Dustin' off my clogs
May 27, 2010 5:41 AM   Subscribe

99.9% certain I'm going to accept a new job that will involve my moving back to the Netherlands from Germany. I'll be based in the Hague (Scheveningen, actually,) which I don't know well at all. Looking for help from the hive mind on areas to consider living in (roughly 1000 - 1200 / mo budget for rent) along with restaurant, bars, gyms, food shopping and all the good stuff that makes up a life.

The basics: American male, early fifties. Recently came out of a long-term relationship, amicably (she wanted to go back to the States,) have lived in Germany the past several years. I lived in Amsterdam for about 7 years and feel I know that city quite well, but spent little time in den Haag, but want to be able to land on my feet. New job will be quite consuming and will also involve a lot of travel, so I do want to be able to make my time at home count. I'm a bit of a foodie, so especially looking for restaurant and food-shopping recommendations. Also enjoy the movies, books, working out, cafe-hanging and exploring little-known parts of towns. A bit vague, I know, but really want to leave it open for the off-beat as well as the basics. Any web sites with good current events, recommendations, etc would also be welcome.

Finally, my Dutch is awful - so English-language resources would be great

Thanks all - you're the best!
posted by Expat to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I found the lists of restaurants here pretty good (just scroll down for The Hague).

The city library downtown has great selection of books in English on many subjects, but is also probably the best place to rent movies with mixture of mainstream and art house titles.

Good luck!
posted by A! at 6:01 AM on May 27, 2010

Best answer: I'm staying in Scheveningen when I work in the Hague. It's crowded in the short summer and dead in the winter, but the beaches are great for running uphill (the wind provides the uphill.)

As an American you might appreciate that there is a decent Mexican restaurant in the plaza in front of the Kurhaus Hotel. Not a culinary experience mind you, just pretty good Mexican food which is hard to find in Europe. (I am living in Sweden.)

I don't know about the rental market, but I'd follow the tram line from Scheveningen to den Haag Centraal and pick one of the neighborhoods along it. If you're traveling back and forth to Schiphol frequently it would make sense to think of your commute. There is an express (snel) train going to and from den Haag Centraal via Leiden and Schiphol to Amsterdam Centraal more or less every hour. The trip from Schiphol to den Haag Centraal takes about 40 minutes. You jump on the Nr. 9 tram and this takes you to Scheveningen. If you time it right you can be home from the airport in one hour, but 90 minutes is more the average.
posted by three blind mice at 6:37 AM on May 27, 2010

Response by poster: Following up, a car comes with the job, so I won't be limited to public transport. That said, Three Blind Mice, your advice sounds like a great idea. Schiphol will be a second home to me, but will want to avoid the A4 / A44 traffic as much as possible.

Since I'm mobile, would also be willing to look at towns outside he Hague to live in, preferably closer to Schiphol. Considered moving back to Amsterdam, but 65+ KM each way of Dutch traffic doesn't really appeal.

Also, Three Blind Mice, if you're into Mexican and get to Amsterdam check out Los Pilones on the Kerkstraat - authentic Mexican that is a culinary experience, run by Mexican brothers
posted by Expat at 6:55 AM on May 27, 2010

Best answer: My American friends live just outside the Hague in Voorburg and love it. I've visited, and I recall hopping on a tram to Scheveningen one block away from their house. They work closer to Leiden and either bike or take the bus, and the trip from Schipol to their house is about 30-40 minutes--but that was in light traffic on a holiday.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 7:10 AM on May 27, 2010

Also, Three Blind Mice, if you're into Mexican and get to Amsterdam check out Los Pilones on the Kerkstraat - authentic Mexican that is a culinary experience, run by Mexican brothers

Thanks for the tip Expat. I will eat there next week and am already looking forward to it. I loves me some Mexican food.

I would also check out Delft. You might feel a bit isolated in Scheveningen - especially during the winter. There really isn't much happening. Delft on the other hand has it all. It is one of the most charming cities in the Netherlands and the Nr. 1 HTM line goes from Delft to Scheveningen so you can take public transport to work if you want. Which is recommended. The rush hour traffic in The Hague is miserable.
posted by three blind mice at 8:08 AM on May 27, 2010

Best answer: I'm American and live in the Hague. Great place to live. What percentage of your time will you be traveling? If you will be in your Scheveningen office a significant portion of your time, I would not live too far, as its a pain to commute into Scheveningen - you have to drive through the Hague. That said another option would be Noordwijk, which would be pastoral and peaceful. If you want more City type landscape, atmosphere and amenties, you could try living in the Hague on the Tram 1 line (which goes directly to Den Hague HS train station and so is great way to get to Schiphol). I live in the Archipelbuurt and love it, but there are lots of great neighborhoods in the Hague. Alot of my single colleagues/friends live on Denneweg. Belgisch Park is a good neighborhood that is spacious, beautiful and pleasant AND very close to Scheveningen. Funda.nl is great for finding an apartment if you, like me are too cheap to pay for a maakelaarij; the market is down, so I would definitely negotiate price and be sure to insist on the diplomatic clause in your lease.

As far as food goes, you are in luck as the Hague is a great food town because there are so many expats, professionals, and government employees. Here are a list of my favs:

High tea: Hotel des Indes (it has to be done at least once)
Good continental (economical): Maxime (denneweg)
Excellent dutch: de Tapperij (Atjehstraat)
Seafood: Zout de Zee (off denneweg)
Tea: Lapsong (city center)
Good cafe food: t'Ogenblik (molenstraat, they serve glutenfree if that matters to you), Crunch on Piet Heinlaan (great for brunch, you'll feel like you are in San Francisco)
Decent hamburger (seems silly but hard to find in NL!): Andersens Keuken on Fredrickstraat
Japanese (yum!): Sushi Morikawa (Balistraat), Oni, and Sumo (both on Prinsestraat)

Wild game: Van Hoytemaplein
Meat: Van der Zalm (van Hoytemaplein), also the butcher in Bankastraat has really nice lamb from Textel, ie local
Cheese: Lots of great local cheese shops, not particularly differentiated
Chocolates: Jarreau (van Hoytemaplein, rumor has it this is where the queen gets her chocolates)
For fruits and veggies, local fruit stand or for quality and low price go to the Haagsche Markt on Saturday

Outpost (shell's expat newsletter is good for some events), also the Gemeente Den Haag website for expats - they have an expat desk if you need help, get confused or have a question.

mefimail me if you have any questions or want more tips...
posted by zia at 11:45 AM on May 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh! One more...

For seafood, go to the fishing harbour any day but Sunday 6 am to 11 am and get fresh fish off the boat.
posted by zia at 11:47 AM on May 27, 2010

Best answer: I concur with zia.
Minor additions:
- Le Fouquet is a pretty nice restaurant.
- Benoordenhout is not a bad neighbourhood since it's close to the railway station and thus to schiphol and is close to the beach and the dunes.
- you should be able to negotiate your lease since some companies are cutting down on their expats for financial reasons. As a result supply definitely surpasses demand.
- Voorschoten is a nice place outside of Den Haag closer to Schiphol. Haarlem and surroundings are pretty nice as well. Etc.
- get a bike
posted by joost de vries at 11:53 AM on May 28, 2010

Response by poster: Great stuff here - thanks all!

A bike is, of course, a given. Gave away my opa fiets when I left Amsterdam a few years ago, will definitely be one of the first purchases.
posted by Expat at 4:39 AM on May 29, 2010

Oh, and Wijs & zonen on the Denneweg is a great store for buying quality koffie and thee.
posted by joost de vries at 4:19 AM on June 2, 2010

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