I’m just back from a shopping trip to The Hague, in the Netherlands. Not just any kind of ‘High Street shopping trip’ though, this was a look at the independent shops of The Hague, and an opportunity to meet the owners and creators who have realised their dreams to make them a success.
It was November, the Thursday and Friday of Black Friday weekend. The Hague shops were gearing up towards one of the biggest weekends of the year, although, on the Thursday they remained tight lipped about the deals of the Big Day. Turns out the independent shops of the The Hague are a great place for some discount shopping, with some shops slashing prices by upto 40%.
But that’s Black Friday in the Hague, which shops should be on the Hague shopping list for the rest of the year?
– Bar en Zo in The Hague
If you want to shop in the Hague, at any time of year, here are some of the coolest shops to steer you away from the High Street. They also make for a great sightseeing route around The Hague, to fit in some of those iconic buildings and views too.
If you’re going shopping in the Hague, the Hofkwartier area needs to be on your radar. It’s made up of a few streets right near Grote Market, the main hangout area of the city. It’s also just a few roads back from the hotel I stayed at too, Zeta Beds (more on that below).
In the Hofkwartier I met Michael Barnaart, one of The Hague’s most influential fashion designers. He sells knitwear dresses and accessories and has two shops next to each other in the area.
This paint drip dress is his iconic statement piece and has been worn by many an important person in the Hague. You can order it in whichever colours you like, to make sure you’re the only one with that particular design.
Lots of Goodies
Just a few shops up, and over the road, Lots of Goodies is a womenswear store filled with the latest fashions. Definitely had my eye on the Teddy coats in there – seen so many people wearing them this year.
The store is the shop window (obvs literally) for their internet store. Apparently shoppers come from all over the country to see the notoriety they’ve built up online for themselves.
They also had the cutest dog, which has totally sent me down a black hole of now wanting a daschund doggy. I’ve even named my imaginary doggy – Dash, after the kid on The Incredibles.
On the same street Wiezewasjes was filled with great jewellery. All the rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings you could ever want are sold here. And, if you’re around for Black Friday, make sure you go there. Amazing deals all round!
Irene set up Lady Africa as a place for people to take African style, and incorporate it in their every day Dutch fashion. From subtle dresses to all out muted dresses to all out traditional chitenje (the word for the coloured fabric in Malawi, as I learned on my recent trip there), Lady Africa is the top place in The Hague to buy your African print from.
Irene is lovely and told us the story of how one day, a glamorous looking woman came in with her friends to enjoy the styles. She later realised it was only the actual QUEEN of the Netherlands. She bought a few pieces, loved them, wore them and the store gained more recognition in the process.
Inproc Tea and Coffee
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone with quite so much energy at 5pm as Krista, the owner of Inproc Tea and Coffee. I actually had to ask her if she’d been on the high strength coffee all day as she was just a bundle of energy where I was wilting from the day. Turns out she was a coffee shop owner’s daughter, turned gymnast, turned PE teacher, turned same coffee shop owner.
She just naturally has a lot of energy.
She’s also passionate about tea and coffee and super enthusiastic. We tried a few different coffees, but with the time (5pmish), I didn’t want to go nuts. I could tell this was the good stuff that would keep me up.
I ended up buying a metal straw to drink my coffee out of. I’m a black Americano kinda girl and I’m worried about the colour of my teeth.
Haven’t used it yet, but one day. Nice little souvenir from a fun hour spent in a coffee shop.
Bar en Zo
If you want to shop for plants in The Hague, check out Bar en Zo.
The owner and his partner wanted to create an oasis of calm and tranquility reflected in the treasures here. So many gorgeous things.
Bar en Zo is kind of a clothes shop cum botanicals centre cum furniture store. I would happily have any of this in my house. Such nice pieces but just wouldn’t travel well back on the plane – next time I could get the Eurostar to Amsterdam instead of a flight.
I ended up buying a cool shirt in here, with anchors and sails on. Perfect for Portsmouth, in spring.
The Namaste Cafe
The Namaste Cafe was up next. A great use of a space with yoga, massage, a cafe and a spiritual shop where you can learn more about the ancient practices while sipping on a calming tea.
This is such a lovely space and had lots of pretty things to buy, from India. Ira, the owner told us how there are a lot of creative, spiritual and independent businesses around here, and if you look on a map, they’re built on the lines coming from The Hague’s Peace Palace. Interesting!
