The past of a diverse and international city like The Hague is bound to be rich with both historical events and interesting life stories. In a new exhibition entitled ‘Expat Impressions of The Hague’, visitors can explore the history of The Hague as kept alive in the journals, letters, stories, articles, and photographs of the many expatriates who have temporarily made it home over the years. Among the components of the exhibition are materials from several different archives that have come together to celebrate the many ways that internationals have recorded their experiences in this unique city.
Different Archives, Common Purpose
The Hague Municipal Archives are a giant repository of documents, magazines, articles, photographs, maps, and audio-visual materials covering the history of The Hague. The collection is held in a climate-controlled area of The Hague City Hall on 14 kilometres of shelves. Access to the collection is available to the public, and nearly 12,000 people per year visit it to explore the city’s history, often in connection with their own family roots.
The Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) is a private archive, also located in The Hague, with a tightly-focused collection extending back to the 19th century. The EAC holds personal and family records of expatriates from around the world. The collection contains materials in 12 different languages, covering over 80 countries. Academic researchers come to the EAC from around the world to study topics relating to all aspects of the expatriate experience.
The American Women’s Club of The Hague, which for eighty years has provided a home away from home for Americans and other expats, delved into their archives for text and photographs to donate to the exhibition. The British School in The Netherlands has educated expatriate children in The Hague since before WWII, and also reached into its own archives to provide materials for the exhibition. The Expat Journal, local newspaper Haagsche Courant, Shell Destinations magazine, The Hague University of Applied Sciences, and the International Institute of Social Studies, a graduate school that is part of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, each donated from their own archives. Private individuals also responded to the call for materials with their personal stories.
The exhibit is curated by Natalie McIlroy. Assistance with the logistics of organizing the exhibition comes from ACCESS, a non-profit based in The Hague that provides practical information, advice, support, and services to expatriates in the Netherlands. Sponsors include Shell, The Hague Bridge, CB&I, Rabobank, the American Women’s Club of The Hague, and Petroleum Women's Club The Hague.
When and Where
The exhibition is free, and will run from 26 October to 14 November 2015 in the Atrium of the City Hall in The Hague. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00 to 19:00, Thursday from 7:00 to 21:30, and Saturday from 9:30 to 17:00. The mayor will inaugurate the exhibition at an invitation-only reception to be held on 4 November. For more information, contact The Expatriate Archive Centre at (0)70 427 2014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.