A travel journal
to Den Haag/The Hague by Marianne
Quote: Guide cls223 has seen everything there is in Amsterdam. When she was in the Netherlands again for a holiday, we decided to have a day in The Hague together and checked out some pretty unusual places.
The Hague and its seaside suburb Scheveningen are less often visited by foreign tourists than Amsterdam. Because of the many foreigners who live in The Hague the city has a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
The Hague has many museums. Panorama Mesdag is unique in its kind. It’s a circular painting all around you and gives the impression that you are inside the painting.
van Kleef & Zoon is an old distillery and produces its own jenever, which you can buy in their shop.
‘t Goude Hooft is a cafe restaurant right in the old centre. On sunny days it pleasant to sit outside, do some people watching while you enjoy typically Dutch dishes.
Cross the road and do some shopping in Haagse Bluf a shopping centre with a surprise.
M.C.Escher Museum cls223 had already been to this museum, which houses in one of the Royal palaces in The Hague. As far as I know it is the only palace in the world which does not stand in its own grounds. It's a terraced palace. I don't think many people can say that they share their roof and walls with a palace. Read all about it: cls223 and the M. C. Escher Museum in The Hague
The Hague is only 50 minutes by train from Amsterdam. There are trains almost every 20 minutes. It’s best to go to Den Haag Centraal as this is walking distance from the city centre.
Outside facing the street is a terraced area; on a sunny day it is quite difficult to find an empty table. It is a perfect place to do some people watching as ’t Goude Hooft is right in the centre of The Hague.
Inside there are tables mostly for four persons, placed not too closely together so that it doesn’t feel crammed. There is also a reading table with up-to-date newspapers and magazines, some in English.
An old mural shows how Amalia van Solms commisions the decoration of the ‘Oranjezaal’, one of the halls in Palace Huis ten Bosch, Queen Beatrix’s residence in The Hague. Amalia van Solm is one of her forbears.
I was here together with guide cls223, who assured me that her ‘appeltaart’ was the best she had ever had. I had ‘poffertjes’, a kind of tiny yeast pancakes served with butter and icing sugar.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 25, 2003
't Goude Hooft
The Hague, Netherlands
I can see bathers in funny, old-fashioned swimming costumes, beached fishing-boats, cavalry exercising, a woman in front of a painter’s easel, a sun umbrella next to her, women mending fishing-nets, an abandoned clog and an empty bottle half covered in white sand, and behind me Scheveningen village, the church, the lighthouse, people walking in the streets.
Momentarily I am deceived in believing that this is the real view. But what I see is a 120-metre circular canvas. This illusion of reality was created by Hendrik Mesdag in 1881 and it took him four months to complete. he was helped by his wife Sientje and four other painter of the Hague School. One of them was Breitner who was to became famous as people painter. Mesdag himself, a marine painter, took care of painting all the boats and the sea.
Panoramas like this one were popular attractions in those pre-cinema and pre-television days.
It was common practice in panoramas that the painter himself was depicted in his painting. Here we don’t see Mesdag but we do see Sientje. She is the lady behind the painter’s easel.
Panoramas were called paintings without borders. When you look at the panorama you don’t see the real world. This is done on purpose so that you cannot compare the things you see with reality.
Normally speaking when you look at a painting, your eyes can see what is around this painting; the real world. Because you cannot see ‘the real world’ the illusion of what you see becomes the real world. And that’s why this panorama is so ‘real’.
The entrance to Panorama Mesdag is through a dark corridor, at the end there is a winding staircase which takes you on to the viewing platform. From here you look down at the view. It takes some time to adjust your eyes to the bright light which heightens your feeling of disorientation.
The building has a glass roof, which cannot be seen when you are in the pavilion. This a perfect touch because the real sun throws real shadows across the beach, the sea, the dunes and the houses. The effect is stunning.
The pavilion is surrounded by real sand which merges with the painted sand, thus obscuring the lower frame of the painting. The upper frame of the painting is also hidden from view by the roof of the pavilion.
If you feel like it you can now go to Scheveningen to see what the view is these days. You can easily get to Scheveningen either by tram no 8 or bus no 22. When you leave Panorama Mesdag turn right and walk to the next cross roads. Both the tram and bus pass the Peace Palace, which is also worth seeing.
Den Haag, Netherlands 2518 AA
070 3644 544
Attraction | "van Kleef & Zoon"
On my left is a counter with liquor bottles and knicknacks of yesteryear. An old fashioned cash register takes pride of place. It is like an old fashioned typewriter. But instead of letters there are numbers on the keys. When pressed a little flap pops up and displays the amount to be paid.
On my left is the ‘drinks organ’. It is a collection of wooden casks lying on their sides. Each cask has a small tap. In the old days people used to come with a jug or other container to tap jenever. Jenever is like gin, it is distilled grain alcohol flavoured with juniper berries.
This ‘drinks organ’ is still in use the only difference is that these days bottles are filled from it. This ‘drinks organ’ dates from 1820 and the casks are made of 700-year-old oak wood, at least this is what I was told and why shouldn’t I believe it.
At the back of the shop there is an exhibition of authentic distillery equipment, old labels, old photos, old bottles. Jenever is often sold in square bottles. This has a reason. Sailors used to take jenever with them to while away the time. Round bottles were not very practical as they would roll over in heavy storms. Square bottles would remain in place.
Van Kleef & Zoon is closed on Sundays. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 11am–6pm.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 25, 2003
Van Kleef & Zoon
Lange Beestenmarkt 109
The Hague, Netherlands
If you have been wandering through The Hague some of the buildings may look very familiar to you. And you are not mistaken. They are copies of some existing The Hague buildings. There is a copy of the Pagehuis the original is at Lange Voorhout, a most impressive avenue lined with historic buildings, a walkway in the middle with old trees giving shade. There is an Art Deco facade, the original can be found in the Denneweg, a street famous for its antique shops.
The real facade at Denneweg
If you look closely at the buildings in this shopping centre you will see that the facades, perfect replicas of the originals, are put against the concrete fronts of the shops. The two fountains are not fakes -- they are real 18th-century ones and come from France.
The name of this shopping centre is very appropiately: Haagse Bluf.
People from The Hague are famous for keeping up appearances.
Haagse Bluf is also a traditional Dutch dessert: red currant whip.
This is the recipe:
5 egg whites, 130 grams of sugar, 400 ml red current juice, sponge cake.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the egg whites until stiff, fold in the sugar. Gradually add the red currant juice while beating the whites. Put a layer of sponge cake in a bowl and scoop the mixture on top.
Haagse Bluf, Shopping Centre
The Hague, Netherlands