Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Double Dutch: the ICC and the Dutch Parliamemt

All I wanted to do here in The Hague was visit the International Criminal Court (ICC).  It was difficult to find yesterday because the Tourist Information Office wrongly sent me to the International Court of Justice in the Peace Palace, to the north.  We found out that the ICC was to the south in the suburb of Voorburg and it's off all the tourist maps.  Having finally worked out how to get there, we set off this morning.

Once we found the ICC, we learned we could not enter.  There were no hearings today and a guided tour was not possible.  If we'd come yesterday, we'd have been welcomed with open arms, and given the full tour.  But since we came today, we got nothing.  I was very disappointed.  We couldn't even have a quick glance at the empty courtroom where currently the sitting Deputy President of Kenya is on trial for crimes against humanity.

Later, we caught the bus to the Dutch Parliament and organised a tour.  All the English language tours for the day were finished, and it was only possible to have a tour in Dutch!  So, we paid 7.50 € each, and saw a few sights relating to Dutch history as well as the Dutch House of Representatives...in Dutch.  But the guide was quite good.  He briefed Jean and me in English as well as the two Chinese tourists and the German tourists.  We learned there is proportional representation in the Netherlands, not unlike some other European countries.  Like in the United States, Cabinet Ministers may be selected from outside the Parliament.  The Dutch Parliament is new, built only in 1992.  Considering they had the opportunity to build something with style, the Dutch Parliament building is disappointingly boring.

The International Criminal Court (ICC)

The ICC (tall white building at back) is on Maanweg in the suburb of Voorburg...off the tourist trail.
This boring looking building is the Dutch parliament.

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