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Earlier this week we escaped the city for…another city. But it had some new sights to see and involved a relaxing train trip!

Netherlands is a bit of a funny country in that Amsterdam, it’s biggest city, is the capital, but The Hague is home to the parliament, government, Supreme Court, and Queen (Beatrix). It’s called Den Haag in Dutch, which is the shortened form of the monstrous ‘s-Gravenhage. But as everyone speaks English, we’ll just say The Hague.

The city is pretty formal, with so many important meetings going on. Wide boulevards, stately buildings, modern architecture and international restaurants all make it a pretty cosmopolitan place.

We visited on a dreary day, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying a few museums, a delicious lunch, and some good wandering around. We found the Binnenhof, the seat of the Dutch Parliament. The Mauritshuis, where Girl With A Pearl Earring makes her home. The Nordeinde, where the Queen lives and works. And street after street of foreign embassies and ethnic grocery stores. One one street alone we passed a Polish store, a Russian one, and Australian one, a Greek one, and a British/American one filled with digestives and barbeque sauce. I bought Twizzlers, because when you can’t have something you get serious cravings for it.

View of the Mauritshuis

Inside the Binnenhof, the Dutch Parliament

The Hague is home to over 150 international organizations, most famously the International Court of Justice housed in the Peace Palace. I find it pretty inspiring to have a whole building and organization dedicated to international peace. Sometimes wars and conflicts get ‘celebrated’ so much in the media that we don’t have time to focus on the other side of it.

The gated Peace Palace, home of the International Court of Justice

Eternal Peace Flame

Outside the palace lies an Eternal Peace Flame, dedicated in 1999. Around the ring are stones taken from every country in the world.

We spent the entire day walking around so by the end we were ready for that train ride back home. An easy trip, a fun day, and a new city explored! Success!