Next up, just around the corner, is the Edwin Pelser interiors store. It was all sleek, simple, modern in here with some beautiful designs with totally out of my reach price tags. Nice to look around though, and dream. One day.
Of all the shops in the Hague I visited, Wauw was my favourite. SO many things I wanted to buy in here. I definitely could’ve spent a lot of money.
They had a whole room of fabulous Christmas decorations at the back of the store, and in the front – ceramic animal heads, sequinned flamingos, globes, candles, jewellery boxes, and everything you could want to furnish your home, well, my home. Loved this place.
Also, the jewellery here was lush. Bought myself a gold bracelet as a treat.
I forgot my purse the first time I went, gutted. And so had to go back when Ben arrived at the weekend to pick up some of the treasures I’d seen.
The staff in here were very, err… direct. They told Ben off for making a noise, and then accused me of not having any money in my bank, and then having cards which didn’t work (I’d used them everywhere else), in a very awkward way. It was kind of the latest in a line of what I’d consider ‘rude’ from waiting staff and retail workers. I looked up whether it was a thing or they just hated us. Apparently it is, it’s called Dutch directness, and us polite British fairies get upset.
Just like I did.
So if you feel like The Hague in general isn’t quite as polite as you’d expect back home, that’s why. Get used to it!
The Hague Market
The Hague Market – known locally as De Haagse Markt – is one of the largest multicultural markets in all of Europe. You’ll find antiques, new goods, crafts, food and plants here. Sadly we didn’t have time to go, but I can’t write a shopping guide to the Hague without a mention!
Hague High Street shopping
– Bar en Zo, again
Of course, if you want a fix of the High Street, Grote Marktstraat has all the favourites you’ve come to love. Stradivarius (personal fave), Primark, Topshop and Zara are nestled among your favourites in the city. Check out de Bijenkorf Den Haag too – it’s the Netherlands’ favourite department store.
If you’ve come to The Hague to shop, then you should check out The Nieuwe Haags Passage too. A covered hypermodern indoor shopping arcade, it’s filled with quality stores and has an impressive ceiling you need to see. Also, if you go in winter, there’s a huge Christmas tree at the end too.
Where to stay in the Hague
Hague Tourism booked me into Zeta Beds, one of the newest hotels in The Hague’s portfolio. It used to be a hostel but now it’s a super trendy, hipster place right in the centre of Grote Markt, which is the centre of The Hague.
The location was perfect for shopping.
It was easy to get to Hofkwartier and Denneweg, just by walking. Zeeheldenkwartier was only a few minutes walk away and there’s a tram and train stop right outside to get around easily.
My room was basic – with tea facilities, TV, a chair and two single beds – and roomy. I liked the white vibe and there was a great shower.
I had the terrace room, although it was far too cold to be sitting out on that at the end of November.
All the rooms are different in this bespoke hotel, so you can book one to suit your budget. Have a look at the Zeta Beds listing on Booking.com to see the awesome rooms they have, and to check the prices for your dates.
How to get to the Hague
As I suggested up there ^ somewhere, if you’re serious about shopping in The Hague, you could think about getting the Eurostar to Amsterdam from London. You’ll come into Amsterdam Centraal Station and from there, it’s a 30-minute train ride to The Hague Centraal.
Or, you can fly.
I flew from Southampton to Amsterdam at 7am and landed at 8:30am. From Gatwick, it takes around 1 hour and 20 mins.
From Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, it’s just a 30-minute train to the centre of The Hague. I then took a tram about 5 minutes to Gros Markt to get to the hotel above. It was a 5-minute walk from there.
So easy to get to the centre of The Hague from England.
When to go shopping in The Hague
I reckon the best time to go shopping in The Hague would be April to October, if you’re looking for the nice weather. Added benefit of April would be the fact you could check out the tulips the Netherlands is so famous for too.
December is great if you’re looking for a festive experience, although you need to go after the 5th for the full effect. Dutch tradition says it’s bad luck to celebrate beforehand.
And then, if you want the best deals, do as I did and go over Black Friday. Prepare for the queues though!
Shopping in The Hague is great – so much variety there in just the relative handful of shops we saw. If you want to go on a special shopping trip, different to the shopping you have at home, I 100% recommend The Hague. Shopping independent is more varied, more fun, makes for great presents, and supports a shop owner in their passion and dream.
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More on the Netherlands
Amsterdam is only an hour away…