At the moment we have a big metal fence near our house. Plus black roundish barricades. Plus a lot of policemen patrolling in the streets. And helicopters circling the area.
No, I am not living in some sort of dangerous place, but in the peaceful (some say boring) Netherlands. From tomorrow morning on The Hague will be hosting the Nuclear Security Summit – a lot of very important statesmen discussing a lot of very important things (yes, Obama will be there too). It is the most important international political event in modern Netherlands so far, and the Dutch are taking their responsibility very seriously. The whole area has been divided into colour-coded zones, depending on the proximity to the conference hotel. There are zones where you cannot park your car, zones where you are not allowed to drive but ride your bike, zones where you have to walk (or push your bike). And the inner zone (the red one!) is surrounded by big metal fences the Dutch have borrowed from UK (where they allegedly have been used at the Olympic Games in London… though not as part of any competition, I think). A lot of roads have been closed and everyone is warned not to come into the city by car during the next two days, to avoid a complete traffic chaos. The roads from the airport to The Hague are also partly closed. You can imagine what this will do to Monday morning rush hour, if enough people insist on still travelling by car. Everyone is encouraged to use public transport – great idea, except for the fact that the tram we would use in our area is not riding its usual route because of the NSS. So it will be biking to school tomorrow. Luckily it is not that far.
But when I look at all these fences and barricades and policemen I start asking myself: what are they expecting? A violent mob trying to storm the conference building? I cannot really imagine the Dutch doing that. Granted, they are not really fond of authority, but what they would normally do is probably trying to engage everyone in a loooong discussion about it. Now, earnestly, I cannot imagine a big anarchist crowd flooding the city.
But if they are so paranoid about it, why do they have to do the whole event in a city? Why not on the countryside, maybe one of the little Dutch islands up North? Just bring everyone there, shut down the ferry service and enjoy. Maybe let a few ships patrol the North Sea, and if you have to, bring those helicopters over too. – But no, it has to be here, and all the Dutch politicians are so vey proud about the role their country is playing. The eyes of the world are on The Hague. Oh well.
Am I being too cynical? Should I be proud too? – Anyway, I just hope anything good will come out of those two days, not only quarrelling and digging in of metaphorical heels. And with a bit of luck, the anarchists will stay home too or just enjoy the nice spring weather at the beach.
I will let you know.