Book Review: The Hague Highlights

15 Jan 2016 | Ute Limacher-Riebold

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The Hague Highlights: The 100 must-see places in The Hague

By Ineke Mahieu | Ad van Gaalen (trad. by Stephen Agnew)


The Hague Highlights is the slightly adapted English version of De Haagse Plekken, elected as "Best Book of The Hague" by the city's readers in 2013. Stephen Agnew translated Ineke Mahieu's and Ad van Gaalen's book, also known among the Dutch readers for their book De Haagse Canon.

 The Hague Highlights

The Hague Highlights is a collection of 100 must-see places of The Hague and an "intelligent readers' guide", which provides the reader with short introductions containing historical and fun facts of these places, whose selection is not specified.


With this welcome guide for "expats and tourists of this beautiful city by the sea", the reader can explore The Hague either virtually, from the comfort of his own home, or by discovering the places by foot, bike or public transport. In both cases, I recommend to have a map at hand because although the authors provide the reader with street names and the chapters' subtitles give a topographical hint about the situation of the sights, the absence of a map or pictures in this book, make it more difficult for those who don't know the city yet. My suggestion is to choose some of the highlights from the alphabetically ordered index with the help of a map and design your own route.


This guide not only describes the typical places in The Hague, like the Buitenhof, the Gemeentemuseum, the Mauritshuis, the Galerij Prins Willem V, the Ridderzaal, the Vredenspaleis etc., but also the Pulchri Studio, the ice cream parlor Florencia, the building of department store DeBijenkorf, the Hotel des Indes and tells us what happened to the oldest inn in The Hague and gives some interesting insights about the Haagse Toren and the Lanterna Magica.


The reader learns that there's only one multiple bridge in The Hague, the Malie Bridge and discovers what connects the name malie that we find also in Malieveld with pall mall. The authors describe a selection of churches, a synagogue, a mosque in this very international city and give some interesting information about the green areas in The Hague: the Uithof, the Eendenkooi in Zuiderpark, the Westduinpark, the Rosarium, the Paleis Kneuterdijk, the Haagse Bos etc.


The guide ends a bit abruptly with the last sight (the Zandmotor) and the reader may miss a conclusion where the authors explain their choice, and maybe a topographical and a source index.


All in all, this is a very accessible guide that one can read in a few hours. If you would like to know which lane was once called the "long Lime lane", or what the Heavenly Vault or the Hofje van Nieuwkoop are, or what is said about the Spaanse Hof and what the actual birthplace of The Hague is, read this historical guide and discover it during your journey through this beautiful city. And if you want, the authors kindly invite you to add more places to their list: "if you have an idea about a place in The Hague which you feel should be included, please let us know" (p.9).


Ute Limacher-Riebold

 Ute (PhD in Romance Linguistics and Literature) is an expat-since-birth. She is a language coach and trainer, an expert in bilingualism and expat life coach.

She offers courses on topics related to “Expat Life” and “Parenting TCKs (Third Culture Kids)”, workshops for internationals and coaching support in English, Deutsch, Français, Nederlands and Italiano, and offers language coaching and training (German, Italian, French).


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