A walk through the royal city of The Hague, Part 2

Ulrike Grafberger, donderdag 11 april 2013

The Lange Voorhout – an L-shaped square lined with linden trees, is for me a jewel among Holland’s squares. It is surrounded by magnificent stately buildings such as the legendary 5-star Hotel Des Indes, in which heads of State and the aristocracy spend the night. Anyone who feels like High Tea or a having a drink should make a short detour into the Hotel Des Indes. You’ll feel like a little king yourself on the thick Persian carpets, under the sparkling chandeliers and in the grandiose atmosphere.

Next to the Hotel Des Indes, at the front end of the square, stands the Escher Palace, which today houses the Escher Museum. The Escher Palace was used by the Royal Family until 1991: Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus used to work here until their Working Palace on Noordeinde was completed. Queen Emma used the Palace as a winter residence, Queens Wilhelmina and Juliana likewise used it as a working palace.

Even a Queen sometimes treats herself to a drink

Queen Wilhelmina will also have occasionally gone for evening drinks with her entourage to the Bodega de Posthoorn, which is diagonally opposite the Palace on the Lange Voorhout. This cosy café is still here today and you’ll meet politicians, professors, students, artists and all kinds of eccentric characters in an informal setting. It’s at its best in the summer when you can sit out under the dense foliage of the linden trees, a few musicians are playing jazz and the antiques market is in full swing on the Lange Voorhout. Ideal for taking a break during our royal walk.

Afterwards, we continue on to the end of the Lange Voorhout, where on the right is the rather unprepossessing Kloosterkerk, where the Royal Family regularly attends services and Bach concerts. Crossing the street, we see the Kneuterdijk Palace on the right, where King Willem II and his Russian wife Anna Paulowna lived.

Shopping like the Royals

We then go on through the little street, the Heulstraat, and come to the street by the name of Noordeinde (pedestrianised area), on which stands the Queen’s or King’s Working Palace of the same name. If the Royals are working, the royal flag flies above the Palace. At first glance the Palace appears quite small, but it’s deceptive: behind the palace are the palace gardens, which are open to the public, from which you can see the true size of the building. The Royal Stables and the Royal Family’s fleet of cars are also part of the Palace complex. And as has been said: this is the Working Palace. The Royal Family’s home is outside the centre in the Huis ten Bosch Palace.

The entire quarter that is named Hofkwartier after the royal court is equally royal. A lot of art and antiques, designer items and haute couture can be found in its lovely, little shops. In any case, you should take the time to stroll through the district. If you’re hungry, you can stock up on bread rolls and cakes in The Hague’s oldest bakery, ‘t Bakkertje. What’s more, ‘t Bakkertje is – like many other shops in the vicinity – purveyor to the royal household. And a royal bread roll simply tastes twice as good!

Addresses:

Escher in the Palace, 74 Lange Voorhout
Hotel Des Indes, 54-65 Lange Voorhout
Bodega de Posthoorn, 39a Lange Voorhout
Noordeinde Palace, 68 Noordeinde
‘t Bakkertje, 38 Oude Molstraat