Emma’s Hof — stadstuin voor vrijwilligers, meaning “city garden for volunteers”— is a true slice of heaven. You might have been to a city garden before, but this one is special. You’d miss it if you didn’t know it’s there and, actually, I walked and cycled past it myself at least a dozen times before being told about it. Located in the beautiful Regentessekwartier of The Hague, Emma’s Hof was an old, empty building until the locals of the area came up with the idea of making use of the space. It took them about 5 years to realize their dream: a garden and recuperation area for the neighborhood instead of an unused building. They had to collect donations, find an architect, and finally opened their garden in 2011.
Emma’s Hof has a free library, a playground for kids, lots of benches and sunchairs, an abundance of flowers and herbs, and more and more birds who’ll provide ambient background music. Maintained solely by volunteers, the garden has flourished and is a true hidden gem in the area. You can organize your birthday party there, stroll through during your shopping routine or simply come to enjoy a 10-minute break time in meditative surroundings. The opening hours vary according to the season of the year: make sure to check out their website.