In the picture Mr. Erik de Beadts and H.E. Mr. Bard Ivar Svendsen, Ambassador of Norway. Photography by Naldo Peverelli.
By Aurore Heugas
These past few weeks, the Peace Palace has hosted individual visits from current Ambassadors to The Netherlands. These visits stem from a collaboration between the Palace and the Diplomat Magazine started in 2019. What would normally be a private reception for all of the new Ambassadors, had to be modified in line with the COVID-19 restrictions.
Mr. Erik de Baedts, General Director of the Carnegie Foundation-Peace Palace and Treasurer of The Hague Academy of International Law was the one guiding the Ambassadors throughout their visits, giving us some insight into how they went.
H.E. Mr. Mark Antony Pace, Ambassador of Malta to The Netherlands, had an unusual tour, that represented the building and its function well. “The tour through the Peace Palace was shortened because hearings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration were taking place. Ambassador Pace appreciated that the Palace is not just a wonderful monument, but also a working palace as we experienced peace through law in action”, recounted Mr. de Baedts.
The Peace Palace currently houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) and The Hague Academy of International Law. The courts settle international disputes through arbitration and jurisdiction. The ICJ is the only one of the six principle organs of the United Nations to be located outside of New York and its host, the Peace Palace, is the oldest building related to the UN, which gives it significant cultural, architectural and historical value.
Ambassador Pace agreed, as he said: “It was an honour to be received by Mr. Erik de Baedts, and tour one of the more iconic buildings of The Netherlands. The Peace Place is not simply an architectural gem. The building and the institution that manages it have played a pivotal role in mankind’s quest for global peace and prosperity. It embodies a vision that gave birth to a multilateral framework that has protected the international rule of law over the course of current and former century. May we remain grateful”.
Following the tour, Ambassador Pace and Mr. de Baedts were able to have an exchange about peace, especially in Europe. Indeed, earlier generations of their families, like many in Europe, were affected by war on the continent. “We jointly cherish how European cooperation since the establishment of the European Union has kept the members of the Union free from war for decades now. In the same vein, we value international multilateral cooperation to promote peace at the global level”, said Mr. de Baedts.
H.E. Mr. Bard Ivar Svendsen, Ambassador of Norway, also visited the Palace. His tour led to discussions of the building itself and its connections to Norway. Ambassador Svendsen’s entrance was over the granite staircase, a gift from his country. “Following an interesting exchange, research showed that the facade of the Judges building consists of material from Norway. We also recognised the philanthropic connection between Andrew Carnegie and Alfred Nobel, both staunch advocates for peace after a successful career in business”, told Mr. de Baedts to the Diplomat Magazine.
The Peace Palace was built after the first Hague Peace Conference in 1899 and opened its doors in 1913, following a donation from Andrew Carnegie who created the Carnegie Foundation to build and conserve the Palace. It is a registered National Monument and holds the European Heritage Label. Carrying out visits with Ambassadors from around the world to The Netherlands is a way to reflect on the continuous importance of the Peace Palace and the entities it hosts. The building itself has a history of global cooperation and intends on perpetuating that heritage.