The Hague is often touted as an international city, and for good reason: it’s home to more than 150 international organisations, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), as well as Europol, Eurojust and the European Patent Office (EPO). It’s the fourth major centre for the United Nations, after New York, Geneva and Vienna. And it now includes “International City of Peace and Justice” on its coat of arms.
No surprise, then, that the city attracts people from all over the world: in fact, just under half of the city’s population are Dutch, with the rest hailing from countries all over the world.
Its international feel is one thing that makes the city special. But there are plenty of others.
The Hague punches way above its weight culturally. The National Theatre is based here, as are the Residentie Orchestra, and the celebrated modern dance company Nederlands Dans Theater. The city is also home to the New European Ensemble, an internationally feted ensemble for contemporary music. And then there are Madurodam, the famous miniature city, the Panorama Mesdag panoramic painting — a 360° vista of Scheveningen as it was late last century, and the Omniversum, Europe's first 360° IMAX cinema. There’s always something on.
Schools and universities
The Hague is a great place to raise a family for a number of reasons, not least among them being the many options is offers for primary, secondary and university education. It boasts a European School, an International School, an American School, a German School, a French School, and a British School, which itself has no fewer than five campuses.
In 2010, Leiden University, a Times Higher Education Top 100 university, opened a major campus right in the centre of The Hague. The campus offers a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s courses in both Dutch and English. The city is also home to the Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, the Royal Academy of Art, and a campus of the Open University of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands boasts no fewer than eight universities in the top 100 according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings: aside from Leiden (see above), they are the Delft University of Technology, the University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University and Research, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the University of Groningen, Utrecht University, and Maastricht University.
For the fifth year in a row, the Netherlands has topped the healthcare ranking in the annual Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI), which compares healthcare systems across Europe.
Each year, the Swedish NGO Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP) ranks healthcare systems in Europe on 48 indicators, including patients’ rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes. For 2015, the last year for which a report is available, the Netherlands once again came out on top, scoring 916 points out of a possible 1,000.
The Hague has three major hospitals:
- Bronovo Ziekenhuis
- Medisch Centrum Haaglanden
All three are teaching hospitals, which means that they work with the university medical centres to train nurses and interns, and have specialised treatment facilities. And Bronovo offers special services for expats.
The city is served by an excellent transport infrastructure. It has a modern and efficient tram and bus network that serves the city and its environs, and that even links to nearby Rotterdam.
The Hague is half an hour by train from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Europe’s fifth busiest, and is also served by Rotterdam The Hague Airport, the third largest in the Netherlands.
The Hague has a well-earned reputation as he greenest major city in the Netherlands. The city centre combines back-street quaint with big-city modern. Far from being cramped or overcrowded, it boasts both small streets lined with cafés, boutiques and specialty shops, and large, spacious thoroughfares with big-name shops and department stores. It also features two covered retail arcades (passages) with plenty of shops large and small, as well as cafés and restaurants, hotels and city apartments. The city and its environs have no fewer than 18 parks and public gardens, including a Japanese garden and numerous wooded areas, with plenty of playgrounds between them.
And then there’s the beach at Scheveningen, a major tourist attraction and a favourite with locals. Its large boulevard is always abuzz on the weekends, even in the off-season, and in the summer scores of cafés, bars and restaurants are added all along the beach. There is a 40-metre-high Ferris wheel next to the pier. The beach itself extends both north and south, where it adjoins expansive dunes with excellent walking and hiking trails.
The city has a temperate oceanic climate, similar to that in the rest of the Netherlands, except that its winters are milder and its summers cooler than in inland areas. It also gets more sunshine than they do.