I was looking at Eurostar, as I want to go to Berlin at some time to see the new museum.
When I went to The Netherlands last time on the train, I had to wait for about an hour in Brussels to buy a ticket to get to Den Haag, as it was impossible to buy one before I left London. Now though you can buy a ticket from London to any Dutch station. All you have to do is get to Brussels Midi and then take a Dutch domestic service within 24 hours! The rules for return, are that you can take any Dutch domestic service that arrives within 24 hours of your Eurostar departure.
That sounds like a really sensible way of travelling. You could catch the next train to say Rotterdam and save time or you could catch a morning train to Brussels, have a look round the city and perhaps have a good lunch as I did in the spring and then take an evening train across the border.
It would seem to be cheaper too, as my ticket last time to Den Haag from Brussels and back would have cost 60 Euros in Standard Class. Looking today and going in a couple of weeks, it looks like I can do the whole journey both ways for about £120 or less. That price was for next week, so I suspect, you could beat that if you booked further in advance.
Incidentally going by Thalys to say Amsterdam from Brussels on the same dates, doesn’t have a very good choice of trains and costs twice the price! I suspect you might save a few minutes on the journey, but because of the connections, you would probably have to leave London an hour or so later. That is not my style, as I’ve always been one for an early start! I always think that you can get a good lunch in Brusssels anyway. Or you could visit the falcons in the cathedral.
It all sounds to be a good deal to me! But one that won’t be too good to be true!
Here are a few pictures of Den Haag HS station.
Note the double-deck trains.
Outside of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Den Haag is this sculpture.
Is it a V-2 exploding on takeoff?
Because it is in the area that was devastated by RAF bombing, as they tried to stop the missiles.
If you cycle towards Scheveningen past the prison and the barracks, there is a building on the eastern side of the road, that looks like a station. We see old stations all over the UK that have been converted into houses and although it’s a different style, it has the same aura.
When I got back I looked it up and found that there used to be a railway that ran from the main line from Den Haag to Amsterdam, through Wassenaar to a station by the beach at Scheveningen. As I had thought, the railway had run where the road is now.
It was the site with the map that told me the dark secret, that few know about. Den Haag was the launching point for all of the V-2 rockets that the Nazis sent towards London. A lot were fired from a beautiful estate called Duindigt, near the racecourse. It ended up being totally destroyed by Allied bombing and V-2′s that exploded on takeoff.
Nearly three thousand died in 1944, in London due to these weapons. But not as many as about 20,000 concentration camp inmates, who died making the weapons. Even the Dutch suffered greatly, as the weapons misfired and hit local targets, the Nazis executed anybody for the most trivial of reasons and the Allies destroyed parts of Den Haag by mistake as they tried to stop the launching of the rockets.
War is never the simple business it is made out to be.
You may not have noticed, but I don’t like places being given two names. That is why this post is called Den Haag and not The Hague.
These are some pictures that I took over the weekend.
I took this picture of a parakeet at a bird feeder in the garden of the house where I stayed in Den Haag.
Unfortunately, by the time I’d got the camera sorted, the rose-ringed parakeet had flown. That’s what birds do! They fly.
But I did get this picture of several parakeets in the garden.
There is quite a few references to parakeets in Den Haag on the Internet. They’ve been in Holland for some time.