International Archives Day: Archives, Harmony and Friendship

7 June 2016

Did you know? June 9th is International Archives Day! The theme for this year is “Archives, Harmony & Friendship”, a topic that we are happy to report comes up often in the collections we hold. Expats are used to getting plunked down in a new country and having to start making friends from scratch, so our archive contains many beautiful stories of friendship and harmony, both with other expats and with local residents in the countries where they end up. During the EAC’s joint exhibition with ACCESS and The Hague Municipal ArchivesExpat Impressions of The Hague, we dedicated an entire panel to the topic, “Get in Touch with the Dutch”, including many lovely photographs and stories of friendship between Dutch residents of The Hague and their expat guests.

As part of the exhibition, we invited current residents of The Hague to write postcards with their own impressions of the city, to be preserved in our archive. From funny to nostalgic to heart-warming, these postcards are a snapshot of life in The Hague as expats experience it today. As part of International Archives Day, we’d like to share a few of those postcards with you. We’ve chosen three that encapsulate the expat experience of friendship, not only here in The Hague, but universally. Enjoy!

Archives Day1

“Den Haag brings me memories of long summer nights with friends who, although new, felt like we had history dating back to childhood.”

Archives Day2

“Friendliness! Such nice people – both expats and locals – a very friendly place to be!”

Beer-soaked Bitterballen

“My time in The Hague is a beer-soaked bitterballen* eaten with friends aplenty.”


See the hashtag #IAD16 on social media for more from other archives on this year’s theme. Also check the International Archives Day website for historical documents from archives worldwide.

Interested in seeing the exhibition? It is currently on display again as part of reopening month at WTC – The Hague. You can see it there until June 30th.

Do you have an expat story to tell? The Expatriate Archive Centre collects the life stories of expatriates and repatriates worldwide, including stories of friendship. Find out more about donating a collection.


*For our non-Dutch readers, bitterballen is an iconically traditional Dutch food, a sort of meat gravy rolled in breadcrumbs and then deep fried.