The Hague

The Netherlands

The Hague, City of Peace and Justice

The Hague is a cosmopolitan city in the Netherlands with a large international community: some 15,000 people from all over the globe work for over 130 international Organisations. The city hosts a vast range of cultural events, and has a rich history, many museums and a bustling café culture.

The Hague is a city without walls - open to the world. You’ll discover this. Find your way around the city, along the coast and to the cosy bars. The city has a lot to offer you and the reverse is also true. So: enjoy your Summer School here at Leiden University in The Hague!

Welcome to The Hague 

The Hague is the international city of peace and justice, and home to leading institutions such as the International Criminal Court, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations’ top legal instrument, the International Court of Justice. 

The Hague is the seat of Dutch government, the Peace Palace, the International Criminal Court and Europol. The Hague has a wealth of public gardens and parks, and also home to the royal family and multinationals like Shell and Siemens.

The Gemeentemuseum’s Mondriaan Collection, the work of Johannes Vermeer in the Mauritshuis and the Nederlands Dans Theater – these too are known around the world.

Excellent rail and air links

Leiden and The Hague are in the centre of the ‘Randstad’, the economic and metropolitan heart of the Netherlands. The public transport network is highly efficient. Leiden and The Hague can be reached from Amsterdam Airport within 15/30 minutes. From Leiden and the Hague cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht can be reached with a short train ride of approximately 40 minutes. And, given the Netherlands’ excellent rail and air links, you can explore the European continent, with cities such as Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels just a few hours away.

Student City

The city is lucky to have nearly 5,000 international students studying at these institutions each year. Of course, there’s a lot more to being a student than just studying. International students come here to see more of the world and meet new people. And there are plenty of opportunities to do that in The Hague!

Of course, your study programme is important, but The Hague has a lot more to offer. The city is packed full of culture, sport and nature. There are innumerable museums, theatres and festivals; you can practise (almost) any sport you can think of in The Hague; or you can go for a convivial drink in one of the cafés or relax on one of the many terraces.


The Hague has a rich history, dating back to the 13th century when the counts of Holland took up residence in the Binnenhof castle. The first settlements, recorded in 1370, developed around the castle. This area became known as Count’s Domain, or ‘s-Gravenhage’ - the city’s official name.

The 20th century saw The Hague’s coming of age as an international city of peace and justice. In 1899 hundreds of delegates from 26 countries gathered for three months at Huis ten Bosch for the First Peace Conference. An effort to set standards for conflict resolution between nations, it gave birth to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and was followed by an even larger Second Peace Conference in The Hague in 1907.

The UN Security Council established the Yugoslavia Tribunal in 1993 to try individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia. The International Criminal Court was established in The Hague in 2002. The Hague became a key diplomatic and business centre with the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal tribunal for Former Yugoslavia and the European intelligence organisation, Europol, at its heart. There are around 80 embassies and consulates, international organisations and companies based here.

With over 100 ethnic groups living side by side, The Hague has embraced its heritage and strives to be deserving of the title ‘International City of Peace and Justice’.

Discover The Hague by foot, by tram or by bike

Discover The Hague by foot or by bike. Walking around The Hague, the city's glorious history seems to come to life.

The Hague’s historic centre is well preserved with more than 740 sculptures and 1,300 protected municipality monuments. It is the capital of the Zuid-Holland province, residence of our former Queen Beatrix and the royal family, and the seat of government.

Among many attractions which The Hague has to offer, few highlights include:

  • The Binnenhof: the centre of today’s Parliament and politics in the Netherlands with the oldest part of the medieval earl’s castle, the Knights’ Hall (Ridderzaal) and the ‘Rolgebouw’ behind it, dating back to 13th century.
  • Huis ten Bosch Palace: the residential palace of our former Queen Beatrix since 1981.
  • Lange Voorhout Palace: Banker Archibald Hope loaned Lange Voorhout Palace, built by architect Pieter de Swart, to Emperor Napoleon, when he spent a week in The Hague in 1811.
  • Mauritshuis: one of the first and most beautiful examples of the Dutch classicist baroque, characterised by pilasters which run the full length of the facade and by frontons with various carvings.
  • Noordeinde Palace: has always been the residence of the reigning Stadtholder or monarch. The first inhabitant was Louise de Coligny, the last wife of William the Silent.

