The Hague shines in every season

In the summer, you’ll spend your days frolicking in the surf at Scheveningen, while wintertime is best spent cosying up with a cup of glühwein at the festive Christmas markets. So whenever you decide to visit The Hague, you’ll find plenty of things to do in this royal city.

Spring

Spring is one of the best seasons in The Hague, with blooming flowers, chirping birds and streets full of life. The beach season kicks off with the opening of beach bars while kite flyers, kite surfers and other active beachgoers get moving again.

Vlinders aan de Vliet: This tropical butterfly garden is situated in an 850m2 greenhouse where over 1,500 varieties of butterflies and dozens of birds roam freely. Discover fish, amphibians, turtles and other tropical creatures in the many streams and freshwater ponds. 22 February – 28 October 2019

Spring Festival: For decades this annual event has been a significant part of musical life at the Royal Conservatoire. The festival presents the latest works by students of the institute’s composition department, performed by instrumentalists, singers and performers of the Royal Conservatoire and various Dutch ensembles. Usually takes place in the first week of April. Check back for 2020 dates

BonFire Beach Fest: This annual event celebrates the building of Scheveningen’s first bathhouse – a small wooden construction containing four seawater bathtubs – establishing it as the first seaside resort in the Netherlands. Festival goers of all ages can enjoy cultural, musical, culinary and sport activities at this annual event that marks the beginning of the beach seasonUsually takes place in the third weekend of April. Check back for 2020 dates

De Grote Kerk open days: As one of the oldest buildings in The Hague, the open days present an excellent opportunity to admire the inside of the Great Church at your leisure. Volunteers will be available to explain more about the building’s history, while an audio tour allows you to discover the church’s main sights.

Japanese Garden at Clingendael: The crown jewel of Clingendael Park contains a huge variety of rare trees and plants as well as many traditional Japanese elements, including stone lanterns, water casks and a pavilion with shouji (sliding doors). Created in the early 20th century by Marguérite M. Baroness van Brienen, the garden is only open for eight weeks of the year. Usually open from the last weekend in April through to the second weekend in June. Check back for 2020 dates

North Sea Regatta: At the annual North Sea Regatta, the sea at Scheveningen fills with hundreds of boats that race to the shoreline. Usually held mid-May. Check back for 2020 dates

Dutch Beer Tasting Festival: 43 Dutch breweries will present more than 250 beers at the opening event of Dutch Beer Week. Held in the unique setting of the Grote Kerk, visitors will be able to talk to brew masters about their beers and the brewing process. Masterclasses will also be presented by beer experts. Usually held towards the end of May. Check back for 2020 dates

Summer

Summer in The Hague is spent outdoors, with most people, locals and tourists alike, spending their time at the beach or at the many festivals and events for families, couples and solo adventurers.

Flag Day Scheveningen: Celebrate the historic arrival of the Dutch’s favourite fish, herring, to the harbours of Scheveningen on Flag Day. While eating herring in the traditional Dutch manner – held by the tail and lowered into your mouth, your head tipped back – is encouraged, there is plenty more to do at this annual festival, including old Dutch children’s games and football on the beach. Usually held in the middle of June. Check back for 2020 dates

Parkpop: One of the largest free pop festivals in Europe, Parkpop is a must for music lovers when visiting The Hague in the summer. Open to all, it’s welcoming atmosphere is a perfect demonstration of Dutch friendliness and music. Held towards the end of June. Check back for 2020 dates

Zeeheldenfestival: Join the locals in the Zeeheldenkwartier for a five-day festival that brings out the best in the neighbourhood. A full children’s programme (puppet shows, magicians and more), live music in the evenings and plenty of food and drink make it an event that will help you feel right at home in no time. 1 – 5 July 2020

Autumn

Immerse yourself in culture with the opening of the cultural season. Typically, it is also the off season for many travellers so it may be the perfect time to visit when the city is quieter.

UIT Festival: Over 100 cultural institutions in and around The Hague showcase their programmes with over 100 performances during the symbolic opening of the new cultural season. This free event attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year. 6 – 8 September 2019

Prince’s Festival: Held each year to celebrate democracy in The Hague, this four-day event includes various activities to experience, understand and enjoy The Hague as a democratic governmental centre. The highlight of the festival is Prince’s Day, which represents the start of the new parliamentary year. Held on 17 September, the reigning monarch of the Netherlands addresses a joint session of the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives in the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights).10 – 17 September 2019

Just Peace: This five-day festival connects educational and cultural institutions, international organisations and NGOs based in The Hague that are bringing peace and justice to the forefront. Over 40 events, including debates, performing arts, museum activities, sports and music, all centre around the theme of peace in the lead-up to the International Day of Peace on 21 September. 17  21 September 2019

Museum Night: Celebrating 10 years in 2019, dozens of cultural institutions around the city open their doors from 20:00 to 01:00 for a programme packed with art, dance, music, theatre and more. 5 October 2019

Crossing Border: This international literature and music festival includes a unique combination of spoken word, music, special film screenings and visual arts. As one of the foremost international, interdisciplinary literature and music festivals in Europe, past performers have included Fay Weldon, Salman Rushdie, Rufus Wainwright and Jamie Lidell. 29 October – 3 November 2019

Winter

When the weather turns cold, the Dutch don’t give up on outdoor fun – they embrace it! The Hague transforms into a true winter wonderland during the colder months, with tons of activities to enjoy. 

TINK: During December, strolling past shop windows is an event in itself in The Hague. That’s because the TINK winter event sees shop owners battling it out to land the prize for the best window display. There’s even prizes on offer for customers. 7 – 27 December 2019

Cool Event: Enjoy some winter fun at Cool Event in Scheveningen, where you can skate, sled and even admire incredible ice sculptures that pop up along the beach. 30 November 2019 – 12 January 2019

Royal Christmas Fair: One of the largest Christmas markets in the Netherlands, the magical Royal Christmas Fair at the Lange Voorhout features twinkling lights, handmade gifts, fragrant food and delicious drinks. A full programme of events for the entire family make it an event you really shouldn’t miss. 12– 23 December 2019

‘t Groot Kerstcircus: The circus is in town! From late December to early January, the ‘big circus’ – featuring comedy, acrobatics, a laser show, illusions and more – takes over Malieveld, a large grass field located opposite The Hague’s Central Station. 20 December 2019 – 5 January 2020

Bonfire Scheveningen: There’s nothing better than snuggling up beside a bonfire on the beach – and no better time to do it than while ringing in the New Year alongside the biggest bonfire in the Netherlands. 31 December 2019

If you’re not sure when to plan your trip or you’re wondering what’s going on, check out the calendar to see what’s happening in The Hague.