Cycling The Hague’s International Areas and Scheveningen
For those who may have done my walking tour (here is the link to my walking tour of The Hague), this is another tour of The Hague, but this time on a bike. The Hague is a great city for biking and, compared to Amsterdam, the streets are a lot quieter. The city has nice bike paths and many green areas to see and visit. This tour will focus on the International areas and the beach in Scheveningen. With all the options of things you can do on this tour it could take you a few hours or a couple of days to see it all.
This week I also have a guest photographer, @yahiabnx. He took the first photo of Scheveningen, taken too late for me to be awake, or possibly too early.
Considered the International City of Peace and Justice and the location of both the International Criminal Court and the Peace Palace, The Hague also is the location for many European and International organizations, including Europol and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW - which won a Nobel Prize for Peace). The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia also took place in The Hague. On this tour you will bike past all of these sites.
In addition, you will bike along the North Sea where you can stop for a meal, a swim, or just rest by the sea. There is also ziplining, bungy jumping, The Pier SkyView (De Pier SkyView) which is a large Ferris wheel. There are also many museums you can visit along the route.
Start your tour at Zeestraat 65 – The Panorama Mesdag. Hendrik Willem Mesdag painted a panorama of the beach in Scheveningen (you will see it later in the tour). It is one of the few panorama paintings from the Belgian Panorama craze in the late 1800s that hasn’t been destroyed. The building was purpose-built for the panorama and when you are looking at the painting be sure to notice how the light changes with the changes in outside light.
Next head north toward Carnegieplein 2, in the opposite direction from the Hilton. Here you will see The Peace Palace (Vredespaleis). The Palace was built in 1913 and is owned by The Carnegie Foundation. It houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the United Nations International Court of Justice, and The Hague Academy of International Law. As well there is the Library of the Peace Palace which is considered to be ‘one of the most prestigious libraries in its field.’
There is a visitors’ centre where you can walk through and learn more about the Peace Palace, as well if you are lucky you can do a tour of the gardens or the building. When available these tours tend to fill up fast so I highly recommend booking them in advance.
Don’t forget to take a look at the World Peace Flame located outside the gate to the right of the Palace. There are stones surrounding it, presented from 196 different countries. Some of the stones were of significance to the countries that donated them. The City of The Hague website has more on the monument if you would like to know more.
After your visit to The Peace Palace continue north along Scheveningseweg in the same direction you were heading when you arrived at the Peace Palace. After crossing over Burgemeester Patijnlaan you will see a white building. This building was the original toll building for anyone going to the beach in Scheveningen (you can read more about it at this website). Follow the nice bike path almost 1 km through the woods to the stop lights at Johan de Wittlaan (name of the street on your left, on the right it is called Professor B.M. Teldersweg). You want to cross over so you will be on Johan de Wittlaan biking away from the Shell gas station. Be careful it is a busy and confusing intersection. However, also keep your eyes open. There are often interesting cavalcades moving through this intersection – diplomats, the King, etc…
Continuing southwest on Johan de Wittlaan, notice the Parade of Flags running through the boulevard. There is a flag from every country that belongs to the United Nations (UN). Keep an eye out for your country’s flag. Maybe you want to see how many flags you can name.
When you reach Churchillplein (~200 m from Scheveningseweg) stop to take a look around. On the right is the location where the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia took place. The Tribunal finished in 2017. My understanding is that the tribunal was the precursor for the creation of the International Criminal Court which you will see later in the tour.
From Churchillplein you can see Europol – you can walk right up to the building, but be aware that if you do anything suspicious, like take a photo, the police might question you. Unfortunately, I know this from experience.
After looking around Churchillplein, hop back on your bike and continue along Johan de Wittlaan. You will be biking past The World Forum where many international events are held, such as the 2014 Nuclear Summit.
When you reach a round building stop again. This is the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons). The organization won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its contribution to the elimination of chemical weapons around the world.
Directly across the road, you can see the Catshuis, which is the residence of the Prime Minster of The Netherlands.
Further along Johan de Wittlaan, just before the curve in the road, you will pass the Mandela Monument: 'Long Walk to Freedom' on your right.
Just after the monument you will come to a number of museums. Museon is great for children. Turn right at the corner at Museon on to Stadhouderslaan and ride north.
The second building on your right is the Kunstmuseum, which has many works by Piet Mondrian (Piet Mondriaan) but also has many interesting exhibitions (yes, even the clothing exhibitions).
Finally, there is the Foto Museum The Hague. Again, there are often interesting exhibitions in this museum.
Continue north along Stadhouderslaan, which will become Statenlaan. After ~0.5 km you will pass Frederik Hendriklaan, which is a very nice shopping street if you want to take a shopping break. But remember you will continue in the same direction on Statenlaan afterwards.
