The European Coal and Steel Community was established on May 9, 1950.
The multinational entity was a groundbreaking, even revolutionary development. Its establishment helped to energize a movement calling for more continental coordination and became the basis for the European Union as we know it today.
That date, May 9, is now popularly celebrated as Europe Day. But in D.C., Europe Day might as well be the first Saturday after the official day, because that’s the day of the EU Open House, when many European nations throw open the doors to their D.C. embassies to the city, with organized activities and culinary treats to celebrate signature cultural aspects in a way somewhat reminiscent of Disney World’s EPCOT World Village.
In 2023, the EU Open House falls on Saturday, May 13, with 20 embassies welcoming visitors, spread out yet all located in the Northwest quadrant of D.C. — with the embassies of Slovakia and the Netherlands the farthest north and the House of Sweden to the south (2900 K St. NW). Two Open House Info Tents, in Dupont (50 Dupont Circle NW) and Van Ness (UDC Student Center, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW), will help visitors get their bearings and plan their courses of action through the availability of brochures and more information about the day’s scheduled activities.
This year’s attractions include several combined national pairings, including:
A showcase of friendship between France and Germany as well as a celebration of their cultural and culinary attractions, hosted by the Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW.
A special BeNeLux celebration of food and drink, interactive games, light show, VR bike tours, and innovations ranging from a huge ship to “the first-ever zero-emission solar plane,” all derived from the Low Countries of Europe — Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands — with the Dutch Embassy at 4200 Linnean Ave. NW) as host.
A tribute to the river Danube and two countries connected by the body of water, Austria and Slovakia, with presentations, performances, and delicacies on tap at the Embassy of Austria, 3524 International Ct. NW.
Singular national attractions this year include:
A display of high-tech transportation marvels from Czechia, including professional racing Praga karts, heavy-duty modern and antique Tatra trucks, and model streetcars — plus savory beer, hearty food, and live folk music, all at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW.
An escape to “magical Croatia,” land of natural beauty, a thousand islands, medieval cities, opulent culture, and also Game of Thrones filming locations, by way of the Embassy of Croatia, 2343 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
A virtual bike ride through Copenhagen using VR glasses, and taste Danish open sandwiches, and experience Danish design at the Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven St. NW.
A mini-dog show celebrating Hungarian breeds the Vizsla and Puli, a tegball challenge, and “gingerbread-love-letter making,” plus a gulyas and wine bar, a Rubik’s cube tutorial, and folk dancing to a live band, all at the Embassy of Hungary, 3910 Shoemaker St. NW.
Samples of pizza, ice cream, and coffee at the Embassy of Italy while viewing the photo exhibition Massimo Listri: Italian Wonder, 3000 Whitehaven St. NW.
Organized talks about daring travel and expedition from three exceptional Polish adventurers — mountain climber Krzysztof Wielicki, polar explorer Marek Kaminski, and kayaker Piotr Chmielinski, plus Polish-American artist Agnieszka Pilat and her robotic dog, along with piano concerts, guided tours, and Polish sweets at the Embassy of Poland, 2640 16th St. NW.
Free international trips courtesy of TAP Air Portugal and SATA, as well as various cultural prizes, will be won by select visitors and raffle entrants at the Embassy of Portugal, at 2012 Massachusetts Ave. NW, which will also feature dancing, art, food and drink.
Tastes of paella, rioja, and street food, displays of bolero and other Spanish dances, and surprise gifts await to guests of Spain’s Former Ambassador’s Residence, 2801 16th St. NW.
Enjoy a Swedish FIKA overlooking the Potomac, visit the rooftop lounge, a photo booth, climate action station, and Sweden’s plans to be carbon neutral by 2045, all at the House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW.
You can carry on the celebration of all things Europe into the evening hours by heading to Audi Field for a celebration of the sport that rules the continent. That evening’s D.C. United game is officially designated “European Heritage Night at the Pitch.”
Saturday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “No registration, tickets, or passport required.” Visit www.eeas.europa.eu.
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