With reading week this week for Cameron and I, which means no classes, we thought we would take a short rip somewhere we’ve never been before. I should probably add that telling people we were going to The Hague was met with a slight look of confusion, and usually followed by ‘why?”.
Of course when we were brainstorming some more obvious choices came up first, but we decided to go to The Hague because is had things we are both interested in, as well as a pretty interesting history. The main draws for us were Mauritshuis, and the Peace Palace (home of the International Courts of Justice). With these two spots as the ‘anchors’ we planned the rest of our trip, adding a walk along the seaside, some time for wandering and exploring the city, and of course a few places for dinner in between.
We booked a place through airbnb, which was absolutely lovely, but what really made it wonderful was our host. She gave us some fantastic recommendations (including one of the best dinners I’ve ever had), and made us feel like we were visiting a family friend– making a homemade vegan granola, and some very delicious carrot/apple/cranberry muffins. It also happened to be in a great location to have as we explored the city.
After our first night there I knew the rest of the trip was going to be good– stumbling upon a really good Indonesian restaurant for dinner (the owner happened to have family in the states quite close to where I’m from!) we wandered a few doors down into a cosy little bar that we arrived in just in time to hear a group of jazz musicians, and ended up staying twice as long as we’d planned!
For me, though, the highlight of the trip was walking through the Mauristhuis, which has a fantastic collection of Old Masters, and also had a fun temporary exhibition on featuring pieces from their storage. It was busy, but fortunately there was plenty of space to wander and really look at the pieces. We had to wait for a while before seeing Vermeer’s famous View of Delft, but it was so worth it. Electronic reproduction and high quality scans of paintings available online are fantastic, but seeing a work in person is just a totally different experience, and always reminds me why I fell in love with Art History to begin with.
The next day we planned around our visit to the Peace Palace. We’d originally hoped to sit in on a hearing, which are open to the public with pre-registration and your passport, but it was moved forward a few days. Instead we opted for the extensive audio/visual tour, which I found really interesting, and definitely worth a visit. Outside of the visitor’s centre is a tree covered in wishes for peace tied to it’s branches like paper leaves, which was such a beautiful symbol of global connection, and such an illustration of the power of hope.
On our last night we had dinner at a restaurant that came highly recommended by our host, called Eten bin Wergelds (Eat the World in English), that she was nice enough to call ahead for us and make a reservation. When we arrived we were lucky to be the only ones in the restaurant, which was quite fun. We opted for the tasting menu (I was able to get a vegan version), which was absolutely fantastic. The name definitely describes the range of influences–my appetiser consisted of a fanatic curried spinach with perfectly crispy wontons and ponzu, and Cameron’s was a seared fish with amaranth and smoked carrot oil. It was such a fun way to spend our last night, and should definitely be on your itinerary if you’re in the area.
While these are definitely the highlights, I’ll add a few more recommendations in the ‘Get Away’ tab in case you find yourself wanting to plan a trip.