On Tuesday 19th of February the SPIL held a night on Dutch politics in The Hague. The aim of the event was to bring Dutch politics and the history behind it, closer to international students. Besides, a general inside from professor R. Koole into Dutch politics Marieke van Doorn also spoke about her role as member of the municipality council and students talked with her about current problems students face in The Hague, such as the housing problem. These two presentations were followed by short introductions from youth organizations from Dutch political parties. The representatives gave a brief overview of the position of their organization and also talked about their opinion on immigration and internationalization in a Q&A. The event gave international students not only the opportunity to get an overview of the development of Dutch politics, but also gave them the opportunity to ask some pressing questions as for example about the housing problem in The Hague.
By Catrin Böcher
On Thursday the 29th of November we met very early in the morning to start our two-day trip to Brussels. At 04:30 the bus first picked up the students who travelled from Leiden and then went further to also pick up the students travelling from The Hague. Even though we were all still quite tired in the early morning hours and mostly slept during the bus ride, there was an atmosphere of excitement in the bus. At 08:30 we finally arrived in our Hostel in Brussels. After having some time to change and getting some refreshment we walked to the House of European History. The museum shows the history of Europe, showing the major developments that had a lasting impact on the European continent. In the museum each of us got a tablet and earphones which guided us through the exhibition. Through the tablet we were not only able to hear the stories about the objects on display in our preferred European language, but could also see more information about the objects in written form on the tablet screen. We all really enjoyed the visit and could have even spend more time learning about the European history. However, there was no time as we, after going to get some lunch, had a meeting with the European think tank Bruegel which is specialized in economics. There we were welcomed by the Secretary General Matt Dann. He gave us an introduction to what the think tank does, how it is financed and how it wants to secure the independence of its research. His presentation was very informative and because of its humoristic style also very amusing. After this meeting we had some time in the hostel to get to see the rooms for the following night and relax before going to dinner. After that the whole group went to have dinner together in an Italian restaurant. This gave us the chance to better get to know each other and talk to some new people. After enjoying dinner many people went to have a Belgian beer, while others were so exhausted by today’s programme that they went back to the hostel to sleep to get energy for the activities of the following day.
By Catrin Böcher
On Monday the 8th of October, the SPIL visited the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We arrived around noon and everyone was well dressed. After going to security, we entered the building, which had just opened in 2015. We had a quick look around in the arrivals lounge, after which our guide also arrived. She welcomed us an informed us on some interesting facts and history of the ICC and the building. After, we got to walk around in the visitor area, accompanied with our own personal audio guide Ipod. The visitor lounge exhibited many different aspect of the ICC, like the recordings of an official court case and the procedure of the treatment of physical evidence.
Thereafter, the guide had prepared a presentation about the procedure that activates after an official complaint of an actor is submitted. The presentation ended with a small Q&A in which our members could ask many questions.
Last but not least, we all got the chance to see one of the three courtrooms. We sat down in the visitor seats, where visitors normally are seated if they want to listen and watch the procedures. We could see the whole area trough a glass window, which was very impressive.
It was an overal great experience. Thanks to the SPIL and the people from the ICC for arranging this visit for us!
By Rosa Kromhout
From the outside, it seemed like it was just a regular Monday evening in the Wijnhaven building. Inside, however, hundreds of students were eagerly waiting for the doors of the lecture hall to open, knowing they would have to run to get a seat on this special night, organized by the Committee of Domestic Affairs of the SPIL. Impressively, some of them waited more than an hour, just so they could get a glimpse of the man of the evening: the Ambassador of the United States of America, Pete Hoekstra.
Five hundred students had the honour of hearing the Ambassador talk with SPIL about his personal career, the bilateral relationship between the Netherlands and the United States of America, and the United States’ foreign policy. He managed to tell about his experiences as the Senator of the state of Michigan and his work as Ambassador in an interesting way, and kept us all listening with great attention. Thanks to professor Niels van Willigen, who lead the conversation with the Ambassador, we now have some more insight on the daily tasks of the Ambassador.
A few lucky students had the opportunity to ask him a question. All of them managed to come up with impressively well-prepared, interesting and challenging questions. The Ambassador welcomed all questions and answered them properly, clearly amused with the opportunity of having interaction with the students.
Sadly, the extremely interesting night had to come to end at some point. To reconcile, the Ambassador promised to come back soon, so that he could answer all our remaining questions. After the Ambassador agreed to have a picture taken of him and all the attendees, he left the room. But the memory of this night will stay with us forever!
By Nicola Otten
Het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken - de studenten die in Den Haag studeren lopen er elke dag praktisch onder door, en iedereen die Den Haag Centraal Station uit komt lopen schenkt geen extra aandacht aan het gebouw. De sfeer die rondom het gebouw en de organisatie hangen zijn tastbaar als je de lobby instapt, en een groep SPIL studenten mocht in het gebouw daadwerkelijk in gesprek gaan met mensen van achter de schermen