One of my first memories regarding the Netherlands is “Hagelslag”, colorful, sugary sprinkles in all the flavors you could wish for. We were little and pimping our “boring” wholemeal bread with the local specialty made my little sis and me fall hard. We l o v e d the Netherlands. (Also, did I mention Vla?!).

Later came the fascination with all the great Dutch design, friendly faces, flowers and an abundant cultural scene. It admittedly was this way around, not the other (blame it on the sugar!). We were born and raised around an hour away from the Dutch border, so I frequently went to Holland for family or school trips and later as a teenager to some of the best concerts and parties with new and old friends. My affection grew. And even though I’d often to go visit Amsterdam, I somehow never made it to The Hague. Clearly it had been long overdue to pay the International Court of Justice’s hometown a visit.

(The Pier of Scheveningen)

The Hague is the only major Dutch city by the sea and the perfect medley of important metropolis with inhabitants and visitors from all around the world, surfer’s paradise and calm beach gem. Just so up my alley! Lucky to be invited by Visit The Hague  and the owners of the cutest beach houses, I was ready to explore. With some crazy months behind me the thought of waking up to the sound of the ocean and getting some rest filled my heart with anticipation, as if I could almost feel the wind at my hair and the sand under my feet. I was seeking calmness as well as inspiration, wanted to slow down, but not stand still. I packed my bags to go find that reset button.

(Spoiler: I found it.)

Owner Leef and his family work hard for their visitors to fully enjoy a stay in one of the 20 gorgeous cabins directly at the beach in Kijkduin, around 8 km away from the cities’ centre. The wooden houses look all tiny and cute from the outside but are spatial miracles, feeling light and breezy once you enter.

You can see the love and care put into every detail and find everything you need: comfy beds for up to 4 people, a small but well-equipped kitchen, a light-filled bathroom and a big table to gather with friends and family, have a romantic candle light dinner (with a lover or yourself) or write down your deepest thoughts, while looking at the ocean through the giant windows.

If it’s warm enough (or if you’re just really tough) you can also hang out on your own little front porch and admire the nature around you. Or go for a swim or surf session. A life in sync with the ocean and environment around is very important to Leef and his guests. The houses are all built out of sustainably sourced materials and perfectly nestled into the dunes, as if the two were made for each other.

I only stayed for the weekend, but my little crib quickly drew me into its peaceful, pastel-blue spell, becoming a home and calming me down. Being able to step outside for a walk along the water right after waking up is just a precious experience. Every time.

(Favourite way to get around!)

To get into the city I rented a bike from Biek Bikes, located just 5 minutes away from the beach houses. For just 10 Euro a day this will give you the real Authentic Dutch experience and bring you into the center in just half an hour, pretty lanes through the dunes and sore muscles included. If you are not that much of a bike lover there is a reliable public transport system in The Hague and a good parking option in case you come by car.

Downtown in The Hague is a perfect contrast to the quietness of the beach, all while staying accessible and friendly. There’s are metropolitan vibe with a tantalizing mix of languages and cultures which bring vitality to all the pretty coffeeshops, bars and restaurants. The Hague is, perhaps surprisingly so, a creative and diverse town. I also enjoyed some delicious food and next-level coffee, which never hurts. One of my favorites are Bookstor, a gorgeous coffeeshop filled with books and warm smiles and Lola Bikes and Coffee, where you can also get your bike fixed or buy pretty accessories for your two-wheeled friend.

(Bookstor is combining books and coffee – all you need)

Other than that I was more than ready to pamper myself and load-up on all the veggie-goodness: the Hague is just so full of options. Places like Foam offer a pretty location and tasty, locally-sourced food. My all-time favourite Sla, a pretty organic salad bar from Amsterdam also has a shop in The Hague, which I can only recommend paying a visit.

(Lunch at Foam)

For dinner I went to Hortus Restaurant, a vegetarian place with many vegan options and a menu in sync with the city, inspired by dishes from all around the world. The food was amazing and I left revitalized and happy. Another great option is The Leaf, where the owner still works in the kitchen himself everyday and loves to share his passion for tasty, vegetarian food.

(The Pier of Scheveningen hosts all kind of events all year long. )

(At the beachcomber shed kijkduin on the way into the city)

If you seek to enlighten not only your tastebuds, but your imagination and creativity, too, The Hague has got you covered. During very busy times I always miss going to the museum or cultural events and just get inspired by all the great ideas and artists out there. Being home to the old masters, as well as a vibrant contemporary art and design scene there are plenty of museums, galleries and cultural evens awaiting all year long. It’s just in The Hague’s DNA to have a real appreciation for art and culture and they are full of pride for export hits like Vermeer and Mondriaan. I was lucky to have the museums night happening, during my stay and surely recharged creatively, strolling through the greatest museums for a night.

Full of nature’s beauty, lovely encounters and fresh inspiration I finished my stay with a yoga class with the wonderful Anke, who founded a studio with her husband for all kinds of people to enjoy the healing power of yoga. What a perfect way to end the weekend.

And just when I locked the door behind me a splendid rainbow was shining through the greyish clouds over the ocean. Thank You, The Hague, I’ll take that as a sign that you want me to return.

And maybe you should too.

All photos © Tabea Mathern

Disclaimer: Thank You Visit The Hague and Haagse Strandhuisjes  for the invitation and the good times. All opinions and love declarations are my own.