CATCH QUESTION: what is the capital of the Netherlands? It is actually Amsterdam not the Hague, though the latter is the capital of South Holland province. But The Hague, the old royal residence, is still regarded as the seat of government and is the home of all diplomatic missions.
Perhaps above all it is a beautiful city all too often by-passed by English holiday-makers rushing south in search of the sun.
But if, like many, you've given up much hope of sun this year without having to go a long way, now might be the time to make up for possible past neglect of the ever-delightful Netherlands.
I wouldn't suggest staying in The Hague, but rather being near enough to savour its delights at leisure. For this purpose there could be no better place than the nearby seaside resort of Scheveningen.
I was there the other day after an absence of over 211 years.
Incredible difference, but ultra-modernity had not destroyed ancient beauty. Rather the opposite for Scheveningen has been "opened up", as have the middles of many British towns, by a new central square. You now have a magnificent view of the Kurhaus with, every way you look, a bewildering array of restaurants and shops.
Let no one say it's dull to dine out in Holland. Personally I like Dutch fare. But in Scheveningen you've g' `-• look hard to find it, so picot'..il arc the excellent (;reek, Yugoslavian, Mexican, and, of course, delicious Indonesian restaurants.
The temperature is much like that of Brighton but in Holland you get the advantage of
western exposure and on a sunny day there's no more delightful (if "bracing") swimming. You don't — as in the Mediterranean — feel lazy all day. And that suits some people fine.
Excellent hotels (best: Kurhaus Hotel with a fabulous new surfpool nearby). Then there's the hotel with the name that amuses the British: Badhotel. Near the beach and in no way bad. It is classified as First Class Reasonable, which means second class but quite adequate and not ruinously expensive.
Schevengingen has Holland's last pier, and it's a classic in its way. There's no language problem ( unless you attempt to get people to talk Dutch). The graceful Hague is only minutes away. The locals are helpful and charming. I can't recommend the Harwich-Hook boat too highly ; and of course Dutch trains are noiseless, frequent and fast.