Blog Takeover by Bella!

Authored by:
Sophia Gray

Sophia Gray

Today, although we woke up very early, the sun was still already up. The sun rises around 5:30 and sets around 23:00 in The Netherlands, very different from the US. We left our Hostel early to catch an hour train ride from Amsterdam to The Hague, the political capital of The Netherlands. After arriving at The Hague we immediately headed to the United Nations International Criminal Court. It was amazing to see a part of the United Nations in person as we had spent the past few days studying the ethics behind the P5 in the Security Council, the effectiveness of the organization itself and the International Criminal Court’s past cases. At the ICC, we were unable to witness the court in action because the preceding today (Al Hassan for crimes against humanity) was confidential. We were able to attend a presentation around the history of the ICC. Including the Roman Statues, the types of crimes dealt with, and the structure of the organization. The most interesting (or most controversial) thing that we learned is that the United States is not a member state of the ICC and does not participate or cooperate with it. After the tour we struck up a conversation with a security guard from Ghana who shared that his favorite part of working there is “The people he meets from all around the world”. Our next stop was lunch! After dodging bikes and getting lost once or twice, we arrived at a food hall that had food from Kenya, Mexico, Suriname and many other places. Then with full stomachs we went to the temporary Eerste Kamer building where we attended a VIP tour. Currently, the Dutch parliamentary building is under renovation so they have converted two separate buildings into each section of their bicameral legislature. The Eerste Kamer (equivalent to the senate) is smaller and members view their role as a part time job as they only meet once a week. Tweede Kamer (equivalent to the House of Representatives) is much larger and is a full time job. However, they only meet Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday per a tradition from the 1800 where they needed the weekend off for religion and Monday and Friday to travel to The Hague. It was amazing to see the Tweede Kamer room as we had talked about insincere comments made there earlier this week. After that we briefly explored The Hague before returning to Amsterdam where we had free time before curfew. My friends and I ate dinner in North Amsterdam, had ice cream from East Amsterdam, and played cards in the Hostel lobby. Although it was a long day in the World Government Program, it was definitely a rewarding one as we were able to see what we had been studying in our class come together in real life!

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