"The stunning light." Benno Tempel, director of the Gemeentemuseum
, says that this is the most striking thing about The Hague. "It's because of the sea. Even in the city centre you notice it. It gives The Hague a lovely atmosphere. Living here is great, also because the city is spacious."
The sea has a strong pull for him. "I tend to steer clear of The Pier
and the boulevard in Scheveningen
, and usually use Strandslag
10. I sometimes relax at De Staat
beach pavilion on the South Beach (Zuiderstrand). But if I do end up on Scheveningen boulevard
, I really love Fat Mermaid. It reminds me of Los Angeles, but without the dunes."
He makes a point of emphasizing the art work Celestial Vault
by James Turrell in Kijkduin
. "It's exceptionally beautiful. I regularly go and admire it, even though it's slightly off my route.Museum Gems
As a museum director, Tempel has nothing but praise for The Hague as a museum city
. "There are a lot of little gems here. Small, unique museums. Escher in het Paleis
for example, and Panorama Mesdag
plus The Mesdag Collection
. On Lange Vijverberg I consider Museum Bredius and Galerij Prins Willem V very special. Very Haguesque, like that other chocolate box at The Hofvijver, is the Mauritshuis. Museums in The Hague are far less predictable than in other cities." He is particularly fond of Museum Voorlinden in neighbouring Wassenaar. "It's absolutely complete, and very well thought out. Almost Japanese." Non-conformist
According to Tempel, the art world in The Hague is special because it has everything. "Students at the Royal Academy
and top international museums, plus all the intermediate links in the chain. Places like Nest and West and Stroom are important for the development of art, as are DCR and Caballerofabriek. The lovely thing about The Hague is that it's non-conformist. In the same way that you can find the ambassador next to the man from Duindorp on the beach, everything here is possible in art." Dance in the moment
Besides visual art, modern dance also makes Tempel's heart beat faster. "I watch the NDT and dance performances in Korzo quite often. A painting is an image that you can easily remember, but dance is different. You're completely in the moment, more so than with any other art form. One blink and you miss the movement."
He also tries to keep up with other current art forms, especially at festivals
. "I love the unique offering of new music at Dag in de Branding
. I also really love TodaysArt, held at the end of September each year, which I usually get something out of." Delightfully oriental
There are even more senses to indulge: taste. Tempel says that the city has an abundance of great restaurants. He prefers to visit one where the cuisine is totally different than at home. "Mochi in the Mallemolen for instance, offers a lovely fusion of Latin-American and oriental. If you want to eat real Indonesian food then dine at The Raffles in Javastraat. It doesn't always have to be oriental though. Bøg in Prinsestraat
has some amazing Scandinavian dishes, for example."