When you reach Westduinweg, about another 0.5 km ahead of you, you’ve reached the Tweede Haven (the Second Harbour). Turn right onto Westduinweg and continue to the first street on your left Schokkerweg, just past the harbour. Feel free to stop and take a look around the harbour.
Continue on Schokkerweg to the end of the road and turn left onto Treilerdwarsweg. This street curves to the right almost immediately and becomes Vissershavenweg. On the left is the Eerste Haven (the First Harbour). Continue along Vissershavenweg until you reach the beach a few hundred meters away. This is Scheveningen Beach. At this spot there are several surfing clubs where you can take a surfing lesson if you would like. As well along this boulevard are a number of restaurants and cafes where you can stop for a bite to eat. Or, if you packed a picnic, it’s very pleasant to sit here on a bench or on the beach.
Turn right (northeast) onto the bike path that follows the beach.
At this point you aren’t on the map above anymore, but continue along the bike path.
As you bike along you will see the following monuments:
Scheveningen Lighthouse (Vuurtoren van Scheveningen) (on the right)
Gedenknaald Koning Willem I, a monument to King William the First (on the right)
Fisherman's wife of Scheveningen (Vissersvrouw van Scheveningen) (on the left)
Igor Mitoraj mask in the dunes (on the right)
Pavilion De Witte which was a gift from King William I to Queen Frederica Louisa Wilhelmina of Prussia (on the right)
After about 1 km you will then come to Museum Beelden aan Zee. It is a more modern museum and a very interesting place to visit.
Also, here you can see the ‘SprookjesBeelden aan Zee’ (Fairytale Sculptures by the Sea) by Tom Otterness (on the left). Each statue represents various fairy tales and sea legends. Stop and have a look and see if you can identify the story behind each one. The only link I could find with a full description of each statue is in Dutch.
·At this point the tour continues off the beach, but if you’d like to take a break from biking you can continue along the boulevard on foot. There are many more sites to see and you could also go for a dip in the North Sea. The bike tour continues below.
On foot you can see:
The Kurhaus, a spa and hotel dating back to 1818. If you walk up the stairs you can see the Dutch walk of fame. Many famous performers have played here such as The Rolling Stones, and Ike and Tina Turner. You can also walk inside and see the main hall the ‘Kurzaal’ or book tours of the building. It is spectacular to see inside.
Continuing on foot you will come to Scheveningen Pier, built in 1959 and very recently renovated. Walking out on the pier you can shop and eat. As well, for the more adventurous, there is bungy jumping, a zipline, and a Ferris wheel. Also don’t forget to look back at the land for a nice view of Scheveningen.
After enjoying all the sights of the beach, hop back on your bike and follow the bike path which curves around to the right and merges with the road. You will be on Scheveningseslag, but it will turn into Rotterdamsestraat across Gevers Deynootweg and, further along, it becomes D'aumeriestraat.
When you reach D’aumeriestraat, if you would like to visit Muzee Scheveningen, turn right. It is about 100 m from the corner of D’aumeriestraat and Neptunusstraat. The museum exhibits the history of Scheveningen. It is quite interesting to look through
After Muzee Scheveningen, head back to the corner of D’ameriestraat and Neptunusstraat and continue southeast on D’ameriestraat
At D’ameriestraat and Stevinstraat turn left and follow this street to the end (about 1.2 km) where you reach Van Alkemadelaan. At this corner you can see De Oranje Hotel (The Orange Hotel). During WWII it was used by the Nazies to detain Dutch citizens. It is open to the public and there are guided tours. It is worth a visit.
· When you have finished at the Oranje Hotel, continue right on Van Alkemadelaan, heading southeast for about 1.5 km until you reach Oude Waalsdorperweg. Before you get to the lights on Oude Waalsdorperweg be sure to look at the International Criminal Court (ICC) from this perspective. You can see the entrance where those being prosecuted are brought to the court.
Turn left at Oude Waalsdorperweg, but be sure you are on the side of the road where the ICC is (the bicycle path is both directions on this side of the street). You can actually go into the building and there is an extensive exhibition (make sure you bring ID as you must go through security to get into the building). As well if you reserve in advance you can sit in on the hearings that are taking place. It is definitely worth a visit. There is no picture, after my experience at Europol I was a little leery of taking any.
· The NATO Communications and Information Agency is about 0.5 km further along on the bicycle path. It isn’t a building you can visit, but if you are up to it, you can bike past the building. Biking there you are actually biking over a tunnel. At the round-about there is an archeological find that was discovered when they were building the tunnel. If you turn left there is a cube with information about the area – all in Dutch of course.
When you are finished with the ICC and NATO the tour is over. If you would like to return to the centre of The Hague, go back to Van Alkemadelaan and turn left. The street name will change to Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië. Continue biking until you reach Bezuidenhoutseweg. Here, turn right and continue until you reach Den Haag Central. You can turn right into the forested area if you are feeling adventurous instead of biking along Bezuidenhoutseweg as well. When you reach the edge of the park you turn left to get to central station.
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