May is a great time to travel the world without leaving home. How? Because those of us in the DC area can take advantage of great back-to-back international events! Last weekend was the “Around the World Embassy Tour,” when more than 50 embassies in Washington, DC, held a free open house on the same day.
This Saturday, a similar event takes placed, focused on the countries of Europe. Saturday, May 11, is the European Union (EU) Open House Day, when the Delegation of the EU to the United States and the embassies of 28 EU member states open their doors to the Washington-area public.
This also is a free, all-day event, with each embassy welcoming visitors from 10 am until 4 pm, offering a rare look inside the buildings. The event is a good way to experience the cultural heritage and national traditions of several countries in one day.
The EU Open House website has details of what you can expect at each embassy. For example:
- Malta will focus on the heroism and perseverance of the country and its people during World War II, and how the country was, as President Franklin D Roosevelt himself said, “a beacon of hope.”
- Romania will showcase its traditions and culture through food and drink tastings and performances of Romanian folk dances.
- Finland, the “happiest country in the world,” will have food samples, Baby Box displays, other exhibits, and ecological crafts for kids.
- France and Germany are joining forces to showcase both German and French music plus culinary specialties and signature beverages in a French Café and a German Biergarten. There will also be a live art project, kids’ activities (such as face painting and balloon animals), games, and “selfie stations” where you can pose in front of your favorite German and French landmarks.
See details on all the countries’ offerings on the official site, and keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Embassies are spread out throughout various neighborhoods, so plan ample time if you want to visit a few.
- Note that many embassies are NOT wheelchair-accessible.
- This is a popular event and space may be limited, so you may have to wait in line to get in to some embassies.