The Hague is best known for being the home of the International Court of Justice and the seat of the Dutch government. It's also a city of royal palaces—the Dutch monarch Queen Beatrix lives and works here—and visitors will discover diverse artworks in its many museums and galleries.
Picture: The Hague – Courtesy of Marie-ii via flickr
Utrecht's upbeat vibe has a lot to do with its young population—this city of bars, bikes, cafés, and culture, has the largest student population in the Netherlands. In the leafy historic center, atmospheric eating and drinking establishments occupy wide, canal-side wharves and vaulted cellars. Throughout 2013, the city will celebrate 300 years since the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht—which ended conflict between Europe's main rulers—with a host of cultural events.
Though it's been decades since paradigm-changing artists Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns stomped down this Lower East Side skid row, the Bowery's creative energy is as vibrant as ever. To savor the area's unique mix of grit and glamour, start your walking tour at the New Museum. This striking Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa–designed exhibition space epitomizes the bold, forward-looking spirit of the new Bowery, in all its subversive-cool glory. And through December 30, "Come Closer: Art Around the Bowery, 1969–1989" examines its artistic heritage.
Pictured: The New Museum and the buzzing Bowery -- Courtesy of the New Museum New York, Photo by Iwan Baan
Our peripatetic correspondent plowed through 20 countries in 2012. Along the way, he discovered that the year's best new—or newly renovated—hotels didn't follow trends. Rather, they were brave enough to invest in their own singular sense of style to offer a true sense of place.
Pictured: Fireplace at The NoMad, NYC -- Courtesy of Sydell Group, Photo by Benoit Linero