Blog in France Goes Dutch: Part 4 - The Hague

Saturday saw Caiti and me in the centre of The Hague to do some more sightseeing. We’d started the day with a quick raid on a branch of Albert Heijn’s close to home to top up with a few healthy odds and ends, mainly bars of chocolate to bring home. Dutch chocolate is really nice!

The museum we planned to see didn’t open till 10. We arrived in central The Hague a little early so went for a potter round the area. Close by is the Binnenhof. This is where both houses of the States General of The Netherlands meet. The Prime Minister has his offices there, as does the Ministry of General Affairs. Amsterdam may the capital city but it’s in The Hague that the government sits. The Binnenhof is a magnificent building. It’s Gothic in style and dates back to the thirteenth century. We saw it next day in miniature at Madurodam, and that’s where the next two photos are from. They give a better impression of the whole thing.

There was a splendid gilt statue in the courtyard, and two golden figures high up just below the clock who bonged the hours by hitting bells. I adore clocks like that. You can just see a glint of gold in the tall tower to the left of the main doors in the photo below.

Next stop was the Mauritshuis Museum. This is the perfect museum in that it’s the perfect size. Most museums tend to be rather large and culture fatigue sets in before you’ve finished looking at everything. I remember a visit with Caiti to the history museum in Bordeaux, which had a cunning one-way system that meant you had to go through the whole place in order to get out. It nearly killed us! No such problem this time. This beautiful museum is doable in an hour or so. It has some wonderful Golden Age paintings, some fabulous Rembrandts, but its most famous painting is Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ (although some pundits reckon it’s actually tin). Dutch people voted it the most beautiful painting in the country in 2006. And it – she – is exquisite. The painting quite small but has presence. It was so lovely to see.

After this we needed food, and then we indulged in that time honoured tradition of mother-daughter Saturday shopping. We don’t get to do this very often with Caiti usually off in some other continent or country, and Saturday also being the busiest day with our fishing lakes. We had a lovely time. I’d intended to buy Christmas presents but got derailed by things with llamas on. They’re very trendy in Holland at the moment. My herd is rather miffed at not having such celebrity status here in rural France!

We finished the day, naturally, with another visit to our favourite city farm.