Hobbemaplein, 2526 JA, The Hague

The Gandhi statue is a gift of the Hindustani-Surinam community. The double monument offers a memory of the harsh experiences of the first migrants, and contributes to a culture of peace in the neighbourhood.

“I commemorate you Traveller /who you was /who I am” – “parwásikeyád men”
– anonymous

In The Hague we find two different statues of Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948). A sculpture in the Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace honours him as a visionary of nonviolence and peace-building. On Hobbemaplein, we see a wandering Gandhi near a crowded marketplace in a popular multi-ethnic neighbourhood.

The double monument of Gandhi and Immigration is a gift of the community organisation Sarnami to the municipality. It was unveiled in 2004 by the Cabinet Minister of Immigration who praised the smooth integration of the Hindustani-Surinam population that makes up 10% of The Hague citizens. The statue depicts Gandhi with a walking stick, with a text in Dutch and Hindustani-Surinam:

“I want all cultures of all countries blow as freely as possible through my house
But I refuse to be blown off my feet,
by whatever.”

The other part of the monument depicts 140 years of migration history of the Hindustani-Surinam community. On 5 June 1873, Dutch plantation owners shipped the first group of contract workers as a replacement after the abolition of slavery in 1863. Until 1926, over 34.000 migrants were recruited, of whom less than 30% returned to India. After the Second World War, a wave of new Hindustani immigrants settled in the Netherlands, many of them just before Surinam became independent in 1975. The text expresses shared experiences of hard work and success:

“There where I prosper is my Fatherland” – “Jahán base wahán sundardesu.”

These migrants brought also prosperity to the Transvaal neighbourhood, building the biggest Hindu temple and school of the Netherlands. Moreover, their ties with Hindu culture fortified economic relations between The Hague and India. In 2011 the Indian Embassy established a cultural Gandhi Centre in the international zone (Tesselsestraat 65), and Indian business is sponsoring a ‘Bollywood’ film festival.

The Gandhi and Immigration monument remains a symbol of a culture of peace in the neighbourhood. At the traditional Holi-Phagwa (Spring) festival, Hindustani-Surinam, Indian and other residents of The Hague go to Hobbemaplein, where they cover the statue with flowers and colours.

Additional information
Sarnami Institute
Public transport
Tram 6, 11, 12
Bus 25
Time to the next peace trail station
5 minutes along Kempstraat & Wolmaransstraat

Humanity House

Prinsegracht 8, 2512 GA, The Hague

Two heritage houses at Prinsegracht recall the works of the Russian lawyer Feodor Martens: at no. 8 we learn about the principle, associated with his name, of the protection of war victims; at no. 71 he acted as an international arbitrator.

“… the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience”
– Feodor Martens

The Hague peace tradition started with informal Dutch-Russian legal cooperation, as historian Arthur Eyffinger observes: “Diplomats, military men and pacifists, even cartoonists readily agreed that Tobias Asser and Feodor Martens were the soul and backbone of the 1899 Conference.”

Feodor Feodorovicz Martens (1845-1909) was the legal advisor of Tsar Nicholas II who proposed in 1898 The Hague as the venue of the First Peace Conference. He was also a realist who foresaw the failure of the Tsar’s disarmament initiative. For that reason, he added legal issues to the agenda that had a chance of success: humanitarian law of war and international arbitration.

During the Conference of 1899, Martens led the preparations of the Convention on Land Warfare. When the talks seemed to end in a deadlock over definitions, he reached consensus over the principle that in all cases of armed conflict, “the inhabitants and the belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilized peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience.” (Hague Convention IV, 1899, 1907).

This ‘Martens clause’ has become a key element in the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as expressed in the name of the Humanity House on Prinsegracht 8. This peace museum evokes empathy with the victims of war and catastrophe who are in need of protection. Thus also school children learn to understand basic principles of international law.

