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The app ‘Royal and Aristocratic Life’ will take you back in time. It shows you the how and where of life among the elite of Hague society. The tour starts at the Historical Museum of The Hague [Haags Historisch Museum], but you can pick up the trail at many other points such as the Huygensmuseum Hofwijck, Duivenvoorde Castle in Wassenaar, or at a convenient railway station. From this central location, the journey into the past follows a network of bicycle markers, the cycle junction network [fietsknooppunten]. It is best to explore the vicinity of the Voorhout (near bicycle marker 29) on foot; everything else is better done by bike. The total length of the route is about 60 kilometers, but it can be cycled in stages.

The app ‘Royal and Aristocratic Life’ may be downloaded free of charge. Can you find traces of royal and and aristocratic life behind the facades? Let your Smartphone be a time machine for your visit. Use it to take a peek inside the buildings to see what a house or place looked like long ago. With the app, colorful, historical figures will step into view and exciting events will be retrieved from obscurity.

The app contains historical images (paintings, drawings, photographs), video and sound.

Who were the occupants of the opulent houses on the Voorhout in The Hague? What was life like behind those ornate facades and on the lush estates in and around the city?

The Hague: home of the aristocracy, ‘court city’ or Hofstad, a town of counts and ladies, and later, of kings and queens. Ever since the 17th century, The Hague’s Voorhout was the meeting place of Holland’s richest and most powerful people: the noble and the beautiful, immensely wealthy and owners of vast tracts of land. The Hague was a town of distinguished regents and politicians and the Voorhout was the place to be seen, to party and conduct business, to gossip and to rendezvous.

However, in summer, the city was congested, malodorous and unhealthy, so the privileged class left town and traveled to country estates on the outskirts of The Hague and beyond - typically taking along the entire inventory of their town house, paintings included.

A country house could be a medieval castle, such as Duivenvoorde, a converted manor or farm, or a newly-built palace or mansion. The buildings had sumptuous interiors, proud facades and impressive gardens, and were fitted with all the latest conveniences. Each of these places has a story; each is the site of important and memorable events. Collectively, they are what makes The Hague so lush and green. Where Amsterdam has canals, The Hague has parks and estates. This route will lead you from the centrally located Voorhout and Vijverberg pond past the site of over forty country places and manors in The Hague, Wassenaar, Voorschoten, Leidschendam, Voorburg and Rijswijk, some of them still extant, others long gone.