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As a proud resident of the Hague, I can tell that there are countless things to do in the Hague for free. I’ve mixed this list of budget
If you’re visiting the Hague on a budget, don’t worry as you’ll find a few hostels, including King Kool. For those who want their own room, Zeta Beds and the Student
You can get around the Hague (as well as the surrounding towns [including Delft] on a budget by getting an HTM pass for one day. There’s an app for your phone and you can also buy a ticket using the machine on the bus (using cash/coins). Of course, you can walk although some of these places are further apart.
Head to the beach
Not everyone realizes that the Hague has a beach. I guess that we should be clear that the beach is in Scheveningen, which was historically a separate village. Today, Scheveningen is part of the Hague.
It’s the perfect place for fun activities, including bungee jumping, strolling along the boardwalk, a nice walk along the dunes, and just relaxing on the beach. I always love coming here with a beer to watch the sunset with friends! (BYOB from the nearby Albert Heijn!)
Browse the Haagse Markt
The Hague market is always such fun to visit. This market, which is over 80 years old, is a multicultural market in an off the beaten path of the Hague. It’s open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the day.
You’ll find everything here from steals on clothing to Surinamese lunch to fruits. The
Peek inside RK Parochie Maria Sterre der Zee, H. Jacobus de Meerdere
St. Jacobus de Meerdere Catholic church is a neo-Gothic church from the 1800s located in the center of the Hague that is still in use. This church was designed by a well-known Dutch architecture, PJH Cuypers. It’s a Rijksmonument (protected building) that is generally open in the afternoons (except Fridays and Sundays) between 1:30 and
The church is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the Hague and it has the highest church tower in the Hague. As a visitor, you can quietly admire the church although the church tower is generally closed to the public. Address: Parkstraat 65.
Meet the monks
Not everyone knows that there is an active monastery in the Hague! These monks produce their own beer to support their monastery and you can stop by the monastery store, which is hidden within the monastery itself, to browse their beers, soaps (from other convents and monasteries in Europe), and handmade cups. It’s always a delight to come in here although there’s not always a monk present.
Browse the weekly antique market
Once a week, you can visit the weekly antique market, which changes location depending on the season. You have no idea what you’ll find here, but it’s always a great place to look for
Whether you’re looking for a gift or just browsing for the sake of browsing, it’s worth dropping by here day-time on Thursdays and Sundays in summer (Korte Voorhout). Otherwise, it’s held on Thursdays in Plein.
Sit admiring the Binnenhof while eavesdropping on tours 😉
The Binnenhof is the Dutch Parliament. Although visiting the interior costs money (except on Open Monument Day), you can stroll or bike through the interior prior to taking a seat by the gorgeous fountain, the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day.
Once inside, you can gain an appreciation for Dutch history by viewing the various sections of the building built at various points in Dutch history. I often like to linger close to the tour groups while taking photos to get a bit of free history as various groups go by!
Try to spot Theo Jansen at work
Theo Jansen is one of the most famous artists in the Netherlands. He is famous for his work Strandbeesten, which involves creating autonomous incredibly engineered ‘creatures’ or sculptures that are propelled by the wind to move. He’s actually from the Hague and if you’re luckily enough (in summer) to head out towards Westduinpark in Duindorp, you might see him at work along the beach on a nice day.
Enter a hofje
A hofje is a private courtyard within a historic building. Some are still used for housing for those intended as part of the original hofje goals (e.g. to help elderly women) while others are now private housing.
You can click to see my post about
Take a self-guided biking tour of the Hague!
One of the best ways to see the Hague is by bike. This bike route takes you past the most famous buildings in the Hague. Although most people are terrified of biking in the Netherlands, the Hague is a good place to try out city biking as the streets tend to be a bit wider and less crazy than those in Amsterdam!
Try to spot the king at Noordeinde Palace and explore the secret alleyway
Noordeinde is one of the prettiest parts of the Hague. This section of the Hague is home to numerous cute boutique shops, cozy cafes, and if you wander underneath the picturesque door on Molenstraat, you’ll find yourself in a narrow alley with a view of Noordeinde Palace.
You’ll see a door on your left after walking all the way down the alley towards the palace. If you press the button, you’ll end up in a skinny alleyway that leads you towards the park in front of Noordeinde, the perfect place for a picnic.
Window shop along Noordeinde
If you’re feeling posh (on a budget), stroll down Noordeinde past the cozy boutiques of the Hague. There are numerous antique stores, bookshops, and clothing stores that you can step into. Be sure to stop in front of Noordeinde Palace on your way!
Admire the Peace Palace
The Peace Palace is one of the most iconic buildings of the Hague. The visitor center is 100% free to the public, so even if you can’t organize a visit inside of the Peace Palace, you can still learn about the history and admire it from the exterior. I love coming here around Sunset when the rays hit the tower so perfectly!
Discover the insanity of Natural Choice Natuur Historische Preparaten*
Hidden on Molenstraat, you’ll find a small unassuming shop with untold horrors. I’m being dramatic, but this shop is one of the strangest places in the Hague. It’s a taxidermy shop with historic taxidermies and antiques from around the world. I don’t support hunting,
Sit for a trial at the ICC
The International Criminal Court headquarters is in the Hague. If you’ve always been fascinated by legal dramas or international politics, I recommend planning to stop by the International Criminal Court. It’s free to visit and if you plan accordingly, you can sit in the audience of one of the hearings. Click for more information about attending a hearing at the ICC.
Go for a picnic in one of the lovely parks in the Hague
One of the preferred free things to do in the Hague on a nice day is to have a lovely picnic in one of the parks. My favorite has to be the Westbroekpark, which has a picturesque area next to the lake where you can sit out with your friends (or significant other) watching the boats go by on a nice day while enjoying a picnic. It’s lazy and wonderful. Stake out a good position on a nice day in summer!
Taste some jenever at Van Kleef
Van Kleef is the only remaining jenever distillery in the Hague. It was once the preferred jenever maker of Van Gogh who briefly lived in the Hague. If you’re down for some day drinking on a budget, you should definitely stop by Van Kleef for a shot (or two).
Today, you can visit this jenever maker during the day and get a free sample. Be sure to admire the drink organ. The building itself is a museum. I recommend the Kruìde Baggâh.)
Explore Scheveningen old village
For a taste of something different, I recommend heading down to Scheveningen old village. Keizerstraat is the heart of Scheveningen, which used to be its own separate town with its own dialect. Today, as you walk down Scheveningen, you can get a taste of the quiet and charm of this old village, which is full of cozy cafes and little shops. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot some of the older women who still dress in traditional clothing.
Get lost in Clingendael
Clingendael is the most beautiful park in the Hague without question. Even if you miss seeing the beautiful (and free!) Japanese garden that is open only twice a year, you can still enjoy the lush former estate’s mansion and countless acres of forest on a relaxing stroll.
Take a free walking tour of the Hague
For something free and fun, consider taking a free walking tour of the Hague. There are free walking tours on the weekends as well as every day in the mornings covering the major sites in the city. If you wish to explore the city without a tour guide, you can also follow my self-guided walking tour of the Hague.