Why Den Haag is a fantastic introduction to continental touring
Den Haag is the only city on our range of destinations where we promote it as the antithesis of another.
Nearby Amsterdam sends shivers down the spine of most caring Mothers & reluctant safeguarding officers, so we cast the net wider some time ago to find our go-to location in the highly sought-after Netherlands.
We’ve been sending youth teams to Den Haag since Day One & it will take some knocking off our list of go-to destinations. The city is a fantastic introduction to continental touring for a number of reasons. Logistically, having ferry terminals a short bus-journey to the north & south makes it as easy to get to as some further flung UK bases. A range of well-priced Hostel & Hotel accommodation sits it alongside some UK destinations in terms of effect on the wallet, but mostly, the relaxed nature of the city means that tour leaders can relax in the knowledge that the temptations of the bigger city to the north are few and far between here.
Once you’ve arrived in the city, you’ll start to see what we’re shouting about. The city is beautiful. The cycle filled gothic streets bustle with life & you’d be forgiven to think you’ve woken up in a Hans Christian Anderson tale. A team photo with the backdrop of the Binenhof & its regal lake is a must & will re-assure parents at home that some culture is being endured. Another obligatory venture on any DH Tour is to spend an evening at Scheveningen. Before you can pronounce it, you’ll see this lively beach resort, a mere 3km hop from central Den Haag, is a superb place for dinner, some beach rugby, a drink & offers the ideal foil to let the kids off the leash and enjoy the attractions akin to any popular beach resort. Our favourite eatery on the seafront is Twins Beach Club. A private Chef puts together a BBQ Buffet – what better set-up for a team dinner than to sit, eat meat & watch the waves crash in.
It isn’t often that our clients return to the same city, but Den Haag is one which is a popular & safe ‘banker’ every few years for several Colts teams who see their tour now as a right of passage into adult rugby.
Rugby in the Netherlands has been bubbling on the surface for some time. The national side have been hopping between Tiers 2-4 of the European Circuit for a generation. However, below this, new clubs & new youth sections are popping up like mushrooms. There is no real ‘hotbed’ of Rugby in the country, the game is pretty much played evenly across the nation. However, being based in Den Haag is a great place to start when looking for good clubs. Within a 45-minute radius of the city, the options are aplenty. The cities main club, RC Haagsche, have a facility which will make most British clubs green with envy. They regularly compete at the top level of the game at all ages & are a worthy opponent for touring sides looking at a challenge on the road. Nearby, RC Bassets, RC T’Werwe, RC Hookers & RC Delft are all nearby and all are exceptional hosts.
We used to say that what the Dutch clubs lack on the field, they make up for it off it, however, we’ve learnt that does a disservice to both – the playing ability is far greater, but the hospitality is as good as anywhere else.
What would be a tour without some team building action. Our biggest tip would be the North-Sea power boats which depart from Scheveningen and rip through the waves up and down the coastline. If the weather plays ball, spending the rest of the afternoon on the beach makes for a cracking day out. We also highly recommend a day out in the capital. A day up here can start with a visit to the Clara Maria Clog Farm. The suggestion may be met with groans of disappointment, but it is one of those which just works. Once in the big city, a trip on a boat on the canals, a visit to Madame Tussauds or the Amsterdam Dungeon followed by dinner at the Hard Rock Café finishes the Amsterdam experience up just nicely.
Den Haag will always sit high on our list of recommendations. Our expert on the city is our Youth Tours guru Jamie, who has spent a great deal of time chaperoning teams throughout the Netherlands. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org, he’d always be happy to talk through the ins and outs of this great destination.