Haagse Bos literally means The Hague's forest. Haagse Bos is the green gateway to The Hague. The forest consists of an extensive and centuries-old green landscape and is inextricably linked with the rich history of The Hague. The Hague forest makes an essential contribution to the green character of The Hague. The area is approximately 100 hectares in size and runs from Malieveld to the municipality of Wassenaar. There is a main pond at the centre of the forest. It is the perfect place for running, picnicking beside the water or walking between the beautiful old trees. Haagse Bos, like Central Park, is a green oasis in a big city.
Oldest forest in the Netherlands
The area once stretched from the Hoek van Holland past Amsterdam. Little remains of this primeval forest, except for Haagse Bos and Haarlemmer Hout. These two forests are therefore the oldest in the Netherlands. During the 16th and 17th centuries many trees in Haagse Bos were chopped down. To prevent this, the Act of Redemption (Acte van Redemptie) was drawn up and stated that no one had the right to chop down trees and that the forest could not be sold. Thanks to this act part of the oldest forest in the Netherlands, including Koekamp and Malieveld, has remained intact.
Malieveld originally formed part of Haagse Bos and still borders on the forest today. Nowadays it's a large grass field located opposite The Hague Central Station. It is a major venue for parties, funfairs, concerts and markets that are organised throughout the year. The Malieveld also frequently hits the news due the fact that it is a favourite place for protests and major manifestations.
Combined with Malieveld, Koekamp historically forms part of Haagse Bos. Originally, Koekamp was the hunting area of the Counts of Holland, who lived in the castle that forms the basis of the present day Binnenhof. Koekamp derives its name from the cows that grazed there and has retained its original function as an animal pasture. It is a forest park with large water features and a deer park where red deer and fallow deer roam. A number of storks also come to breed each year at Koekamp.
Huis ten Bosch Palace
Located in Haagse Bos, between Bezuidenhoutseweg and Benoordenhoutseweg, is Huis ten Bosch Palace. Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague has been the residential palace of the Dutch Royal Family since 1981. The palace is located in the Haagse Bos forest. The palace is one of three official residences of the Royal Family, the other two being Noordeinde Palace in The Hague and the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.
Haagse Bos is easy to reach by car and public transport. There are three parking options in the nearby area: on Bezuidenhoutseweg, under Malieveld and where Leidsestraatweg starts near Huis ten Bosch. You can also walk to Haagse Bos easily from Den Haag Central railway station.