If you’re sick and tired of spending your money in Amsterdam, there are multiple things you can do in The Hague for free! Because let’s be honest, Amsterdam is way too full of tourists and the prices are through the roof.
When asked why I enjoy The Hague so much, I always tell people that it’s the perfect balance between busy and calm. The city centre is lively, but there are many locations where you can enjoy some peace.
And that road rage you feel while walking in Amsterdam? It’s real. But in The Hague, there are far fewer confused tourists, and walking is easy breezy.
So before you spend all of your life savings in Amsterdam, here are seven things you can do in The Hague completely free:
7Free in the Hague: check out Binnenhof
It’s hard to miss and it’s totally free — Binnenhof! Located in the heart of The Hague is a fascinating complex of buildings constructed primarily in the 13th century. From the front, the Binnenhof is a picturesque building with the enchanting Hofvijver pond in the forefront.
The pond is home to multiple ducks and swans (just like the whole of the Netherlands) and a very bizarre water fountain. During sunset, it looks like something straight out of a Disney movie!
The inside of the Binnenhof is striking as well. Standing in the courtyard makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. And the best part is that you get to experience all of this for free!
6Visit the Peace Palace
When exploring The Hague, the Peace Palace is an absolute must-visit. Aside from housing the International Court of Justice, it’s also a very impressive building. And while going into the grounds of the Peace Palace will cost you a few euros, exploring the small museum in the front is free.
Plus, for some truly Instagram-worthy material, you can always take photos in front of the gate. It also sounds really cool when you tell your foreign friends you went to the International Court of Justice.
5Free summer vibes: the beach
One thing that’s always made The Hague so unique is its beach. While you might not enjoy going for a swim eleven out of twelve months, it’s still very relaxing to be. The beach in The Hague is the perfect place to go when you want to feel like you’re on vacation but can’t afford it (as sad as it may sound).
Especially in summer, the place becomes so lively and dynamic that it’s the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. For a few extra euros, you can enjoy some drinks and food at the numerous beach bars and restaurants. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can also do bungee jumping, fly down the zip line, or take a ride on the Ferris wheel.
4A free way to enjoy nature in The Hague: Clingendael
Clingendael is one of the most beautiful country estates in the Netherlands. If you’re looking for a way to get out of the city and connect with nature, the park is the perfect place to escape! The vast grounds, canals, and secret pathways make the park a fun and peaceful place to explore. In fact, Clingendael is so diverse that you could spend the whole day there — just bring a lunch to enjoy on one of the many picnic tables.
If you’re lucky, you can also visit the Japanese garden (also free!) which is open for a limited period during the fall and spring. All in all, Clingendael and its nature is one of the best free things in The Hague.
3It’s free if you only look: the Red Light District
If Amsterdam seems too far away, you can also visit the Red Light District in The Hague (ooh!). Even though it is quite small, and also quite dodgy, it’s still a Red Light District if you really want to have the, um, …full experience.
Although actually ‘experiencing’ its full potential might be quite costly, looking is still one of the free things to do in The Hague. Whatever you do though, do not take any photos! Unfortunately, this hotspot is probably the only place where you won’t be able to go back home with photos of your adventure. Your mental pictures will have to do.
2Free stress therapy: Malieveld park
Want to feel like you’re at Central Park in New York? Well…we can’t help much there. But Malieveld park is as close as you’ll get to it in The Hague. Located right across from Central Station, this park is like an oasis in the heart of the city.
You can enjoy a pleasant walk, try your skills at the skater park, and observe the deer that reside there. Malieveld park is like a bubble you can enter to save yourself from the stressful city life. And it’s definitely cheaper than any psychiatrist (because it’s free!).
Such a refreshing sight in city. Koekamp deer park the Malieveld. Den Haag in Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/vmSKjOnzS6
— Krisztina Nánási (@nanasikrisz) 1 augustus 2014
1Beer costs money but the experience is free: Grote Marktstraat
Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing glass of beer after a long day of exploring the beauty of The Hague? If you’re seeking a nice place to chill while also receiving an authentic Dutch experience, then Grote Markstraat is for you!
Yes, beer costs money (sadly) but just relaxing as you watch the people go by is priceless! Aside from being The Hague’s biggest shopping street, Grote Marktstraat also offers some very unique bars and cafes. It is the perfect place to visit in the evenings when everyone is off work and enjoying their free time with friends and good old Dutch beer. Grote Marktstraat is most definitely the perfect way to end your long day in The Hague.
Do you have any free stuff worth doing in The Hague that needs to be in this article? Feel free to mention it in the comments!
Feature Image: Kevin Coellner/Supplied
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in April 2018, but was fully updated in August 2020 for your viewing pleasure.