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A Day in The Hague

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The Mauritshuis, located on the Hofvijver itself, was once a residence for a noble cousin of the royal family. An art collector, his private gallery was added to over the years by several monarchs and eventually taken over by a private foundation and turned into the premiere collection of Dutch masters' artworks from the golden age of the country's empire. Today, the museum if one of The Hague's premiere tourist attractions and contains such iconic works as Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring and Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp.

Korte Vijverberg 8, The Hague, Paesi Bassi, 2513 AB

The historic Ridderzaal, or Knight's Hall, is the oldest remaining structure left on the grounds of the Binnenhof. This 13th-century great hall is festooned with the coats of arms of many of the Netherlands' noble houses and some exquisite artwork and antique furniture. Viewing is generally open to the public, but on some state occasions the Ridderzaal is in use by the government. Principal among these are the rare occasions on which the monarch addresses the nation from inside the hall.

Binnehof, The Hague, Paesi Bassi, 2513 AA

The Binnenhof is a complex of buildings which date back to the 12th Century when The Hague was just a hunting retreat for the nobility. Since then, the Binnenhof, or inner court has become the seat and symbol of the Dutch Republic. Here was the seat of the Parliament that sent Henry Hudson to discover the river that bears his hame in the early 17th Century. Here sat the assembly of States General that lent their name to Staten Island and whose constitution inspired the founding fathers of the US. Since those days, successive Dutch governments have continued unbroken in this location for centuries. Today, the Binnenhof contains several locations that are closed to protect the machinery of state with the exception of rare guided tours. However, the Binnenhof does include several public spaces that are worth viewing, including the Ridderzaal, oldest building in The Hague.

Binnenhof, The Hague, Paesi Bassi, 2513 AA

The Zuiderpark, just southwest of the city center, is a wide green expanse delineating the borders of several neighborhoods. It is a favorite spot for outdoor recreation in the city, with its more open and relaxed atmosphere than the Haagse Bos nearby. Once the site of the Zuiderpark stadium and home of The Hague's beloved soccer club, the venue for their games has since moved to a new stadium just outside the city limits. Apart from its lovely waterways and lawns, the park also features several courts for sports such as handball and bocce, and is the site of the Zuiderpark open tennis tournament. The Zuiderpark is also the scene of the yearly rock festival Parkpop and other outdoor events.

Zuiderpark, The Hague, Paesi Bassi, 2533 SP
Sea Life Scheveningen

The Sealife Aquarium in Scheveningen is one of the most modern and enchanting aquaria in Europe. Containing thousands upon thousands of fish, sharks, and other marine life, Sealife offers hours of family fun and learning for children of any age. The building's scale-like facade is visible along a large section of the Scheveningen Strandweg and is a familiar landmark in the beach community. The tickets are not the cheapest attraction on the promenade but beat dropping a wad at any of the numerous casinos any day, and you can bring the kids along too.

Sealife Scheveningen, The Hague, Paesi Bassi, 2586 JK
Leiden University

Leiden is the home of the oldest university in the Netherlands, and its halls are the proving ground for the nation's elites. It is much like Oxford in England (a city with which Leiden shares sister city status) or Harvard in the United States; a synonym for brains, entitlement, innovation, or some combination of the three. The University owns many buildings and so the locations of events and things to see here may vary. There are also several buildings which function as museums, offering pieces for display or providing space for those who display them.

Niels Bohrweg 2, Leiden, Paesi Bassi, 2333 CA
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