The modest building on Prinsegracht 71 is the visible result of the Convention on Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, the first seat of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Together with Asser, Martens served as an arbitrator in 1902, in a minor dispute between the United States and Mexico over church properties. This case put the system of The Hague in motion and inspired trust in the procedures of international jurisdiction.

The importance of such procedures and of the Martens clause itself is shown in the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of 1996 on the illegality of nuclear weapons. In this case, the Court accepted the mass protests of the peace movement as proof of ‘the dictates of the public conscience’.

Opening hours
Tue-Fri 10am-5pm
Sat-Sun 12am-5pm
Additional information
Humanity House
Public transport
Tram 2, 3, 4, 6
Bus 25, 130
Time to the next peace trail station
7 minutes with tram 6 or bus 25 from Grote Markt

Yi Jun

Wagenstraat 124a, 2512 BA, The Hague

The former De Jong Hotel hosted the Korean delegation during the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907. The memory of lawyer, diplomat and peace activist Yi Jun is still honoured in both North and South Korea.

“It is my dream to build a stage of empathy for the first time in history in the Japanese Archipelago and the Korean Peninsula, the place where three nuclear superpowers meet.”
– Akio Komatsu

Lawyer Yi Jun (1859-1907) spent most of his career as a judge in Seoul. He also was a legal reformer and an educator, founder of numerous schools and institutions, such as the Korean Red Cross. After the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905, when Korea became occupied by Japan, Yi Jun strongly protested against the violation of international law.

In 1907 Yi Jun and the diplomats Yi Sang Sul and Yi Oui Jong were designated by the Emperor of Korea to attend the Second Hague Peace Conference. They hoped to gain international recognition of Korea as a sovereign state and to protect the country from annexation by Japan. However, at the opening of the conference the delegation was denied entrance. Their protest received worldwide publicity through W.T. Stead’s journal Courrier de la Conférence de la Paix (copies of which are displayed on the walls in the museum). Stead called the exclusion of Korea a ‘supreme denial’ of the pacifist cause: “Is there no justice in the world, not even in The Hague? Why not clearly admit that the cannon is your only law and that the powerful cannot be guilty?”

On 14 July Yi Jun was found dead in his hotel room. The exact cause of death has remained uncertain until now. The incident dramatically illustrates the exclusion of colonized and oppressed peoples from the Hague Peace Conferences. In 1907, Africa was not represented at all; from Asia, only the empires of Turkey, Persia, China and Japan and the kingdom of Siam (Thailand) could take part. Korea was excluded under pressure from Japan that claimed the same rights as Western colonial powers.

The hotel building was purchased by Kee Hang Lee and his wife Chang Joo Song as private citizens, and opened as a peace museum in 1995. Commemorating Yi Jun, it aims to educate people in his spirit of justice and freedom, and to further the higher cause of world peace. The Yi Jun Peace Museum receives visitors from all over the world, especially from North and South Korea, China and Japan. A regular visitor is for instance the Japanese industrialist and peace philanthropist Akio Komatsu, quoted above. Yi Jun’s legacy inspires to build a culture of peace, not only in eastern Asia, but also between Western and formerly colonized peoples

Opening hours
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
Sat 10am-4pm
Additional information
Yi Jun Peace Museum
Public transport
Tram 1, 9, 15, 16
Bus 18
Time to the next peace trail station
8 minutes along Stille Veerkade & Paviljoensgracht


Rabbijn Maarsenplein, 2512 HJ, Den Haag

Close to the gravestone of the philosopher Spinoza, the monument at the former Jewish school bears testimony to the victims of terror. The moral resistance offered by Rabbi Maarsen inspires peace education about the basic value of tolerance.

“Peace is not mere absence of war, but is a virtue that springs from a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.”
– Baruch de Spinoza

Like most Dutch cities, The Hague provided a safe haven for victims of religious persecution, in particular Jewish refugees. Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677), who was expelled from his Amsterdam community, was a main advocate of an ethics of tolerance. In The Hague, he wrote a treatise Ultimi Barbarorum (The worst of Barbarians, 1672), condemning the political murders of the statesmen Johan and Cornelis de Witt, lynched by a crowd near the Prison Gate.

