Tracing culture in The Hague

As someone who loves culture, Hollandse Duinen National Park is the perfect place for you. Take The Hague, a city built on beach ridges and old dunes with a rich history. This is the place where the powerful Counts of Holland built their country estates and hunted in the dune forests centuries ago. In 1248, Count William II decided to convert the royal residence into a complex of administrative buildings: the Binnenhof, which continues to serve as the seat of government in the Netherlands.

Spring or summer. In April and early May, the bulb fields are in bloom, the nightingales are singing in the scrub and plants are flowering in the dunes.

A city with an abundance of green

You can walk from downtown The Hague to the national park. You will pass the Koekamp, where herds of deer have been grazing since the 16th century, as well as the Malieveld, the large field where the Counts of Holland played malie, a form of ground billiards, and today is used as a public place to demonstrate. From the Koekamp, you continue walking to the Haagse Bos city forest, where you can still clearly see the beach ridges. Some of the hills in the forest are actually underground bunkers dating back to World War II.

Photo: Erik Zachte - CC BY-SA 2.0

Four walks through history

People have been living, working and enjoying recreational pursuits here for hundreds of years. You can see and feel the cultural history everywhere you walk. Follow the traces of the past in four different and unique routes.

The nobility in bloom

The Haagse Bos is famous for its flowers that bloom in early spring, such as English bluebells and wood anemone. This flora has a storied past: the nobility brought these beautiful yet subtle flowers from travels abroad. The flowers are collectively known as stinzenplanten: 'stins' is a Frisian word that means 'stone house' and refers to the homes belonging to noble or prominent gentlemen.

Tangible remnants of World War II

You will encounter defences from World War II at various places along the route. Although some have sunk down in the sand or been overrun by nature, they all continue to tell the story of the German occupation.