September 21 is the day that has officially been recognized by the UN as the International Day of Peace. It will be celebrated in The Hague with numerous events. And where else could this day be celebrated better than in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice? One of the many events taking place on the 21st is an introduction to the important international organizations based in The Hague. They will be opening their doors to the general public for the day, allowing people to take a glimpse behind the scenes at the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the International Court of Justice in the Peace Palace, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the OPCW. These organizations are all located in an area known as the ‘international zone’ in The Hague, in which Europol, too, will soon open its new headquarters.
On the eve of the Day of Peace 2008, the Grote Markt in The Hague will be transformed into the stage for A Peacefull Night; an evening with performances and a debate about Peace and International security in the Middle East. Presenters Evelien Bosch and Dennis Weening will discuss Israel, Palestina and the international implications of the ongoing conflict for peace with different guests. The evening will start at 18:00h with music in the Grote Markt, the debate starts at 20:30h. On 20 and 21 September a “signature wall” will be placed on the Grote Markt on the occasion of the International Day of Peace. Anyone can sign their name or message for peace on this Wall for Peace. On Septemper 21, between 11.45 am and 12.15 pm the President of the International Court of Justice welcomes all to the city of peace, sharing a message of peace on the steps of the Peace Palace. Afterwards, he and the mayor of The Hague, Mr van Aartsen, will give the start signal for the Peace Parade. In collaboration with the Municipality of The Hague, the Africa Life Foundation [Stichting Africa Life] took up the idea of organizing a peace parade through the streets of the city on the International Day of Peace. Participants will include groups, organizations and individuals from different cultures who live and work in The Hague. They will assemble in front of the Peace Palace at 12.30, in traditional dress and with music from their different cultures. The peace walk will start at 12.45 pm and run through the centre, leading the parade to one of the city’s main squares, the Grote Markt. On the square, there will be a stage with music acts reflecting the international character of this day.