residence, Noordeinde Palace, is naturally magnificent, with its tall windows, gold details and lavish garden; the interior is not open to the public, but guests can wander the garden at leisure. The Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice, looms tall over the city with its neo-Renaissance style, while Het Binnenhof, one of the oldest buildings in The Hague, offers visitors a historical, unique view of Dutch history.

Theme Parks

Experience the Netherlands in just one hour at Madurodam, a miniature replica of the Netherlands’ most famous sights: canal houses, flower fields, cheese markets, windmills and more. Guests are encouraged to touch and play with the exhibits: load a cargo ship at the Port of Rotterdam, generate energy at the windmills or become a DJ and play for a roaring (miniature) crowd. Drievliet, another theme park, is more for the adrenaline-seekers: it features rollercoasters, thrill rides and a haunted house attraction.

Museums

Aside from the Gemeentemuseum, which houses a collection of both modern and classical art and artefacts, the Mauritshuis – a work of art in its own right, having been built in the 17th century as a posh residence – contains a collection of Dutch Golden Age masterpieces, including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Escher in the Palace, which highlights the dizzying work of graphic artist M.C. Escher, is located in a former royal palace and displays over 150 prints of Escher’s, including the 7-metre-long Metamorphosis III.

Beaches

Wide beaches, a harbour filled with trendy, tasty restaurants and a grand pier: when at Scheveningen, it feels thousands of miles from urban life. The seaside resort is popular among water sport enthusiasts – arguably a Dutch national pastime – but also for leisure lovers and families, with plenty of activities and accommodations right at the sea.

Looking for more excursions outside the city? Check out these other day trips from Amsterdam.