Word of welcome by Mayor Jan van Zanen to those taking part in the city walks for students

Dear Students,

Welcome to The Hague.

The international city of peace and justice, where the world is at home.

The heart of the Netherlands’ democracy.

And the fastest-growing student city in the Netherlands.

We are, of course, delighted that you chose to come to The Hague.

Our city by the sea has plenty to offer.

Not least, a wide range of higher education courses.

Which is why you have come to The Hague, of course.

Besides that, you will find plenty of opportunities here to gain some experience. In government, or the many international organisations and companies that are based here, for example.

Apart from all that, The Hague is also an excellent place to relax and enjoy yourself while you are studying.

Something which is important to students, I know. And I can vouch for the fact that you can live very well here.

I have been living in The Hague for over a year now and I like it very much.

And I hope you will too.

Let’s hope that the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus will soon be over.

Because it’s so much more fun for students to be together, in the lecture hall and elsewhere.

Like today.

Beginning a study in a city that you don’t yet know, perhaps in a country that is new to you too:

It’s a bit like a voyage of discovery.

Something I once experienced, too.

It’s all the more exciting to undertake such a journey together, as we are today.

The walk you are going on today will take you through the historic centre of the city.

Situated around what was once a lake in the dunes, the Hofvijver.

The old lake from which The Hague is reborn every day, as the poet Paul Rodenko once put it so beautifully.

Born the son of a Russian father and an English mother, Rodenko epitomised the open and international character of The Hague and its inhabitants.

Here, and elsewhere in the city, you will see many buildings that have something to say about The Hague, both past and present.

Palaces are, naturally, inescapable in a royal residence, which is why your walk starts there.

Your route will take you past various institutions that all have something to do with The Hague’s position as the Netherlands’ seat of government.

And The Hague’s role as a city of diplomacy and centre of European and international cooperation.

In short, a walk which clearly illustrates why your decision to come to The Hague was a good one.

And at the end of your walk you can rightly say that you have been inaugurated as a student of The Hague.

I wish you all an enjoyable afternoon.

And every success with your studies.

Until the next time we meet in our beautiful city of The Hague.

I say goodbye