The Hague is a compact city where residents can get around on foot quite easily. The public transport network is efficient and simple to use. While owning a car is not a necessity, many families choose to have their own vehicles for convenience.
In terms of air travel, Rotterdam The Hague Airport serves the region and is located about 12 miles (20km) from The Hague city centre. The city-wide public transport system consists of the light rail, trams and buses that connect the various districts.
Public transport in The Hague
Public transport in The Hague is largely operated by HTM Personenvervoer NV, commonly referred to as HTM. Transport companies Arriva and Connexxion also operate bus and tram lines in the region, along with RET (Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram). Their websites and apps provide up-to-date information on transport regulations, schedules and routes.
The public transport system in the Netherlands is integrated and passengers can use the services via the OV-chipkaart system. The OV-chipkaart is a smart card which can be tapped as passengers enter and exit a bus, tram or train. This card system is used all over the Netherlands, making it easy to travel between different cities. There is a variety of cards available.
Buses offer an extensive service throughout the city and are mostly used to travel between districts and larger areas in The Hague. HTM's bus fleet boasts more than 100 buses, including eight electric buses across 10 bus lines with night services on certain days.
The 12 tram lines in The Hague offer fast and efficient services, and are used by more than 275,000 passengers a day. Schedules vary according to the route but are regular and run on time, serving both the central and surrounding areas and suburbs.
All trams are easily accessible for passengers, including those with disabilities.
The Hague’s tram fleet consists of the modern red and grey Avenio urban trams and the GTL red and beige trams connecting the city with Rijswijk, Voorburg, Leidschendam and Delft. The RandstadRail light rail trams also operate in the city and consist of a combined metro, light rail and tram network. These are white and blue, and connect with Rotterdam by the RET metro line E from Den Haag Centraal.
The Hague proudly operates a self-driving minibus known as the HagaShuttle. This service operates exclusively for patients and visitors to the Haga Hospital (Leyweg) connecting with the bus and tram stop on the Leyweg.
The two main railway stations in The Hague are Den Haag Centraal and Den Haag HS.
Using the train is often the best option for journeys to destinations outside The Hague. The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) has a comprehensive network that stretches across the entire country and also connects other countries, including Belgium and Germany.
Taxis in The Hague
While travelling by taxi can be expensive, the fare structure implemented throughout the Netherlands means that passengers can’t be overcharged by drivers. To avoid potential overcharging, we advise expats to only use authorised taxis, recognised by their blue number plates.
Instead of hailing a taxi on the street, expats should call ahead to reserve a cab, find them at designated taxi stands or use ride-hailing applications such as Uber.
Driving in The Hague
Most residents use public transport, but those who want to explore the Netherlands might find it useful to have a car. The roads are excellent and because of the relatively small size of the country, most places are easily reachable.
To drive in the Netherlands, expats must check whether their driving licence is valid. Expats should also note that parking is limited in The Hague and can be expensive. We recommend that expats who live in an area where paid parking is in place apply for a resident parking permit.
Getting a car
Expats can buy, ship over or rent a car in The Hague. Those who opt to buy or bring one over must follow the necessary procedures as per the RDW (Rijksdienst voor het Wegverkeer), the national vehicle authority. Several car rental agencies operate in The Hague and generally ask for the car to be returned with a full tank if it was received that way.
The Netherlands is making great efforts to become greener, and as such electric cars are becoming increasingly popular. While being more environmentally friendly, they have additional benefits such as tax incentives. Expats who drive an electric car in The Hague can find a charging point or request a charging station from the municipality to be placed in their area.
Park and Ride
In their efforts to reduce car use, traffic congestion and pollution, The Hague is home to several Park and Ride facilities, where drivers can park their vehicle in a large garage and continue their journey to the city centre or Scheveningen using public transport connections, such as trams.
Cycling in The Hague
Locals love to cycle, and expats will find this is a fast and cost-effective way to get around. Expats can rent bicycles in The Hague – the OV-fiets or the red and white HTM Fiets rental bike are the popular options, available at major railway stations. These can be rented using the OV-chipkaart for a small fee, and if they are returned to a different station an additional fee is usually charged.
Second-hand bikes are cheap to buy, and The Hague’s cycling infrastructure is very good. Expats who buy a new bike are recommended to get insurance for it. Unfortunately, bike theft is a problem in the Netherlands, so expats should ensure that their bicycles are always locked up safely.
Be sure to check if there are signs that forbid the parking of bikes in a certain area – otherwise, it's normal to securely lock up a bike around a tree or permanent object as well as bike stands.
Bikes are generally not allowed on trams and buses, though in some instances folding bikes are permitted, and there are rules when taking a bike on a train.
The ubiquity of bicycles in the Netherlands means that children start learning to cycle from a young age. Many schools offer cycling activities and help children become familiar with the rules of the road and how to get around by bike.
Walking in The Hague
Aside from the cycle culture, The Hague city centre is easily walkable. Residents enjoy strolling along the shop-lined streets and taking in some major landmarks such as Binnenhof, which houses the Dutch Prime Minister's office, and the Mauritshuis art museum. Getting around on foot is one of the best ways to explore the city and discover its hidden gems and great traditional pubs or cafes.
It's easy to walk from A to B around The Hague, but taking a tram is best for covering longer distances.
►Transport and Driving in the Netherlands gives more information about driving licences and how to get around the country
Are you an expat living in The Hague?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to The Hague. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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