By Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland, Judge in the Court of Appeal & honorary Special Advisor International Affairs of the Municipality of The Hague.
The Hague was world news twice during the last few months. On August 28th with 100 years Peace Palace with our King, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and our Prime Minister Rutte. It was on the day that the USA was about to attack Syria because of the chemical weapons. I was sitting in the Peace Palace almost next to the Director General of OPCW, H.E. Ahmet Üzümcü, who told me that he was very nervous about the situation. But see what happened in the weeks afterwards: a diplomatic solution, Syria becoming member of OPCW and on top of it: on Friday October 11th the OPCW, with its headquarter in The Hague, received the Nobel Peace Prize. Our congratulations !
Impressive also was the state visit of Israel’s president Shimon Peres. I was invited by H.E. Haim Divon to the Portugese Synagoge in Amsterdam, where during more than an hour the elder statesman (90!) answered all kinds of questions. We all realized that he was already 25 years old when the state Israel was established in 1948 and that mr. Peres played an important role during all its 65 years of existing.
On Monday October 14th I was present at two other celebrations. First as a guest of H.E. Ugur Dogan, ambassador of Turkey and his wife Manolya. She wrote a very nice book about the beautiful Turkish Residence at Prinsessegracht 29, completed in 1734. I was invited because one of my direct ancestors (seven generations) lived there shortly afterwards, in the middle of the 18th century. Then a quick bicycle ride to Kasteel De Wittenburg in Wassenaar, where International Women’s Contact The Hague celebrated its 35 years of existence. As one of only a few men I was invited too and enjoyed it very much.