When thinking of relocating to the Netherlands for your international studies, it’s easy to see why The Hague might immediately appear as a very attractive option. In fact, The Hague attracts over 30,000 students a year, with 5,000 of that number comprised of international students. It seems like someone has definitely caught onto some of what this destination has to offer, as more and more students choose The Hague when studying abroad.
Of course, this may be due in part to its world-renowned universities, such as The Hague University of Applied Sciences. But as important as it may be, there are still other things that make a location a true student city. Let’s look at a few!
One of the best things about The Hague is its location. Nestled in the Netherlands on the western coast of the North Sea, you really can’t get any more convenient.
In fact, The Hague is only 15 minutes by train to Rotterdam and just under an hour to Amsterdam, meaning that you can easily be a tourist for the day and explore two of the Netherlands’ most popular cities. Additionally, The Hague is only a 10-minute bicycle ride to Scheveningen Beach, or a 20-minute ride to Delft, a charming medieval city that’s also quite popular with students for international exchange.
We’ve already touched on The Hague’s international impact, but this also spreads over to its political appeal as well. The Hague is home to the International Court of Justice, along with many other international institutions and embassies. Typically, with this kind of presence in a city, there's generally a rather large expat community, bringing the vibrancy and diversity of The Hague to an all-time high.
The Hague has even been coined the International City of Peace and Justice. And if you happen to be strolling through the city center, the chances are that you’ll pass by the Dutch Government and the Parliament, as well as the European Police Office (Europol).
The Hague offers a myriad of things to do, with so many places to see! You’ll never run out of exciting ways to fill your spare time when you’re not at the university.
You should definitely spend an afternoon exploring The Hague’s version of Chinatown, with its rows and rows of super-unique shops and delicious restaurants. You never know what you’ll find in Chinatown, and it’s a way to discover true cultural diversity.
In the city center, you’ll find the area packed with all sorts of interesting things to do. The squares of Grote Markt and Plein both offer cafés, pubs and clubs, and they’re also excellent places to do a little bit of people watching.
If you want to find a nice way to spend a rainy afternoon, then there are several options available to you. Visit the Mauritshuis (full of impressive works of art), the Gemeente Museum and the Escher Museum. Additionally, the Queen’s Palace, the Peace Palace and The Binnenhof are all three definitely worthy of visits.
And of course, there’s the beach. Scheveningen Beach is absolutely wonderful, with a fun-filled boardwalk with restaurants and café’s. In the warmer months, some of the clubs even move onto the sand. If you want to venture out into the neighborhood, you’ll also find a few nice parks, just perfect for relaxing or having a picnic with some of your new classmates.
During your time in The Hague, you’ll surely want to try some of the area’s regional favorite foods, such as herring (which is eaten raw on a bun, along with onions and pickles), lekkerbek (a fried fish) and bitterballen (fried meat and cheese croquettes).
Many students like to shop and eat at De Haagse Markt (The Hague Market), a large outdoor mecca selling food from all over the world, as well as some of the local favorites. Some of the most popular international foods are Surinamese and Indonesian.
If you’d like to have a meal at a nice, but budget-conscious restaurant, there are a few that are quite popular in The Hague. Located in the heart of the city, Baladi is a delicious Lebanese restaurant offering tasty, healthy dishes. Xiang Dada is also a popular eatery, boasting the best spare ribs in The Hague.
The Hague hosts several exciting events throughout the year, but King’s Eve and King’s Day are definitely the most popular. You can learn a lot about the Dutch culture, in seeing how they honor their monarch, including parades, parties, festival and a whole slew of opportunities to drink with your new friends.
In mid-August, you may also want to take in The Hague Historic. This fun-filled festival creates reenactments of the area in the 13th century. Expect a whole lot of revelry, and the admission is even free!
And if you find yourself hanging around during the Christmas break, you have to attend the Festival Carnivale. There will be tents full of bizarre acts and attractions, as well as enough holiday cheer to last for months!
When it comes to finding student housing in The Hague, there are several different options to choose from. Many students opt for student dorms, but there is no flexibility on where you might stay or who you might room with.
Most students opt to rent a private room. However, sometimes students also share an apartment so that they can split the expenses. There are Facebook groups where you can even meet some of your new classmates beforehand and make housing arrangements in advance.
After you relocate to The Hague, you’re sure to have a memorable experience. Remember to get out there and explore — your new home awaits!