When you think of Den Haag, “cars” does not immediately come to mind. Yet the Louwman Museum, located 10-15 minutes from the city centre (by bicycle–remember, we may have a car museum but we’re still Dutch), houses the world’s largest collection of pre-1910 automobiles, and more than a few specialty cars from the period after. While the cars that supposedly belonged to Elvis and Bond (James Bond) are interesting decorations to be sure, this is not a novelty museum: some of automobiles were the personal possessions of Winston Churchill and even a couple of Habsburg royals, while entire floors of this museum display a comprehensive history of the evolution of very concept of an automobile, from 18th-century horse drawn carriages all the way to the first (and failed) iterations of an electric car.
Just as enticing are the building and grounds itself. Sky-high ceilings, spacious interiors and well-considered set pieces (my daughters still talk about “the swan car” admittedly a novelty, but what a novelty!) make for a pleasurable afternoon, while the grounds outside are perfect for quiet walks or biking in tree groves that let you forget about all things car, and city, until you’re ready to return to them both.