After a smooth trip from Apeldoorn to the Hague with the bus, the group met Wittenborg law lecturer Jurriën Güth at the Binnenhof and walked to Pro Demos, while oohing and ahhing at the architecture of the place. The guide from Pro Demos showed us a Film about the history of the Binnenhof and the Dutch Parliamentary System. The film was shown in the cellors of the building – the same place they used to store both prisoners and wine. Probably not together, we think.
From these lovely cellars with their display of models of the Royal House’s Golden Carriage, we climbed the winding stone stairway to the second floor where we found ourselves on balcony seats overlooking the Throne in the Hall of Princes. The guide had much to say about the space and it was very interesting. He also explained the structure of our government very clearly. The students were impressed with how clearly he spoke and how easy he was to understand. We had hoped he would speak more or the tour be longer. Did you know the huge roof is shaped like an upside down ship because that was the technology of the time? It was what they knew, the seafaring Dutch nation, so that is what they built. A very impressive sight, even now.
One rainy lunch break later, having stopped off at the Europe House to test our knowledge of the European Union (we discovered we have some knowledge gaps), we walked on to the International Court of Justice. This took us through an interesting part of the Hague, with lots of old buildings and quite a few Embassies. But when we turned a corner and saw the ICJ, it took our breath away, such is the beauty and grandeur of that building and its surroundings.
We tied our peace wishes to the peace tree and went into the visitor center. The lady who received us told us about the purpose of the building, after which we watched a truly impressive and moving film on what the ICJ does and its significance in the world. This institution garners much respect from the students, who come from all over the world.
Several of the students were very impressed at how record keeping has been done here for hundreds and hundreds of years. In their countries history has not been recorded in this way.
To absorb all these impressions, we headed to the beach.
Soccer was played, the sea was walked in and one of the girls jumped in for a swim (she wins the hero badge for that one!), we watched kites fly and visited one of the beach cafe’s.
A full and enjoyable day behind us, we left for home, contented in a day well spent.
By Eva van Herel
Wittenborg Front Desk
©Wittenborg University Press