In many senses, The Hague (pop. 450,000) is Amsterdam’s all-business brother; there are precious few coffeeshops amidst The Hague’s intimidating collection of historically significant buildings and monuments. William II moved the royal residence to The Hague in 1248, prompting the creation of Parliament buildings, museums, and sprawling parks. Today, countless diplomats fill designer stores, merging rich history with a bustling metropolis.

TRANSPORTATION AND PRACTICAL INFORMATION. Trains come from Amsterdam (50min. ‚8) and Rotterdam (25min. ‚3.50) to both of The Hague’s major stations, Centraal Station and Holland Spoor. Trams #1, 9, and 12 connect the two stations. The VW tourist office, Kon. Julianapl. 30, just outside the north entrance to Centraal Station and right next to the Hotel Sofitel, books rooms for a ‚5 fee and sells detailed city maps (‚2). Hotel booking by computer is available 24hr. ( 090 03 40 35 05; Open June-Sept. M and Sa 10am-5pm, Tu-F 9am-5:30pm, Su llam-5pm; Oct.-May M and Sa 10am-5pm, Tu-F 9am-5:30pm.) Most foreign embassies are in The Hague: Australia, Camegielaan 4, 2517 KH f 310 82 00; open M-F 8:45am-4:30pm); Canada, Sophialaan 7, 2514 JP ( 311 16 00; open M-F 9am-lpm and 2-5:30pm); Ireland, 9 Dr. Kuyperstr. 2514 BA f 363 09 93; call for hours); New Zealand, Camegielaan 10, 2517 KH (346 93 24; open M-F 9am-12:30pm and l:30-5:30pm); South Africa, Wassenaarseweg 40, 2596 CJ (392 45 01; open daily 9am-noon); UK, Lange Voorhout 10, 2514 ED (427 04 27; call for hours); US, Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ ( 310 92 09; open M-F 8am-4:30pm).

ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD. The StayOkay City Hostel Den Haag 0, Scheepmakerstr. 27, is near Holland Spoor; turn right from the station, follow the tram tracks, turn right at the big intersection, and Scheepmakerstr. is 3min. down on your right. From Centraal Station, take tram #1 (dir.: Delft), 9 (dir.: Vrederust), or 12 (dir.: Duindrop) to Rijswijkseplein (2 strips); cross to the left in front of the tram, cross the intersection, and Scheepmakerstr. is straight ahead. StayOkay is a huge modem hostel that features private baths and a helpful staff. (315 78 88; www.njhc.orgdenhaag. In-house restaurantbar. Breakfast included. Dorms ‚23;

Budget takeaway places line Lage Poten and Korte Poten near the Binnenhof. GCafe de Oude Mol @, Oude Molstr. 61, a few blocks from Grote Halstr. serves up delicious tapas, all from ‚3-5. ( 345 16 23. Open M-W 5pm-lam, Th-Sa 5pm-2am, Su 5pm-lam.)

SIGHTS AND ENTERTAINMENT. The Hague has served as the seat of Dutch government for 800 years; recently, it has also become headquarters for the international criminal justice system. Andrew Carnegie donated the Peace Palace (Het Vredespaleis) at Camegiepl. the opulent home of the International Court of Justice, ( Take tram #7 or 8 north from the Binnenhof. Tours M-F 10,11am, 2, and 3pm. Book through the tourist office. ‚3.50, under-13 ‚2.30.) For snippets of Dutch politics, visit the Binnenhof, The Hague’s Parliament complex. Near the entrance of the Binnenhof, the 17th-century Mauritshuis, Korte Vij-verberg 8, features an impressive collection of Dutch paintings, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, ( Open Su llam-5pm, Tu-Sa 10am-5pm. ‚7. Under-18 free.) Tours leave from Binnenhof 8a and visit the 13th-century Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights) as well as the chambers of the States General. (Open M-Sa 10am-4pm, last tour leaves at 3:45pm. Tour ‚5. Entrance to courtyard free.) The impressive modem art collection at the Gemeentemuseum, Stadhouders-laan 41, displays Piet Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie. Take tram #10 from Holland Spoor or bus #4 from Centraal Station. (Open Su llam-5pm, Tu-Sa 11am-5pm. ‚7.50.) For vibrant nightlife, prowl the Strandweg in nearby Scheveningen.


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