The Fifth Annual Embassy Festival in The Hague’s picturesque and tree-lined boulevard Lange Voorhout was a resounding success on a beautiful sunny, but not too hot, Saturday afternoon. The event was a kaleidoscope of colour, costumes, languages and culinary delights as smoke from barbecues swirled around the dozens of stalls preparing national dishes for the crowd to sample.
A lot of the stalls were small, as were many the countries they represented. South East Asia was very well represented as was Eastern Europe and Central America. And, although the USA had a small tent, there was no representation by the major western European countries – so no Great Britain, no France, no Germany, no Italy etc and even no Netherlands. Why this was I don’t know, but these countries were very conspicuous by their absence. But, needless to say, everybody managed very well without them.
There was a great and friendly atmosphere where the Israeli stand was a few yards from the one from Palestine. Most stalls had modestly priced food on sale from cabbage soup on the Czech stand to spring rolls on the Chinese. National costume abounded and two small Yemeni boys we spoke to looked very smart in their outfits.
But it wasn’t just food and national promotion – there were three stages providing different types of music throughout the day. The classical stage provided a range of … er … classical music, some provided on the very grand and shiny grand piano and some contemporary music utilising various percussion instruments and a cello. The middle stage provided a musical mix ranging from flamenco to blues while the third area, The Creative Arena, was for national dances. While we were there we saw children from Ireland and Ukraine, though not together, enthusiastically performing wearing local costumes.
A really enjoyable event for which the Municipality of The Hague’s Department of International Affairs and all the participating countries should be congratulated.