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Zoetermeer is a city in the Netherlands, located about 15 kilometres from Den Haag.
If you're on a ride to Den Haag, ask to be dropped off at highway exit Zoetermeer (just after the huge Siemens windmill). Tell your driver to turn right at the traffic light an then immediately right again. At the upcoming traffic light you can get off. The driver should make 2 left turns to get back on the motorway again.
You're now fairly central: Go trough the tunnel and follow the road: Bleiswijkseweg, Den Hoorn, Schinkelweg, Dorpsstraat and you'll end up in the city centre (<1 km).
South/West towards Den Haag, Delft, Rotterdam
At railway station Zoetermeer (not Zoetermeer Oost) (tram stop Driemanspolder) you will find a bridge for motorised vehicles, next to the pedestrian bridge Nelson Mandela. On the north side of this bridge is a bus stop (walk up the ramp). From here you can Hitch hike to Den Haag, Delft and Rotterdam as well as further south.
At the bus stop Fonteinbos on the road Afrikaweg (about 200 metres from the spot mentioned above) is an official hitch hiking spot. This hitch hiking spot is useful to acquire rides towards Den Haag, Delft and Rotterdam as well as further south. To reach this spot from Centrum West bus station, walk over the pedestrian bridge, walk down and turn right at the traffic lights, trough the pedestrian / cyclist tunnel.
North towards Leiden, Amsterdam
In the Centre, next to the AIVD building on Europaweg you will find road N206 (Zwaardsloodseweg). Here is a bus stop and a small parking space, these are ideal for hitch hiking.
East towards Gouda, Utrecht
At the bus stop Pruimengaarde on the road Australieweg is an official hitch hiking spot. This hitch hiking spot is useful to acquire rides towards Gouda and Utrecht. In Gouda it is very easy to obtain a ride to Utrecht. To reach this spot from tram stop Palenstein, walk under the viaduct, turn right on the small bicycle road Kangaroepad, after a while turn right trough the tunnel and then up to the bus stop.
Zoetermeer has two tram lines and various bus lines to most areas of the city. The tram goes to Den Haag. Be aware that though most of the two tram routes are the same, both lines start and finish differently. paying works like everywhere in the Netherlands. The city has two zones Oosterheem and everything else. In the trams are ticket vending machines witch accept coins only. The driver doesn't sell tickets, sometimes controllers do. You don't have to pay when the machine is broken. After 9:00 a cheap trip to Den Haag and back can be made using a "Dalurenretour Den Haag Plus" (off-peak return for The Hague metropolitan area), EUR 4.
Zoetermeer has two railway stations on the Den Haag - Gouda line, only so called sprinter trains stop at Zoetermeer and Zoetermeer Oost railway stations.
On the night between Saturday and Sunday Zoetermeer is connected to the night railway network by bus B17 to Rotterdam central station and bus N5 to Den Haag centre (Buitenhof) and the central station (the Nighttrain stops at Den Haag Hollands spoor, take bus N1 to Buitenhof and transfer, same ticket). Night bus tickets cost about EUR 4.00 and can be bought at the driver.
Places to Visit
Zoetermeer is not too exciting, but a nice centrally located city from where you can pay visits to the historical cities around it. Zoetermeer has an old centre consisting of only one street and some parks for you to have a relaxing walk. Zoetermeers architecture is very interesting as the city is build almost entirely in compliance with the VINEX Spatial Planning bill (even the street names are in alphabetical order).
Places to Avoid
Zoetermeer is pretty safe, crime rates are lower then in average big cities in the Netherlands. The mayor of Zoetermeer has declared alcohol prohibition zones in the city centre and in some parks and squares.
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