Europe > Benelux > Netherlands > Western Netherlands > South Holland > Rotterdam-The Hague Metropolitan Region
Rotterdam-The Hague Metropolitan Region [dead link] (Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag or MRDH in Dutch) is the large metropolitan area around the cities Rotterdam and The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch). It is also a big part of the Southern Randstad (with other big cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht)
MRDH was first recognised officially on January 1, 2015, with the merging of the areas Haaglanden (Greater Hague) and Stadsregio Rotterdam (Rotterdam Urban Area, more common name Rijnmond, literally "Rhine Estuary")
This is where all the big waterways flow into the North Sea, which is also the location of one of the biggest sea ports of the world. The Hague is the seat of the Dutch parliament and government, and the future residence of King Willem-Alexander (the Royal Family lives also in the MRDH, but in Wassenaar). Besides Rotterdam and The Hague, Delft is a very popular city for tourists. Tourist can discover lots of other interesting places as it comes to culture, nature and recreation. Take the beaches and the dunes which are worthwhile a visit all the year round or discover the beauty of the typical Holland town Schiedam.
- 1 Rotterdam — a large economic center with modern architecture. The sea port with impressive large areas like Europoort and the Maasvlakte also belong to Rotterdam.
- 2 The Hague — Binnenhof, palaces, embassies and several international institutions. Also Scheveningen, the largest beach resort of the country, forms part of The Hague
- 3 Albrandswaard - consisting of the two old villages Rhoon and Poortugaal. Rhoon is known for its medieval white castle. Both villages have a small port at the river Old Meuse.
- 4 Delft — Delftware pottery and a historic town center
- 5 Hook of Holland – Seaport and beach resort by the North Sea (part of Rotterdam)
- 6 Leidschendam-Voorburg - typical municipality for the region with two little historic centers
- 7 Maassluis
- 8 Midden-Delfland - an open and wide rural area with picturesque villages in between The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam and Europoort
- 9 Rijswijk — a rapidly urbanized town near The Hague
- 10 Schiedam — the historic town famous for its jenever and the tallest historic windmills in the world
- 11 Vlaardingen
- 12 Wassenaar — dunes along the sea, home of the rich and the famous including the official residence of the Dutch royal family
- 13 Westland — mostly a rural area filled with greenhouses
- 14 Zoetermeer — Snow World, Dutch Water Dreams, Mormon Temple; a planned city with lots of modern architecture
Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTM IATA) is the only airport in the region. As Amsterdam Airport Schiphol which is about 45 km (28 mi) north of The Hague receive many more flights, it is the vastly preferable option for many conceivable itineraries even if you final destination is inside this region.
From Amsterdam and Schiphol there are frequent train services to The Hague, Delft and Rotterdam as well as to a few destinations in between like Schiedam. Most of these services are Intercity trains. Railway station Den Haag Centraal (the Hague) is also connected by so called Sprinters, more little trains who call at every station (and so are slower). Fastest to Rotterdam (Central Station) is Intercity Direct or Thalys. Intercity Direct is more attractive as in general this train is cheaper and travelers do not have to make a reservation. A supplement is required for the line from Schiphol to Rotterdam.
Rotterdam The Hague Airport is connected by a bus service to Rotterdam city which also forms a link to the Rotterdam-Den Haag metro line E.
- See also: Rail travel in the Netherlands
A slower but often much cheaper option from Antwerp and Brussels is the so called Intercity Brussels, see NMBS, which also stops at Mechelen. This train calls at Rotterdam and The Hague railway station Hollands Spoor.
Coming from Germany travelers always have to make an exchange in the Netherlands.
Traveling on the German high-speed train ICE from Cologne, Düsseldorf and Oberhausen, the exchange will be in Utrecht Centraal station, and comming from direction Berlin, Hanover, Osnabrück (with the DB-intercity) it is advisible to exhange in station Amersfoort. From Utrecht and Amersfoort Intercity-trains depart to The Hague (Centraal) and to Rotterdam.
Coming from any other city in The Netherlands there are frequent intercity-services to The Hague and Rotterdam (many times direct or with one fast exchange), see for more information the general planner for all kinds of public transport in the Netherlands 9292
By ferry boat
Coming from the UK the area is also reachable by several ferry-lines.
Direct connections right to the MRDH are:
Tourists who stay a few days or more time in the area, might like to discover all of the cities, towns and landscapes by (renting a) bicycle. As a part of the Netherlands, MRDH offers a whole infrastructure especially for cyclists.
Especially in city centers, it is strongly advisable to lock your bike, or go to a guarded bicycle parking stations.
Guarded bicycle parking stations
- Many intercity train stations have their own bicycle parking station. Many time the service is not free.
