If I can choose between doing my shopping in big department stores or in small authentic shops, I always pick the latter. One of the oldest shops in the city center is drugstore Van der Gaag. The shop is over 200 years old and hasn’t changed much in these two centuries. It still has its wood paneled interior filled with glass bottles and jars. On the store front, you can still see the figurehead of a ‘gaper’, once the symbol of pharmacies and drugstores.
Van der Gaag sells a wide range of over-the-counter medicines and personal care products. Whether you have a cold or are looking for the best shampoo, the staff is always willing to advise you. The shop is located in one of the oldest parts of The Hague. This is where, in the old days, a daily food and vegetable market would take place. The founder of Van der Gaag used to sell herbs in that market. When business took off, he decided to open a shop. The attic of the building was once used to dry herbs. Those days are gone. But you can still buy 250 different kinds of herbs and spices at the shop.
Although Van der Gaag is a drugstore, they also sell candy. This is the place to go if you are looking for the original Dutch ‘dropjes’, the licorice that we Dutch love so much, but many foreigners despise. Van der Gaag still sells them out of the original glass jars.