The Crossing Borders Festival is one of the largest pop culture festivals in all of Europe. The annual festival focuses on providing exposure for up-and-coming acts in the music and literary world. The event is held in The Hague in the Netherlands and features acts from all over the world, providing an exciting opportunity to discover new artistic voices.
It is held in The Hague one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Having already visited Amsterdam and Rotterdam, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, especially since The Hague is home to the world court in addition to being the seat of the the Dutch parliament. There is an amazing diversity of cultures, religions and ethnicities that co-exist here: Jewish, Chinese, Surinamese, Antillean, Indonesian and Muslim to name a few. It is a dutch city with a distinctive character, all its very own. It is different to its neighbours; Leiden and Delft. The heart of the city is not cramped or locked down by extensive canalways. It is a city of contrasts: the medieval heart of the city is at variance with the modern skyscrapers and Parliament buildings that emblazon the skyline. When you visit The Hague be prepared to sample a Dutch city with a difference!
Tips and Insights
The Hague is the place of conglomeration of some of the world’s top museums. The Royal Picture Gallery Mauristhuis should be your first stop. If you love the Dutch paintings such as The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt or The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer, you will find them here. It was recently reopened and it looks amazing. Other notable museum stops include Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (a repository of the largest Mondrian collection in the world), Haags Historisch Museum (showcasing the history of The Hague and it’s people), and The Prison Gate Museum (documenting seven centuries of political and criminal history of the city). The Hague- Delft City Pass is a wonderful way to save on entry into these attractions and much more.
Go to the Palace Promenade, an indoor shopping mall that is open every day of the year and that will enable you to indulge in a little retail therapy whatever the weather.
Walk the grand boulevard that is the Lange Voorhout. Its rows of linden trees were first planted by Emperor Charles V, and are supposed to have inspired the layout of Berlin’s great boulevard Unter den Linden.
Visit one of the few surviving canals in The Hague that has survived from the 19th century: most were drained to make way for more building land as the city expanded. The few canals left form a rough ring around The Hague’s old heart and were constructed as part of the city’s defense system in the early 17th century. Lots of eye candy here: canals are lined with trees and elegant mansions ( including the house of the WW1 spy Mata Hari) built in Baroque, Neo-Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles.
Have a Coffee and Rent a Bike at Lola Bikes & Coffee
In need of a respite to rest your weary feet? Look no further! Lola Bikes & Coffee has been awarded the title of best coffee bar in the Netherlands! Not only is the best coffee served here, but their bikes are equally as special. So why choose coffee and bikes? The owner is passionate about both. And that is something you feel as soon as you enter the café.
Noordeinde 91 2514 GD The Hague
The cycling tour gives you a great perspective of the city in a short period of time. Highlights of the tour was the Gothic Ridderzaal (a great hall, literally Knight’s Hall) that today forms the centre of the Binnenhof, the oldest parliament building in use in the world today (1280) Every third Tuesday of September, on Prinsjesdag, this is where the King holds his annual Speech from the Throne. You can also spot in the background the gilt Neo-Gothic fountain that adorns the courtyard.
In front of the Binnenhof you have also the opportunity to sample the famous local delicacy: herring. Raw. Yes, you are herring me right. It was really tasty. You dip the fish in some diced raw onion, pick it up by the tail, tilt your head back and eat it in one delicious gulp. If you like sushi you will love this.
Eat at Little V
Discover surprising Vietnam at Little V. Little V stands for “Little Vietnam.” But the ‘V’ also stands for ‘Surprise’. If you want to taste the amazing cuisine of Vietnam, then visit Vietnamese restaurant Little V.
Rabbijn Maarssenplein 21
2512 HJ Den Haag
+31 70 392 1230
Coffee at Hop & Stork
In August last year Hop & Stork opened its shop in the oldest and most impressive shopping arcade in the Netherlands, The Hague Passage. In this listed building Hop & Stork appeals to all the senses with artisan products made of chocolate and coffee.
2511 AE The Hague
+31 70 345 54 55
The Humanity House
The Humanity House is a unique museum designed to make you empathise with the plight of a refugee. Experience how it is to be caught up in a disaster or conflict in Humanity House. Walk in the shoes of a refugee through interactive exhibits, debates and interviews.
Top Festival Tip
At €50, the two day ticket represents amazing value. While you can come here for just the one day for €30, I think the 2 day ticket is worth every penny. Soak in the sights and flavours of Hague by the day and enjoy a culture fest of immense proportions by night: this is one weekend you won’t forget for awhile.
My Personal Highlight
I have never been to this kind of festival before so listening to writers open up about the life and work was an eye opener. It is quite scary at first because a lot of the stuff they’re talking about really strikes a chord. As someone who writes for a living it was quite liberating , nourishing and a total privilege to listen to them bare their souls and give insight into the wondrous world.
Find out more here…