- In and around The Hague (with Scheveningen), Delft and Zoetermeer Biesieklette offers 55 guarded Bicycle parking station. Parking your bicycle for just a few hours up to one full day is free.
- Rotterdam municipality has also some locations.
Rent a bike
Bikes can be rented by several different private companies. Holland-Cycling.com provides a list of addresses in Rotterdam and The Hague. Another list of bicycle-renting in Rotterdam you will find at Rotterdam.nl. Rotterdam also joins oBike a new kind of bicycle-sharing system (see also city tourist information [dead link]).
For finding your way you can choose of two systems of signposted touristic/recreational cycle-routes (of course it is also possible to choose to combine both networks!):
- Follow a route from numbered junction to numbered junction in a bicycle junction network (Dutch: fietsknooppuntennetwerk or fietsroutenetwerk). In this system you just take notice of a few numbers, and signposts with only these numbers on it will lead you your way. See Bicycle Route Planner: select more options and Junction Network or Fietsnet
- Cyclers who prefer to follow just longer routes in one direction, might be interested in the so called LF-network of long distance bicycle routes. Parts of these routes cross the area or start here. Enjoy for example a ride along the coast line by following LF1 Noordzeeroute, or learn more of the flow of the waterways connected with Maas, Rhine and Schelde by following LF12 Maas- en Vestingroute starting from Hook of Holland. See Bicycle Route Planner: sellect more options and LF-Routes.
By public transport
Tourist who like to make use of public transport in the Netherlands for several times may consider purchasing an so called OV-chipkaart. These contactless smart card can be used in all modes of public transport. Please beware that for traveling with trains and metros checking in and out is done at the stations, while in (water)buses and trams travelers check in and out in the vehicle.
For planning of all public transport in the Netherlands, see 9292
Rotterdam metro provide an important part of the public transport in some parts in the area, however it is not as extensive as Mass Rapit Transit-systems of many other metropolitans. For example Delft and Zoetermeer are not connected to the metro. On the other hand there is a line all the way to The Hague (but arriving there it has its terminus at the edge of the city center in railway station Den Haag Centraal).
Train (Nederlandse Spoorwegen)
For many destinations within MRDH the train of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen serves as a primary mode of public transport. Traveling from The Hague to Delft or from Rotterdam to Delft is for example fastest by train and even for the short journey Rotterdam-Schiedam, the train might be the best option. The train network within MRDH acts more like a rapid transit network with intervals of 10 minutes or even better on some connections. Travelers can choose between Intercity-services between the larger stations and Sprinters which stop at all stations along the line.
For tourists, the most important train stations are:
- Den Haag Centraal: northern edge of The Hague city center, interchange with trams, lightrail to Zoetermeer (trams 3 and 4), metro E to Rotterdam and busses
- Den Haag Hollands Spoor: eastern edge of The Hague city center.
- Delft: interchange with tram 1 and buses
- Schiedam Centrum: interchange with metro A, B and C, trams and buses
- Rotterdam Centraal: northern edge of the city center, interchange with metro D and E, trams and buses
- Rotterdam Blaak: middle of the city center, interchange with metro A, B and C, trams and busses
Rotterdam and The Hague have their own extensive network of trams. These trams provide good local transport, or it might be an interesting alternative to metro or train to discover more of the area. So travelers can choose to travel by tram from The Hague city center to Delft. For Scheveningen the tram will be the fastest mode of transport from a train station in The Hague.
From The Hague to Zoetermeer most public transport is realised by fast lightrail-trams (line 3 to Zoetermeer Centrum West and line 4 to Zoetermeer Javalaan) .
In the waterways in (the port of) Rotterdam tourist can also discover public transport on water. See:
- about connections in Rotterdam city:  [formerly dead link]
- about the Fast Ferry from Hook of Holland to Maasvlakte: RET (Rotterdam public transport) [dead link] or Tourist information Hook of Holland
- Leiden is a historic university city about 15 km north of The Hague and 10 km north of Zoetermeer.
- Gouda lies east of The Hague and Zoetermeer, this not so big historic city is famous for its cheese and candles.
- Dordrecht is the next city south of Rotterdam, it played an important part in Dutch history and is still today rich in historic places. The city center looks out over big waterways connected with Maas and Rhine. East of Dordrecht is Biesbosch National Park.
- Goeree-Overflakkee is the biggest South Holland island and (other than the little island Tiengemeten) the only island of the province which is surrounded by bigger bodies of water. This is the place to be for all kinds of water recreation and another area with popular beaches and dunes. From direction Europoort/Brielle the road entrance to the island is the Haringvlietdam, one of the Delta Works.