In 2014, President Obama came to the Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague. While in the Netherlands President Obama’s agenda included a quick tour of the Rijksmuseum and meeting with the Prime Minister while in Amsterdam, and dinner with King Willem-Alexander at the Royal Palace in The Hague. President Obama was only scheduled to be in the Netherlands for a couple of days, but on the off chance he had an opportunity to see some of what The Hague has to offer, I offered my suggestions for President Obama – and you – for things to do or see while in The Hague.
President Obama can start his tour with a visit to the Binnenhof (“Inner Court”) home to Dutch politics since 1446. Other buildings on the grounds include the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall), where the queen annually addresses the Parliament, and the Torentje (Little Tower), the office of the Prime Minister. Be sure to take a stroll around the perimeter of the courtyard, where you will find open spaces for the public to enjoy and the lake, the Hofvijver.
Overlooking the Hofvijver is The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis
. This intimate museum located in the 17th-century palace of a Dutch count is currently under renovation, but I’m sure POTUS could have a peek inside. The Mauritshuis, set to reopen in the summer, is home to a grand collection of paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists, such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Paul Rubens, Frans Hals and Pieter Brueghel, and includes the famous works Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and Laughing Boy. Many of these paintings are on exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, another one of the city’s wonderful museums (and right next door to where the NSS is taking place).
Hendrik Willem Mesdag is another Dutch artist whose work can be found in The Hague. His Panorama Mesdag is 14 meters high and 120-meters in circumference. Viewing this panorama from an observation gallery in the center of the room, you feel as if you are on a sand dune overlooking the view at the beach resort Scheveningen
. This cylindrical painting is the biggest painting in Holland and the oldest 19th-century panorama in the world in its original site, a building built specifically to house it.
President Obama’s tour of The Hague would not be complete without a visit to the Peace Palace. One of the most photographed landmarks in The Hague, the Peace Palace is often referred to as the seat of international law because it was built as a symbolic home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was created by the first Hague Peace Conference as an institution for international dispute resolution. The Peace Palace also houses the International Court of Justice and an extensive law library.
If time were not an issue, I would also recommend a few places outside of The Hague for President Obama to visit, including the Keukenhof
, one of the world’s top flower gardens, Haarlem and the Black Heritage Amsterdam Tour
, a canal tour that reveals the country’s hidden history of the African diaspora.
Have you ever been to The Hague?