Sidetrip to the Hague
The seat of Dutch government, the royal family, the International Criminal court, and the country’s diplomatic community, this city is a jewel that’s an easy half-hour train ride from Amsterdam Centraal. It’s smaller in size than the capital but, many say, far more sophisticated. Tour the Mauritshuis, formerly a regal home, which holds in one room the two arguably greatest works Johannes Vermeer painted—Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft—then stroll the Binnenhof, a series of medieval hunting lodges that evolved over the centuries into the government headquarters. And don’t miss the Gemeentemuseum, which owns the world’s largest collection of works by Mondrian and many by M. C. Escher, and is housed in the venerated 20th-century Dutch architect H. P. Berlage’s architect. Getting there requires just a 50-minute train ride from Amsterdam Centraal Station.