Friday night. We had been working all week and had a party to attend on Saturday night. But that meant we still had 24 hours to city trip! We decided to drive to The Hague to sleep in a caravan, eat excellent burgers and see the temporary Rothko exhibition.
8 PM: Hungry for Friday night soul food.
After working all week, we were craving hamburgers. Luckily, we found this soul food at Burgerz, a 21st century version of an american diner. The menu was filled with funky sounding burgers such as Swee’Pea, Californication and the Dutch Weed Burger which made it hard to choose. The fact that they had lots of vegetarian options didn’t make it any easier. We sat at the bar by the open kitchen, watching the chef toss fries, and finally set our minds to the vegetarian Mean Chili Bean with black beans and guacamole and the Crispy Jamaican beef burger with ginger mango salsa. It just took just one bite to put Burgerz in my top 5 of favorite burger restaurants. The juicy burgers with exotic flavored sauces were so fresh and tasty, they were the perfect friday night feast meal.
Movies & Drinks
10PM: Brainless entertainment
Is there a better way to spend a friday night than with brainless entertainment? I think not. With two Pathé movie theatres, a smaller art house cinema and plenty of cosy bars at De Grote Markt there is plenty of choice.
1AM: Sleeping in a caravan
When we were looking for a place to sleep in The Hague, we bumped into Kingkool Hostel. And when we saw their Urban Camping Suite with caravan, we immediately had set our mind to it. Because you guys, imagine sleeping in a caravan, in a hostel, in the middle of a city! It’s the coolest place we stayed at in 2014.
Tip: Ask for the hostels’ personally pimped city map.
10AM : Breakfast and Balkan beats
There was no breakfast provided at the hostel but they had a discount deal with Zeta, a cosy bar at De Grote markt which serves healthy breakfast with funky music in the morning and Thai food with Balkan beats in the evening. Their muesli with fresh fruit, yoghurt and cinnamon + eggs, fruit juice and cappuccino instantly got us into a great mood for city tripping.
11AM: A sacred Modern Art experience
We especially came to The Hague for the temporary Rothko exhibition (runs until March 1st 2015) and I don’t regret it. Because when I walked into the exhibition room, I wasn’t just drawn to but absorbed by the paintings. It was incredible to feel how abstract art and the use of colors could extract my emotions. One of the Rothko’s intention to interact with his public through his paintings, though he chose no side in what you should feel: ‘If people want sacred experiences they will find them here. If they want profane experiences, they’ll find those too. I take no sides.’
The work also blends well with the work of Piet Mondriaan, of which Het Gemeentemuseum has the biggest collection of paintings in the world. In one room, you can see how both artists evolved from figurative to abstract art by simply turning clock or anti-clockwise. Don’t forget to see ‘Evolution’ in which blue creatures try to create a sacred experience and ‘Victory Boogie Woogie’ in which the same is done with simple blue, red and yellow color blocks.
If you have some time left, go see the temporary exhibition ‘Romantic Fashions’. The 19th century fashion expo features costumes from the era of Pride and Prejudice and Downtown Abbey.
Walking around The Hague
1PM : From bookshops to shopping malls
You might classify The Hague as a shopping city but it actually offers a nice combination of lively shopping streets, typical dutch houses, parks and small back streets with boutiques and hipster bars. You can find the big shopping malls at Spuistraat and Haagse Bluf. If you prefer little back streets and boutiques go to the Prinsestraat and Noordeinde where you might want to go to Lola Coffee and Bikes for … coffee and bikes. It doesn’t get more hipster dutch.
As an avid bookshop and travel fan, I also loved the Stanley Livingstone travel bookshop. They have every travel book you can think of and a lot of travel gadget gifts. If all this still isn’t what you are looking for, check out the 9 different themed shopping routes at Binnenstaddenhaag.com.
And if shopping isn’t your thing, stroll around de Paleistuin, the palace garden and het Binnenhof, the political heart of The Netherlands.
2.30 PM: Yep, more culture!
We just couldn’t leave the city without seeing The Girl with the Pearl Earring and so we went to Het Mauritshuis. Het Mauritshuis, also called the Royal Picture Gallery is a very different museum from Het Gemeentemuseum. It houses in between 1400 to 1800 paintings, the majority of them from the Dutch Golden Age. With it’s big wooden staircase, dark red colored walls and big chandeliers, the museum had a unique atmosphere. Must sees are:
- The Anatomy Lesson by Dr. Nicolas Tulp by Rembrandt has a beautiful chiaroscuro effect.
- The Young Bull by Potter. This is naturalism at it’s best. Try to spot the flies on the bull’s back and admire the amount of details.
- The Girl with the pearl earring. The simple Dutch maid might be less popular than the Mona Lisa but she is more intriguing.
5.30 PM: Time to kickstart this evening with cocktails!
Vavavoom! That’s the least you can say about the female bartenders at this tiki cocktail bar. With their tattoos and scarfs in their hair, they look as if they have ran from a rockabilly movie. The Elvis music that was playing, only contributed to this feeling. But more important, they shake damn good cocktails at Vavoom. The cocktail I ordered, a Jerry’s Mule with rum and ginger beer, blew me right off my socks.
6.30 PM: An Italian dinner.
When I asked the Stanley Livingstone bookstore keeper about her favorite restaurant in town, she immediately said we should try one of the fresh pasta dishes at Giuliano’s. Once again, a local tip proved to be one of the best travel tips we got. We arrived at a little Italian restaurant which served super-fresh pasta dishes and we even got to scrape our cheese of a big chunk. 7.30 PM driving home for a party