A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Disclaimer: This article provides excited insights of a law student and might seem too nerdy to those outside of the area. You might skip to second part for tips to visit Peace Palace)
Part 1 – My Experience
On 27th of May, my programme (European and International Business Law) had a different classroom: The Peace Palace. Believe me, when I say this is a dream of every law student, to plead in the Peace Palace hosting more than one international court, it is the equivalent of I guess what CERN is for science. We used the room that goes with the name Japanese Room, because of the giant painted walls, gifted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) by the government of Japan. All member states apparently gifted something to PCA, from Chinese porcelain vases to biggest single piece carpet in Europe from Turkey. I cannot explain how excited it is to argue a case in the very same rule important arbitral tribunals held their sessions, such as famous Yukos case against Russia.
As a part of our international arbitration course, we had a mock arbitration where students acted as counsels for the parties of a fictional case. We held 3 sessions starting from the morning.
Part 2 – Tips
It is quite easy to get to the Peace Palace, it only takes 30-45 minutes, depending on the train and bus you take. There are direct buses leaving from The Hague Centraal, (Line 24 and 28) however if the weather is nice and you are not in a rush walking might be an even better option. The route goes through beautiful parts of the city, including the parliament building.
Still, make sure you arrive at least half an hour to an hour earlier if you are to attend an event. Because there is often more than one event going on at the premises, in addition to stuff and interns arriving around the same time in the morning. This might prolong the time spent in the security check. Don’t forget to bring your ID, strictly your passport if you are a non-EU national.
You might choose to have lunch in the Peace Palace cafeteria. Even though the architecture and the atmosphere are quite nice, (“I am eating where judges of ICJ and PCA eat!”), I found the prices quite expensive for the small portions.
I have seen most of the employees also brought their own lunches. Moreover, for our day particularly there was a miscommunication apparently and they didn’t know such a big group was coming. Thus, the warm meals ran out after a couple of minutes and half of us got sandwiches and wraps. You might also opt for going out as there are many cafes around.
Overall, the building is super pretty, both from inside and outside. It was like a nice cathedral you would go to visit as a tourist. You might follow for open days they have every couple of months. Also, as students of Leiden University, we can use the library after registration. If you are leaving in the Hague, it might be a good option.
Have you ever been to Peace Palace? What are the tips you would give? Share in the comments!