The end of the exams week was dearly embraced by everyone here in Maastricht. One of my friends and I decided to celebrate it by taking a one-day trip to yet another beautiful Dutch city: the famous Den Haag.
The Hague is situated on the Western Coast of the Netherlands and it is a great political center of the country and the world, hosting the Dutch Government and Parliament, the Supreme Court, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. As a political science student, this city has been on my must-see list for a long-long time.
We started our trip in the Binnenhof courtyard, surrounded by the buildings in which the Senate and the House of Representatives decide on Dutch legislation. Moreover, these building host the offices of the Ministry of General Affairs and of the Dutch Prime-Minister. The central piece of the courtyard is the Ridderzaal, a beautiful 13th century Gothic building, in which the Dutch monarch delivers the speech for the state opening of the Parliament. As we walked out of the courtyard, we were amazed by the stunning view that one gets over the Binnenhof from the surroundings of the Hofvijer lake, which is situated next to the complex.
Our next stop was the Grote Kerk, a Protestant church, built in the 15th century, in the same magnificent Gothic style. The church interior is definitely impressive, especially because of its beautifully stained glass and ribbed vaults. The church also has a delicately decorated organ, which is one of the world’s most historically important ones, having been used by Händel and Mozart themselves.
After this short stop, we cycled to the Peace Palace, a place that you simply cannot miss if you visit the Hague. The Palace was opened in 1913 and it is now the home of the International Court of Justice, the main international law body. Although the Palace is not opened to the public, visitors can get a free tour of the small museum built in front of the Palace gates. The tour makes it easy for everyone to understand the history behind the Palace and its significance in international law.
The next stop that we chose was the Madurodam, a miniature park, which contains models of the most important touristic attractions across the Netherlands. I personally enjoyed my visit there (although I thought the tickets were a bit overpriced), whilst my friend kept complaining the models are not really professionally done and that the miniature park in Hamburg is way more exciting and professionally executed (I have never visited Hamburg myself, so maybe that’s why I didn’t find Madurodam that disappointing). All in all, this filled our trip there with quite a few memorable funny sarcastic statements. 😀
We ended our journey on the beautiful Scheveningen beach, which was only 15 minutes cycle away from Madurodam. Although the temperature was not really suitable for a tan, we still had the luck to be there on quite a sunny weather. We took a long walk on the beach and watched the sunset. It was the perfect end of a perfect day! 🙂