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THE HAGUE

The Hague is a city in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is the seat of the Dutch parliament and government, and the residence of Queen Beatrix. The Hague lies on the North Sea and is home to Scheveningen, the most popular seaside resort of the Netherlands, as well as the smaller resort of Kijkduin.

The Hague offers great architecture, from the picturesque government complex of the Binnenhof, to the grand and stately mansions on Lange Voorhout. Museums like the Mauritshuis rank among the best in the country. For food aficionados, The Hague offers some of the country's best Indonesian cuisine, due to large-scale immigration from this former Dutch colony. The city also offers good opportunities for outings, such as extensive green spaces for walking and bicycling as well as dunes and seaside recreation areas just a few tram stops away from the city centre. The Hague also offers a few attractions especially appealing to children, such as the miniature city of Madurodam and the 360 degree Omniversum cinema.

The heart of the city contains most of the historic architecture from the medieval, renaissance, and Baroque periods and is easily accessible on foot. You'll also find lots of outdoor cafes and shopping near the Plein on the Lange Poten or just east of there on the Hofweg. Plein, simply translates as 'square' in English, is one of the most elegant in the centre. Located right next to the Binnenhof, it is lined with historic government buildings on three of its four sides. The north side is lined with bars and cafés, which spill out onto the square in summer. These sidewalk cafés are quite popular with politicians from the neighbouring Binnenhof, and even Prime Minister Mark Rutte can be spotted here with a pint regularly. The square is also the scene for demonstrations against government policies. The statue in the middle is that of William of Orange, heralded as the founding father of the Dutch nation.

The lively and historical centre of The Hague is perfect for a day of shopping. The shopping area around the Spuistraat and Grote Marktstraat is busy seven days a week. Most of the main department stores are located in this shopping area. You can find the best shopping in The Hague on the side streets that circle out from the city centre. While lots of them are up-scale, you can find a few bargain stores dotted here and there.

The Netherlands has an excellent tradition in Indonesian and colonial Dutch-Indies cuisine. After Indonesia became independent from the Netherlands in 1945, the country received a large number of former colonials from Dutch and mixed descent who had been forced to leave the newly independent colony. The Hague received a relatively large number of these people and is still a centre of the Dutch-Indonesian community.

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