I wasn’t born in The Hague. When I was sixteen, I stayed in the city for three days and immediately decided that I would come to live here as an adult. For me the city had everything: big city vibes, a village feel, the beaches and the sea, and lots of parks and green areas surrounding it.
One of the best green areas of The Hague is the ‘Haagse bos’, or in English: ‘The Hague Forest’. It’s just what the name says: a large natural area not far from the city center with footpaths, cycle lanes, lakes and grassy fields and a fantastic natural playground. I always feel privileged to cycle through the woods and still be so close to the city center. The forest has a very enthusiastic forester: Jenny, my namesake! She shares her little stories about the forest on twitter (@boswachterjenny).
In the middle of the woods is a palace, Huis ten Bosch, that was built in 1645. The former queen Beatrix, mother to the present day King of The Netherlands, used to live here. The pond behind the building is where her son, King Willem-Alexander proposed to his wife Maxima while ice-skating in winter.
Nowadays, the king, his wife and three daughters live in the palace. That means you can’t visit it. Still want to see the inside? On Google Street View you can visit the big ballroom, the Oranjezaal. It is particularly beautiful, with floor-to-ceiling paintings.