With the upcoming Open Monument Day in the Hague, you might be wondering what is worth seeing during this weekend (September 14 & 15, 2019) when many famous historic places open up their doors to the public for free. As a self-confessed history geek, it’s one of my favorite public holidays of the year. Last year, I spent the whole weekend exploring the Hague during this weekend, so I hope that these recommendations make your Open Monument Weekend worthwhile.
Tips for attending open monument day
Carefully check the website (omddenhaag.nl) [Dutch only] for when the attractions are open. Some are only open for one day during Open Monument Day (it’s a weekend) while others tend to be open throughout the rest of the year, so it’s worth saving these Hague attractions for another day. You can click here for the complete brochure, which shows all the attractions open for 2019!
Arrive early for the most popular attractions as they will be crowded. I arrived at the opening time for the Royal Waiting Room last year, which was a treat to see. It wasn’t too busy here, however, the group was nice and small, partially as we arrived early.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. This is an important note as you might spend quite a bit of time waiting around to get inside. Similarly, many historic buildings have stairs, so it’s best to dress for comfort, not fashion!
Skip the things typically museums or included in the Museumkaart (Gevangspoort, Museum Meermanno, and the Hague Historical Museum). Although free admission is nice, the museums will be quite crowded.
If you don’t have a bike in the Hague, I strongly recommend renting a bike in the Hague for the day as many of the sites are further apart.
the best places in the hague to visit on open monument day
binnenhof, ridderzaal, the old library, & eerste kamer
One of the highlights of Open Monument Day in the Hague for me and my friend had to be seeing the interior of the Binnenhof. Much of the building is open to the public from the stunning interior of the Eerste Kamer (seen above), the beautiful old library inspired by Chinese designs, the Tweede Kamer where all the action happens, and the interior of the Ridderzaal. We spent a few hours here enjoying the interiors–and it’s definitely worth the wait. Avoid bringing large bags as you will need to go through security to enter the building.
Although many of the hofjes are open during other times on the year, I always love an excuse to visit Hofje van Wouw and Hofje van Nieuwkoop. Hofje van Nieuwkoop is one of the largest courtyards in the Netherlands and it is stunning to visit. It’s a bit out of the way, but worthwhile. Hofje van Wouw is stunning and rarely open, so take this opportunity to peek inside. They sometimes have music on Open Monument Day.
bunkers in scheveningen/kijkduin
Although you can visit the various bunkers left over from the Atlantic Wall throughout the year, if you’re a World War II history junkie, you’ll love Open Monument Day. Most of the Nazi bunkers from this period are opened for free to the public. You can visit these bunkers at other points during the year (typically on Sundays), but it’s a nice chance to get inside without paying a fee.
Royal waiting room (Holland spoor)
My other favorite from Open Monument Day in the Hague had to the Royal Waiting Room at Holland Spoor. At a time when railway travel was still glamorous, this is where the royal family would wait prior to catching their trains. Today, it’s mostly opened for special occasions, but it’s absolutely stunning. We arrived early and it was the least popular attraction that we visited. We had to ask a few people before finding the entrance, close to the first track. Go immediately up the stairs and you’ll be able to wait for a small group!