On September 25, the Peace Palace Library took part in the festivities of the Just Peace Festival by organizing the Open Doors Day. The Library and the Carnegie Foundation have been actively involved since 2014 when the Just Peace Festival first took place to celebrate the UN Day of Peace. During the Peace Weekend, the Peace Palace was the setting for numerous activities ranging from musical concerts, film screenings, scavenger hunts, interactive sessions and presentations in the Library. Throughout the day,over 130 people visited the Reading Room where they could learn more about the rich history of the Peace Palace as well as have an exclusive look at some of our oldest prints, special collections and materials from the Archives.
The Library sessions focussed on four historical figures, namely Hugo Grotius, Tobias Asser, Bertha von Suttner and Andrew Carnegie, who each contributed to the identity of the city of peace and justice and in particular, to the coming into existence of the Peace Palace. This gave us as librarians a great opportunity to interact with a general audience.
One of our librarians, dressed up as Hugo Grotius to accompany the groups to and from the Library. His appearance as a 17th century legal scholar and founding father of international law sparked an immediate interest in this historical character and worked particularly well with children. A short film on the life of Hugo Grotius was shown in the Historic Reading Room.
The visitors whom we welcomed during the day did not only include locals. We were pleasantly surprised when we found out that a gentlemen from Mexico, who works as a steward, had made special arrangements in his work schedule to visit the Peace Palace for our Open Doors event. Overall, we received positive feedback from the visitors and we consider the day a success that we hope to repeat for many more years to come.
In addition to the Open Doors event, the Library and the municipality of The Hague also organized a public exhibition in the tram tunnel of the city centre consisting of a small selection of the Library’s poster collection. The exhibition is titled ‘ Peace on Posters and the Posters on Peace’ and was opened on September 21 by the Library Director. Highlights of the exhibition include the posters that depict the festivities of the opening of the Peace Palace in 1913 and 2004 centenary poster that reminds us of the $ 1.5 million gift of Andrew Carnegie which he donated to construct the ‘ Temple for Arbitration and its Library. The Free Sea, an international law idea of Hugo Grotius, is twice shown in the gallery. The posters from the Library’s Collection will be on display until November 28, 2016.[number of readers: 293]