the Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 (NSS) in The Hague. While in the
Netherlands President Obama’s agenda includes a quick tour of the Rijksmuseum and
meeting with Prime Minister Rutte while in Amsterdam, and dinner with King Willem-Alexander at the
Royal Palace in The Hague. President is only scheduled to be in the Netherlands for two
days, but hopefully he’ll get a chance to see some of what The Hague has to
offer. Here are my suggestions for President Obama – and you – for things to
do or see while in The Hague.
President Obama can start his tour with a visit to the Binnenhof
(“Inner Court”) home to Dutch politics since 1446. Other buildings on the
grounds include the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall), where the queen annually
addresses the Parliament, and the Torentje (Little Tower), the office of the
Prime Minister. Be sure to take a stroll around the perimeter of the
courtyard, where you will find open spaces for the public to enjoy and the
lake, the Hofvijver.
This intimate museum located in the 17th century palace of a Dutch count is currently
under renovation, but I’m sure POTUS could have a peek inside. The Mauritshuis,
set to reopen in the summer, is home to a grand collection of paintings by
Dutch and Flemish artists, such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Paul
Rubens, Frans Hals and Pieter Brueghel, and includes the famous works Girl
With A Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and Laughing
Boy. Many of these paintings are on exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague,
another one of the city’s wonderful museums (and right next door to where the
NSS is taking place).
The Hague. His Panorama Mesdag is 14 meters high and 120
meters in circumference. Viewing this panorama from an observation gallery
in the center of the room, you feel as if you are on a sand dune overlooking
the view at the beach resort Scheveningen. This cylindrical painting is the
biggest painting in Holland and the oldest 19th century panorama in the world
in its original site, a building built specifically to house it.
Obama’s tour of The Hague would not be complete without a visit to the Peace
Palace. One of the most photographed landmarks in The Hague, the Peace Palace
is often referred to as the seat of international law because it was built as a
symbolic home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which was created by the
first Hague Peace Conference as an institution for international dispute
resolution. The Peace Palace also houses the International Court of Justice and
an extensive law library.