The jolliest time of the year is coming! I’ve been finalizing my Christmas market plans for this year, so I felt it was time to tell you about one of my favorite Christmas markets in the Netherlands: the Royal Christmas Fair in the Hague. I’ll include tips for attending this annual Christmas market in the Hague as well as practical information about attending.
I have been to quite a few Christmas markets, however I was pleasantly surprised by how romantic the Christmas market in the Hague was. There’s something about Lange Voorhout, the Hague’s most stunning street, lit up with glittering lights under a dense layer of trees once the weather gets cold…
When is the Royal Christmas Market in the Hague?
I intend to do my best to keep this post updated, however it’s scheduled for the second and third weekend of December as of 2018. (December 14th-15th to December 22nd-23rd.) This was the same as last year.
The market is open from noon to nine at night, however you can avoid the bulk of the crowds by going around dinner time, when it’s most romantic and most of the day trippers have gone home.
We spent about four hours browsing the market, which has over one hundred stalls. We certainly did not see everything, so if you’re keen on staying overnight in the Hague, come back on the following Sunday to see more of the market.
Food and drink available at the Royal Christmas market
A classic winter beverage in the Netherlands is gluhwein. This mulled wine brewed with cinnamon and orange is a favorite of everyone once it gets chilly outside. There’s something about it that instantly warms you up. You’ll be able to purchase a cup for a few euros at the market.
If you don’t drink alcohol, you’ll also find tea, coffee, and hot chocolate available at various stalls. Some of the stalls are covered with fires going, so you can warm up while chatting with people, rather than walking around the market.
I recommend saving your appetite for the Christmas market. In addition to the classic poffertjes, you’ll find international food from all over the world (as you typically do in the Hague). I ended up enjoying German worst for my dinner and Jacob had a Spanish sandwich. The location close to the Hague’s center makes it easy to stop at one of many nearby restaurants if you prefer to have a meal indoors.
What to bring with you to the Royal Christmas Market
We ended up getting rained on, a typical event during December in the Netherlands. I’d recommend bringing an umbrella with you as you never know when it will rain (even if you check Buienradar).
One of my biggest mistakes from last year’s Christmas market was not bringing a large reusable bag with me. We ended up collecting our various gifts by simplifying holding them and I’d recommend bringing a large bag to hold your gifts without damaging them.
Most importantly, I recommend dressing warmly. The Netherlands in December isn’t terribly cold, however the wind chill off the see is what really gets you. A good windproof jacket, a warm hat, a scarf, and a pair of gloves should be enough to keep you warm. (I usually default to boots during this time of year.)
Shopping the Christmas Market
There are over one hundred stalls at the Royal Christmas Market, so I recommend thinking through what kind of gifts you’re seeking. We found a lot of fantastic homemade gifts for our friends and family, including an aviator style face mask, wood carvings, and smaller decorations for the house.
For ourselves, we ended up sampling various meads imported from Germany at one of the stalls. Jacob, a lover of mead, ended up bringing home a few bottles for our miniature Christmas celebration as we skyped with family.
Getting to the Royal Christmas Market
I recommend coming on bike if you’re comfortable biking. (You can rent an OVFiets at the station if you’re visiting from elsewhere in the Netherlands and you have a subscription.)
If you prefer not to bike, it’s about a 15 minute walk from Den Haag Centraal (the main train station) to the Christmas market. You can also park your car underneath the museums in the nearby parking garage.