The Hague (Den Haag) is my favorite city to celebrate autumn season in! The city is home to Dutch politics, glorious beaches and many parks, excellent for an fall themed stroll. If you’re curious to see what The Hague looks like in autumn, check out the photos I shot below.
The smell of autumn is how I remember The Hague. Growing up right next to the city and being part of a family that was raised in it, every family activity is the same: going back to the roots. For me that usually means wandering through Clingendael park, collecting chestnuts and getting chased by hungry geese.
Now that I’m an adult (as if), I’ve moved back to The Hague. I make an effort to relive my childhood memories by taking a daily stroll through one of my favorite parks. During autumn, you’ll most likely find me in one of The Hague’s parks. The options for seeing the leafs fall are diverse, yet I tend to fall back on Clingendael and Haagse Bos most times. One of the reasons for that is Clingendael’s Japanese garden, which is only open for 6 weeks a year.
All photos below are taken in two of my favorite parks: Clingendael and Haagse Bos. These two parks are ideal for experiencing The Hague in autumn because of their location and beauty.
The Hague in autumn: my favorite parks
The Clingendael Estate
The Clingendael Estate is one of the most famous parks in The Hague. The park is home to the gorgeous Japanese Garden, which is only open for a few weeks per year. In autumn, you have 2 weeks to visit it.
One of the reasons for this is the vulnerability of the garden. Because it attracts many people, the small garden gets trampled easily. The rest of the year the garden is closed off – with the exception of 2 – 4 weeks in spring – due to maintenance work and plant recovery.
When you want to visit in autumn, make sure you go early in the day and during the week. The Japanese Garden is always buzzing, this is just the least popular time to go.
Do make sure you explore the rest of the park. Clingendael has a great variety of plants and trees and it is a real treat to walk around in it. As a kid, I loved to stare at the treetops to watch the squirrels hop from tree to tree.
Another interesting part of Clingendael, although I’m not sure it belongs to the estate, is Oosterbeek. This small space is attached to the park and houses a few bunkers, dating back from WWII. Although you can’t enter them, it’s fun to explore the park and search for them.
Walking routes in Clingendael
The Hague in autumn isn’t complete without a lovely stroll through the fall foliage! There are two routes to walk in Clingendael:
- The yellow route is approximately 4 km long and starts 50 meters after passing the entrance gate at Wassenaarseweg, on the right side. Follow the post with the yellow markings to complete the route.
- The red route is only 2 km long and starts at the same location. Both routes are incredibly easy to do and have no changes in altitude.
Rules of Clingendael
- The park is not accessible by car or any other motorized transportation.
- Barbecue and open fires are forbidden
- You are not allowed to damage nature in any way.
- Trash belongs in the trash bins you’ll find all over the park. Remember to leave nothing but footprints!
- Dogs are supposed to be on a leash in the majority of the park. There are areas where they may roam free. Watch the signs throughout the park for more information.
The bunkers of the Oosterbeek Estate.
How to get to Clingendael
Take bus 18 from The Hague central station and get out at Van Alkemadelaan. The entrance of the park can be reached within a 5 minute walk. There are multiple entrances, however the head entrance is at Wassenaarseweg.
Clingendael isn’t that large, a few hours of roaming – including tasting the fresh apple pie at the café – will be enough to discover the park.
Haagse Bos has become my new place to go for experiencing The Hague in autumn. Admittedly, the park is less entertaining than Clingendael but beautiful nonetheless.
My favorite thing about Haagse Bos is the location. Divided in two parts, this park connects to many other green spots in The Hague.
On the side of The Hague Central Station, Koekamp Park connects to the first part of Haagse Bos. Coming from the station, you can walk to popular neighborhood Bezuidenhout almost entirely though nature.
On the rear side of the Haagse Bos contains a large pond and connects to Landgoed (estate) Marlot and Landgoed Reigersbergen. Both are well worth exploring, especially in the fall!
Haagse Bos is a protected area and is supposed to be as wild as possible. The park is maintained by Staatsbosbeheer and cannot be cut down.
History of Haagse Bos
In early medieval times, Haagse Bos was part of a forest stretching from The Hague to the city of Alkmaar. The nobility of The Hague used the park for relaxing rides in their carriages. I can only imagine they loved The Hague is autumn as much as I do now!
In 1645 countess Amalia van Solms and her husband Frederik Hendrik (the youngest son of William of Oranje) built their summer castle in the park. Huis ten Bosch is still one of the highlights of the park.
Fun fact: Part of the royal family will be living in Huis ten Bosch at the end of 2018. This includes King Willem Alexander, his wife Queen Maxima and their three daughters.
Haagse Bos played a very important role during the Second World War. The park was part of the 5300 km long Atlantic Wall. When you see unreasonably large hills in the landscape, chances are a bunker is still hidden underneath.
Rules of Haagse Bos
- Dogs have to be on a leash in the majority of the park. Look at the signs for more information.
- You are allowed inside the park by car, on one road only. The rest of the paths you have to do in foot or by bicycle. Every path is marked specifically for one or both ways of transportation.
- Do not disturb wildlife in the park.
How to get there
Get to Haagse Bos on foot from The Hague Central Station or park your car along Bezuidenhoutseweg, which is right next to the park.
It’s also possible to take public transportation to Haagse Bos. From The Hague Central Station you can take bus 24 to Mariahoeve and get out at the bus stop called ‘Theresiastraat’. From The Hague Laan van NOI Station, take bus 23 and get out at ‘Laan van NOI’. Both bus stops are on the same intersection, across from each other. You can see the park from where you’re standing.
Huis ten Bosch
When to visit The Hague in autumn
October is by far the best month to see fall foliage in The Hague! The Dutch weather can be quite unpredictable but October usually has some sunny days. In the middle of the month, fall foliage is at its peak.
Want to see more of The Hague in autumn?
There are many parks and green spots are great for watching the leafs fall. Choose Westbroekpark to see the fancy side of The Hague, Zuiderpark for a picnick and Westduinpark for an escape to the sea.
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