Cycling is the ideal mode of transport for discovering The Hague, Leiden and the region. The Hague has a 60km bike route connecting nearly all of the city’s parks and country estates. If the distances are too long for you, there's plenty of trams and buses that can take you to your destination. You can take your bicycle on most types of public transport.

City by the sea

And The Hague has something no other Dutch city has: a fabulous beach! Only 15 minutes by bike or tram, and there you are with your feet in the sand.

Dutch countryside

Throughout the year you can view the typical Dutch landscape of grass fields with Dutch black and white cows around The Hague. Go to the beach, the dunes, the boulevard and harbour of The Hague, in Scheveningen.

Culture and arts

The Hague has some 30 top-quality museums and can rightly be seen as a city full of art and culture. Some enjoy a worldwide reputation while others are less well known, which only adds to their charm.

The Mauritshuis has an extensive collection of Dutch masterpieces from the 17th century, including the gem Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. The Gemeentemuseum has a permanent collection with a number of paintings by Piet Mondrian and the only 19th-century panorama in the Netherlands can be admired in Panorama Mesdag.

The museum card (Museumkaart) provides free and reduced admission to more than 400 museums in the Netherlands. Membership costs €19,95 per year for people under 18 years old and €39,95 per year for people over 19 years (prices include a one-off handling fee of €4,95).

The Hague boasts a number of nationally renowned companies as well as a lively international theatre scene. A few nationally renowned companies are based in The Hague like the Nationale Toneel, which performs in the beautifully classical Koninklijke Schouwburg (Royal Theatre), Toneelgroep De Appel, with its theatre – a former coach house for The Hague’s horsedrawn trams – in Scheveningen. They present internationally known pieces by playwrights like Chekhov, Shakespeare, Ibsen and others.


Classic, modern or arthouse. No matter your preference, The Hague has the perfect cinema for you. There are a number of cinemas in The Hague you can choose from to view a movie of your choice.


With its role as university town, home to most of the country’s politicians and as tourist hub, it is no surprise that The Hague’s restaurants range from the rudimentary to the refined. However, in keeping with the city’s restrained nature, even the places at the cheap end of the scale aren’t as brash as you might find elsewhere. The tastes of The Hague, which consisting of a myriad of cultures and exciting flavor combinations, can be experienced at many restaurants around town.


The Hague boasts an active nightlife scene with many bars, cafes and clubs. The Grote Markt is the place to be when the sun goes down. This square comes alive in the evening when its bars and restaurants fill the square with tables and chairs. Buitenhof and Plein squares are also popular hotspots for nightlife. From bars to Irish pubs and nightclubs. A large number of beach clubs in Scheveningen function as bars and nightclubs as well.

Most of The Hague’s bars and pubs are located in Grote Markt, which can be found right in the heart of the city. With the bars in the square being in such close proximity, bar hopping is a popular activity. 

The Hague is a big city that bursts with energy when the sun sets. Travelers will find quiet cafes, lively pubs and energetic clubs in Grote Markt, Plein and Buitenhof squares. No matter what type of nightlife is preferred, The Hague is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.


The Hague has a lot to offer in terms of high quality shopping:  large chains to smaller, independent stores, from art and design to fashion, shoes and souvenirs. The Hague has it all. In The Hague city centre most shops open most weekdays from 9.30 till 18.00 hrs (on Thursdays most shops stay open until 21.00 hrs) and Saturdays from 9.00 till 17.00 hrs.


Go to top of page

Discover the world at Leiden University