Less debauched than Amsterdam and steeped in more history than Rotterdam, The Hague, or Den Haag as it's known to locals, is home to the royal family. It's also the seat of Dutch government and is packed with pretty buildings, museums, a lively bar scene and a fun-filled waterfront that overlooks the North Sea.
The Peace Palace, also called Vredespaleis, is where the UN's court of International Justice is held. You can visit it by joining a guided tour, but it's worth noting that no tours take place when the court is in session. The grand old building was donated by American steel maker Andrew Carneige.
A museum that's located inside a small but stunning 17th century mansion, Mauritshuis has artwork on show by some of the finest Dutch and Flemish painters from the 15th century onwards. It's home to some of the world's most famous Johannes Vermeer paintings, including Girl with a pearl Earring, and a few contemporary highlights too, including artwork by Andy Warhol.
There's a lot of international cuisine that's done very well in Holland, particularly Indonesian and Surinamese thanks to former Dutch colonies in those parts of the world. If you're looking for particularly local delights, don't miss Bitterballen: hot little croquette balls filled with paste-like meat, deep fried and served with mustard; or some fries with mayonnaise.
Head to Scheveningen where you'll find a long pier overlooking the North Sea. Somewhat kitschy, there's a casino, amusement arcades, bungy jumping, restaurants and an aquarium, and of course the beach. While Holland isn't exactly renowned for its good weather, the long strip of sand draws in large crowds in the warmer months and it's an easy 15-minute tram ride to reach the sand from downtown Des Haag.
Out of town
Just a 10-minute train ride from Den Haag is the pretty town of Delft, home to Delftware - the distinctive blue and white pottery you'll see absolutely everywhere. It's also the town where old Dutch master Vermeer lived and you can find out more about him at the Vermeer Centre(vermeerdelft.nl).