I don’t have a garden, but I always think of the Palace Garden as my backyard. I go there on a sunny day, my children learned to ride their bikes there, it’s my walking route to work. To be honest, it’s not my backyard, but the king’s. His working palace, the Noordeinde, can be seen from this park. His mother was so kind to open the garden up to the public years ago.
When I came to live in The Hague, the garden was rather derelict and in bad shape. Nowadays it is buzzing with life! It’s a popular picnic spot, a great place to go with children and every Sunday morning (when the weather is nice) there’s a huge yoga class in the park.
There are lots of little stories (and rumors) about the park. In 1785, the first commercial balloon flight in the Netherlands took off from here. It’s remembered by a monument in the garden. Among the citizens of The Hague there is a persistent rumor that a secret passageway runs under the garden to evacuate the royal family, if necessary.
And my absolute favorite: there is a tiny alley in the right back corner of the garden that leads to a plain, anonymous door. Ring the bell next to the door and the guards will let you through. You’ll end up under a beautiful archway that leads you right into the city center. My secret short cut on my way to work!