I was born in Groningen and raised in The Hague, but it never really felt like my town. It was more formal and there was not really a beating heart to it. Later on, I realized I had to read between the lines to understand it.
The Hague has always had a certain energy. In the 1960s, it outshone Amsterdam with pop music, featuring groups such as the Golden Earring – who are still playing, perhaps the longest living rock band still at work. Then the city gave birth to Indorock – a mix of Indonesian and western music.
In the 1980s, Den Haag was the cradle of the Dutch graphic design movement – partly because the Dutch government was based there. It was the Golden Age of design and, having just started working as a photographer, I became deeply involved. The designers all worked in the sandy soil part of the city; almost as if there was more light energy there.
I also began to appreciate the silence of The Hague. Its residents are polite and it is much quieter than other similar-sized cities. All the government workers from all over The Netherlands, as well as the many expats, also add to the creative energy. And there’s no city with so many parks or that is so gently connected to the seaside.
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