A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Having missed The Hague’s museum night in 2014, I was excited to see what this year’s event had in store. After buying tickets online (€15 for the whole night), a group of friends and I decided on three of the city’s top tier museums: the Mauritshuis, Escher in het Paleis, and Prison Gate Museum. I’d already been to the first two but didn’t mind revisiting as I remembered them to be quite charming and I wanted the unique museum night experience.
I was pleasantly surprised by how lively the night was. Museums were transformed into hubs of activity, with special performances such as breakdancing providing a nice contrast to the historic exhibits. Live jazz and food trucks gave the night character. The Mauritshuis had several activity rooms set up for the night, where you could sketch a semi-nude model or design your own 19th century bonnet.
The Prison Gate Museum was an entirely new experience for me. After a slight struggle to get in (shivering in the cold for a half hour past midnight), we were welcomed with an introduction in Dutch. I was expecting a traditional museum set-up but instead we were guided to various rooms where we huddled together and watched performances take place.
There were several actors around the museum whose personas included a gay man, a woman labeled as a witch, and a man who maliciously betrayed a friend. They demonstrated how people were targeted, incarcerated, and punished from the 15th-19th century in the Netherlands. The performances were well done, and after learning half of the audience weren’t Dutch speakers, some actors were kind enough to do their parts in English. I was lucky enough to have a Dutch friend whisper a live-translation in my ear for the rest of the performances.
Museum night proved to be a quality event that pays tribute to the cultural scene of The Hague. If you map your route and act strategically, you can really get the most out of it! With over 40 available cultural locations, I feel like I barely scratched the surface – I’ll definitely have to do this again next year. Until then, enjoy this short video!