In the 19th century, Spinoza’s ethics became a source of inspiration for initiatives to outlaw the barbarity of war and political hatred. In this spirit, Theodor Herzl, a friend of Bertha von Suttner in the campaign against anti-Semitism, convened the 8th Zionist Congress during the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907. The pogroms in Tsarist Russia reinforced Herzl’s hope of gaining international support for mass settlement in Palestine (still part of the Turkish Empire). Others, like the international lawyer Tobias Asser, considered civil law reforms and international legal relations the surest way for protecting rights of people in the long run.

The monument on the Rabbijn Maarsenplein dramatically illustrates the lack of legal protection during the Nazi-German occupation of 1940-1945, Isaac Maarsen (1892-1943) was the Chief Rabbi of The Hague who refused to go into hiding himself and continued to defend the community until the end. More than 10.000 Jewish residents of The Hague were murdered in concentration camps, including 1700 children. The monument near the former Jewish school commemorates the names of 400 pupils, symbolized by the empty chairs. It also serves as a climbing rack, and a tool for peace education in the neighbourhood.

The Spinoza House (Paviljoensgracht 72), where Baruch de Spinoza died in 1677, has been preserved with a library collection that includes his manuscripts, as well as studies about his legacy. Like the Jewish Children’s Monument, this remains a place of remembrance and reflection about the ethics of peace and tolerance.

Opening hours
Spinoza House upon request
Additional information
Spinoza House
Public transport
Tram 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 15, 16
Bus 18
Time to the next peace trail station
4 minutes along St. Jacobsstraat

Bertha von Suttner

In between the international district and popular neighbourhoods, we find early initiatives for peace education that included a peace museum. Today, the Bertha von Suttner Building houses a wide range of international peace and human rights NGOs.

“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”
– Albert Einstein

The Laan van Meerdervoort demarcates a traditional social division line between aristocratic districts (‘the sand’) and popular neighbourhoods (‘the moor’). Here, the proximity of the Peace Palace inspired educational initiatives to reach out to a wider audience. After the First World War, peace movements made massive use of visual media to raise public consciousness of the atrocities of war, such as images of the use of poison gas and graphic schemes of the new peace order offered by the League of Nations.

In 1927 pacifist vicar Johannes Hugenholtz (1888-1973) set up a Peace Room (Vredeskamer) that, since 1930, was located at no. 89, with a permanent exhibition, library and bookshop. Supported by a national peace movement coalition, Hugenholtz devised a larger Peace House (Vredeshuis) at no. 19 as an international centre, including a peace museum. A prominent supporter was Albert Einstein, who worked in 1932 as extraordinary professor at Leiden University. Einstein demanded that the Peace House should become a joint project of organisations like War Resisters International, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and International Fellowship of Reconciliation: “The worst thing we pacifists could do is to offer the militarists the spectacle of discord.”

In 1933, after Hitler’s taking over of power in Germany, this movement became divided over the principle of conscientious objection. Einstein, as Jewish-German refugee in the US, distanced himself from the antimilitarist demand. The Peace House opened in 1934 as a Dutch centre of peace education and debate. The wide range of lecturers included for instance Jacob ter Meulen, director of the Peace Palace Library and expert on peace movement history, and Otto Neurath, exiled philosopher of the Vienna Circle, the inventor of public information through pictograms. From the Peace House, also a mobile exhibition crossed the country as a War Alert Service (Oorlogswaarschuwingsdienst).

Today, the Bertha von Suttner Building at no. 70 serves as a new international peace house, bringing together a wide range of NGOs, including the International Network of Museums for Peace. The memory of Hugenholtz and his many imaginative initiatives still inspire new visual methods for promoting a peace culture.

Additional information
International Network of Museums for Peace
Public transport
Tram 1, 17
Bus 24
Time to the next peace trail station
12 minutes along Tobias Asserlaan & Andries Bickerweg