The Hague – Netherlands
Back on the road we reached The Hague only about 30 mins from Delft, nothing is very far apart in the Netherlands. Above a view of the Dutch Parliament, a very historical and impressive complex on the edge of the little lake known as Hafvijver or ‘Court Pond”.
Once through the outside gates into the inner court or Binnenhof, apart from a few wooden bench type seats and a solitary gilded neo-Gothic fountain the Binnenhof is a huge empty courtyard surrounded by monumental buildings from eight centuries of governing the region. Since 1446 the inner court is the meeting place of the Dutch Parliament and centre of Dutch politics. The Binnenhof becomes a spectacle of pomp and ceremony with the opening of the Dutch Parliament in September every year. If you are not there on the day, don’t be sad, you can view this spectacle at Modurodam.
Ridderzall – Hall of Knights
The Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) built by William II as a banqueting hall is the main building at Binnenhof. The Ridderzaal, used for the state opening of Parliament on the third Tuesday in September when the Dutch monarch drives to Parliament in a Golden Carriage and delivers the speech from the throne. A very auspicious occasion. You can take a guided tour of Ridderzaal and either the First or Second chamber of Parliament. It is best if you book this ahead. Unfortunately we didn’t do this so were unable to take a tour, which would have been very interesting.
Next door to The Hague is Mauritshuis House named after its owner Captain Maurits of Nassau who died in 1679, the house passing to the State following his death. It has housed the Royal Painting Collection since 1882 and has works by the Old Masters such as the famous “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painted by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.
Whilst in The Hague a must see is the Peace Palace. It is the International Court of Justice, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. A very impressive palace built in Neo-Renaissance, designed by French architect Louis M.Coronnier.
The Peace Palace has tours usually for groups of twenty and only a few times a year, so you need to look into this for yourself and book ahead. However, the Visitor’s Center on the palace grounds is open every day except Mondays. At the Visitor’s Centre you can learn all about the history of the Peace Palace and view a permanent exhibition and short film about the Palace.
A quick look at Het Plein or The Square in The Hague with a statue of William the Silent in the foreground, and then across to the modern section of the city before we head off to Madurodam Miniature City.
Madurodam Miniature City
Apart from being picturesque in every detail, Madurodam is fascinating, everything reproduced 25 times smaller than reality but exactly replicated in every way down to the shrubs, trees and grass. The bird’s-eye view of all the ancient and modern building, palaces and churches etc is such an interesting way to see the Netherland and gives a better appreciation when you can see the complete structure from above and all sides. What you hadn’t time to view in the Netherlands you will be able to see and appreciate at Madurodam. A wonderful place to visit, not just for children but adults too, educational and interactive. It has two restaurants for snacks and meals with a view over the complex.
At Madurodam I found the replica of the Amsterdamse Poort building which houses the head office of the ING Group and ING Bank in Amsterdam quite intriguing. A fascinating architectural design, world-famous in fact for its unusual anthroposophic style. The model replica of the Amsterdamse Poort took four years to build. Any other travelers visited this building in Amsterdam, love to know what you think of the real thing?
Remember the story of the little boy who saves his country by putting his finger in a leaking dike. How many adults remember this story from school days years ago?
Reflecting on another great day as we head back to Heiloo for wine and succour. Covered a lot of ground today, both exciting and absorbing historically and culturally.
- Bad Noord the beach at egmond Holland
- Heiloo Tulip Fields Holland Netherlands
- Keukenhof Flower Garden Lisse Holland
- Zaanse Schans – Color Windmill|Clog Factory Holland
- Canals – Amsterdam Canal Cruise | Holland Netherland
- Ceramics at Delft|Holland Netherlands
- About Delft – Delft Netherlands