Saturday, February 24, 2024

Leonardo Royal Hotel Den Haag Promenade – 50 years of diplomatic mission

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Diplomat Magazine
Diplomat Magazine
DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

Keeping friends all around the world

In the picture Premier of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau 1975 (source Haags Gemeente museum – Gastvrijheid rond de klok)

Known to many as “The Hague’s Diplomatic Hub”, the international vocation of the Leonardo Royal Hotel Den Haag Promenade is truly embedded in its roots. In earlier times, the hotel used to be a private royal lodge owned by the first King of the Netherlands, and later by his son – King Willem II. The name “Promenade” made its first appearance in the building’s history in 1876, with the opening of the Hôtel de la Promenade – carefully designed by architect-engineer L.A. Brouwe.

For decades, Hôtel de la Promenade was a home away from home for a great number of important people, from royals and chief of states to diplomats, politicians and VIPs. Between 1940 and 1945, as World War II swept through the Netherlands, the Hôtel faced major challenges, as its ideal location made it a sought-after target during the German occupation. Unfortunately, this had such a disastrous effect on the hotel that it was eventually decided to demolish it.

The story of this historical building, however, could not end this way. Luckily, in 1968 Bertus Meijer decided to rebuild the Promenade Hotel, which eventually re-opened its doors on January 11th, 1971 – thus starting a new era. Over the past 50 years, the Promenade has grown to become a place where boundaries are crossed and friendships from all over the world are built. Numerous remarkable international guests have sojourned at the hotel, and high-end events have been held there – endowing the Promenade Hotel with a first-class reputation as “The Hague’s Diplomatic Hub”.

Prince Henderik of Denmark 1971 Source Haags Gemeente Archief Promenade Krant

Within the first months of the opening year, Mr. Meijer had the honor of welcoming a royal guest – Prince Henrik of Denmark. In the following years, other well-known figures – including heads of state, diplomats, and international VIPs – had the opportunity to benefit from the top-class services and hospitality of the Promenade. Personalities like Nelson Mandela, George Bush, and Bill Gates are just a few of the well-known guests that have stayed at the Hotel. And surely, one of the Hotel’s highlights of the past decades was the stay of Bill Clinton, former President of the United States of America, who visited the Hotel – then known as Crowne Plaza Den Haag-Promenade – to host a reading session and to attend a special dinner during his visit to the Netherlands.

The number of diplomatic guests that have been welcomed at the Promenade Hotel is truly exceptional. Multiple prime ministers and royals from the Netherlands and abroad have been delighted to visit the Hotel or to stay there for a few nights – some of them even quite frequently. Ambassadors and representatives of an embassy would wait at the Promenade Hotel before they would present their credentials to the Dutch King or Queen. There, they would be picked up by carriage. This was an awe-inspiring sight, captivating all of those fortunate enough to witness it.

Regeringsleiders van de Nederlandse Antillen en Suriname 1976 (source Haags Gemeente archief – Gastvrijheid rond de klok)

When a great international reputation such as that of the Promenade Hotel is earned, it is extremely important to act on it. One of the many events with which the Hotel honored its name was the Sri Lanka Cultural Food Festival held in March 2004, when the Hotel collaborated with the country’s embassy in order to organize a grand celebration of the over 400-year long alliance between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands.

In 2017, these Food Festivals were revived and upgraded. The Hotel’s current General Manager, Mr. Patrick Aarsman, and Diplomat Magazine’s Publisher, Ms. Mayelinne De Lara, closely worked together to organize a variety of culinary evenings that earned the Hotel a spot in the heart of The Hague’s gastronomic scene – thus gaining a reputation as “the International Culinary Center of The Hague”.

These Food Festivals were more than just an international dining experience: in addition to the culinary element, they incorporated a display of traditions and habits from the specific countries that were celebrated. Hence, every Festival was aimed at delivering a complete and unique experience of the represented country – to the pleasure of the invited participants, who would travel to The Hague from all corners of the world.

Today, Leonardo Royal Hotel Den Haag Promenade still proudly features the international perspective that has characterized the Hotel since its creation. From the guests to the cuisine, from its traditions to its events, the Promenade Hotel overcomes obstacles and happily welcomes guests from all around the world.

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