Local Heart, Global Soul

March 17, 2010

16th Century building, 21st Century ideal, Emmaus Prinsegracht 36

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here is the second and last part of my Emmaus posts.  As explained in my first post yesterday, there are two Emmaus’s in the Hague, the first (in it’s two separate buildings at the corners of the same block) already detailed and photographed on the Beeklaan.

Now I’d like to take you into the centre of town, to show you the other one.

The Prinsegracht  is a street of prime real-estate in the Hague. Some of the buildings are old, very old.  Parts of  Prinsegracht 36 date back to the 16th Century. Much of course has been added to, renovated and altered. Still, the building has a long history and a soul.

The Emmaus housed here is open only a few short hours every week, but it’s always thronged with people. Each room has it’s own  person who does the selling and every time I have dropped by, they are always the same people in the same rooms.

It’s friendly and informal. Prices are low and goods flow out like a steam… to be re-used and re-loved.

Since this building is bigger and I was lucky enough to get some photos of a few of the rooms during gaps in the human traffic. These are “quick” photos for this reason, so not my best photographic efforts. C’est la vie, it’s the thought that counts here.

On one visit I bought some old wooden skates, on another visit I wanted another pair (or several) and got to rummage in the box in the  cellar where they had been put into storage… the walls are plain rough brick as cellars are apt to be, but glimpses of the floor revealed between the boxes showed the telltale signs of  various ages, styles, thicknesses of floor tiles, in differing patterns, bricks and wood. Drink in the ages… . people come and go, this building goes on. I love buildings like this.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Back to the Emmaus website, some more interesting text from it that I’ve translated…

“We leven in een wereld waar de kansen en mogelijkheden ongelijk verdeeld zijn. Dit doet onrecht aan veel mensen en is een bron voor conflicten. We willen dit veranderen door met onderstaande uitgangspunten zelf aan de slag te gaan. Daarmee geven we inhoud en zin aan onze eigen leven. Zo bevorderen we vrede en gerechtigheid en hopen anderen te inspireren.”

“We live in a world where chances and possibilities are not distributed in equal measure to all. That does an injustice to many people and is a source of conflict. We want to change that on the basis of the principles below. And in doing so we give meaning to our own life. We stimulate peace and justice and hope to inspire others.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We voorzien door ons eigen werk in het levensonderhoud van de gemeenschap. Zo blijven we vrij en onafhankelijk.We werken in onze eigen kringloopbedrijven.We streven naar een eenvoudige manier van leven.
We kiezen er nadrukkelijk voor om ons in te zetten voor mensen aan de onderkant van de samenleving.
Overschotten geven we weg aan mensen of groepen die in armoede leven of aan andere organisaties die op hun manier werken aan bovenstaande uitgangspunten. Onze gemeenschappen staan open voor iedereen die deze overtuiging onderschrijft en actief mee wil werken de doelstellingen in praktijk te brengen.

We form communities where people work and live together, people who wish to change their situation of homelessness. We create our own work and therefore provide for the livelihoods of our community in this way we remain free and independent. We work in our own second hand/ recycling companies . We are striving after a simple way of life. We emphatically choose to support people who most vulnerable in society. Whatever is redundant we give away to people or groups who live in poverty or to other Organisations who work along the same principles as we do. Our communities are open to anyone who shares the above principles and who wishes to actively pursue the above objectives.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself sometimes comes out with some very philosophical gems,  He thought about this blog topic and said, “ So the people that are often thrown away or cast off, by society, take things that people throw away, and recycle them…. … and in doing so, recycle  and renew themselves”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Taking ourselves and our stuff, ( not just the physical, tangible stuff but also the emotional, mental stuff)…  finding new uses, open to loving again and being being  open to being loved  in all forms anew throughout our lives…  a good enough ideal for me to live by too,

….How ’bout you?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. I have many personal reasons for wanting to visit The Hague but this place takes the cake. Thank you muchly for your posts.

    Comment by shesboxingclever — March 17, 2010 @ 2:06 am | Reply

    • You are exceedingly welcome! Glad you enjoyed 🙂 (sorry for the late reply, the germs moved in for far too long and my bed was calling me)

      Comment by kiwidutch — March 29, 2010 @ 11:26 am | Reply

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