By Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland, Judge in the Court of Appeal and Special Advisor International Affairs of the Municipality of The Hague.
For those of you who arrived in The Netherlands in 2013 from abroad, the turning of the year must have almost sounded as if a war was going on. A lot of other countries do have fireworks organized by the government, but in The Netherlands it is still allowed to set off fireworks privately. The American Embassy –still without an Ambassador- had rightly warned the Americans in The Netherlands about this Dutch habit with all its extreme noise. The new year in The Hague started with some New Year receptions by Dutch authorities where not only the Dutch were welcome but the international communities in The Hague as well. The Mayor of The Hague Mr Jozias van Aartsen welcomed hundreds of citizens in the enormous Atrium of the Municipality and so did some days later the military Governor in the century artists society Pulchri Studio at the splendid and very old Lange Voorhout in the centre of the city. We have seen a lot of ambassadors and other diplomats at both receptions. The year 2014 will be important for The Hague for several reasons. On March 24 and 25 the third Nuclear Security Summit will take place in The Hague with the presidents of all mayor states of the world and 5.000 delegates as well as 3.000 journalists. Please realize that for security reasons The Hague will be a kind of military fortress these days with many inconveniences for every citizen. Much more friendly will be the World Championships Field till June 15th the yearly ‘Prinsjesdag’ will be a very special one: it will be theone. We will inform you about these and other highlights during 2014 in this Magazine.