Why you should consider buying a house in The Hague
The Expat Mortgages team consists of experienced independent mortgage advisors, located in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and The Hague, specialising in helping expats navigate home buying in the Netherlands.
Although tourists all flock to the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, locals say that you if you want to live like a king, The Hague is where you want to be. After all, the Dutch king has a palace there – two, in fact.
A place to live
The Netherlands’ third-largest city isn’t just home to Dutch royals and the government. It’s also the only bustling city centre where you can learn to surf; it has an 11 km sandy coastline. You’ll find 180 different nationalities amongst the city’s 540.000 residents, and more than 200 international organisations and NGOs are located there, but people from The Hague stress that this is a place to live.
Officially the city has never been granted city rights, and many people love its village-y feel. “The vibe is laid back,” stresses Stephania Ammerlaan-Beeke, a mortgage consultant specialising in The Hague. “Yes, it has our government and administration but this is where you come home and enjoy family life and the beach. We do have areas to go out and the convenience of a big city, but please, no rush!”
The Hague’s facilities are impressive, though. According to Stefan Hegels, spokesperson for The Hague & Partners, which promotes the city, it has 116.000 trees, plentiful parks and squares, and one of Europe’s greenest urban environments. “Nature is really close: on the northern and southern sides, the city is enclosed by a national park, National Park Hollandse Duinen, which is a protected natural habitat where you can walk and cycle,” he says.
Diverse and expat-friendly
A 45-minute or so commute to Amsterdam and nearby big recruiters such as Shell, in Rijswijk, is another draw for international workers, alongside the city’s own governmental institutions.
“We have more than 50.000 expats, and about 10% of the people who live here come from abroad: it’s a really lively city as far as that goes,” he adds. “You see that in the image of the city and what it offers on a culinary level; there are many restaurants and the city is home to one of the world's largest outdoor markets."
This diversity is reflected in the more than 11 international schools as well – a great perk for expats, especially while the Dutch education sector is struggling with resources and severe teacher shortages. There are also an estimated 3.750 international students studying at Leiden University’s campus The Hague and The Hague’s university of applied sciences.
The popular neighbourhoods
Ammerlaan-Beeke says there are particularly attractive houses on offer near some of these schools. “Many of the schools are located in a really nice area, the Statenkwartier, towards Scheveningen and the beach,” she says. “Houses there are well-kept and good in terms of size, with luxurious bedrooms and high ceilings. You need to pay between 500.000 euros and 1 million euros, but you’ll get quality for your money.”
Other areas popular amongst expats are the Archipelbuurt, which has a village-y feel, and Loosduinen, a family-oriented area near the southern part of the beach. Bezuidenhout also has characteristic 1930s homes, and the newly built Leidschenveen – near The British School in The Netherlands – has houses starting at 280.000 euros with plenty of modern conveniences.
A little help may be needed
More and more people are clearly waking up to the merits of buying a home in The Hague. Last year, prices rose by just over 9%, and figures from Rabobank now put the average cost of a home at 320.000 euros – third priciest in the country, although more affordable than the eye-watering 473.000 euros average price in Amsterdam.
This means that if you’re serious about buying in The Hague, after checking what you can realistically borrow, you should probably enlist the help of a real estate agent. Bernadette Willems, owner and director of BW Housing estate agents, expresses that a good agent will help you find the home that suits you – and give you candid advice about what to avoid.
“The market, like Amsterdam, is booming,” she said. “That’s one reason you need an agent: all the agents know each other and it’s always a plus when you bring one. People look at a house with their emotions, but I will tell them if it is not the right house for them. And if people buy through me, even after they have bought, they can come to me if they have problems.”
Airs and graces
There is a certain set of airs and graces to The Hague, Ammerlaan-Beeke – a born and bred native – admits with a laugh. “A typical Hague thing is a dessert called Haagsebluf – a pink dessert with a lot of air that means to bluff. That’s how we look at ourselves, with a wink. We can certainly be posh and have a few airs!” But, she says, "such is the draw of the city."
Expats who move in will soon be just as proud and protective of their new home: “Expats in the Statenkwartier don’t move and want to protect it from the big bad outside. It gets in your blood!”
Expat Mortgages will be on hand to offer free advice to anyone interested in buying a house in The Hague at the IamExpat Fair in The Hague on November 9, 2019. They also offer regular housing workshops throughout the year.