Staff from more than 70 embassies will open their doors to the public during the next two Saturdays, inviting visitors to explore their world and share their culture.
This Saturday, May 2, the participating non-EU countries, 43 embassies from six continents, will join the Around the World Embassy Tour. The event is organized by Cultural Tourism DC as part of the 8th Annual Passport DC, a month-long celebration which includes other international cultural events such as the Embassy Chef Challenge and the Asian Heritage Festival.
The incredibly popular embassy tours have drawn nearly 30,000 total visitors in previous years according to Cultural Tourism DC. “Passport DC is a profound way for people to learn by experience. It provides a unique opportunity for people to uncover the similarities among nations across the globe and compare their art, dance, music, textiles, food and so much more. Passport DC is the next best thing to international travel. It showcases a fascinating array of customs from around the globe,” says Steve Shulman, Cultural Tourism DC executive director.
The complete list of participating embassies for this Saturday is available on the Cultural Tourism DC website. Here is a helpful PDF file.
As of press time, 11 fewer embassies, including Australia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, were not participating this year. However, there are nine new embassies participating this year. They are the African Union, Cote D’Ivoire, Haiti, Libya, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Tunisia and Qatar.
A printable/downloadable PDF map is available on the Cultural Tourism DC website. Follow Cultural Tourism DC on Twitter for any last-minute news and where to find the shortest waiting lines.
Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House
The following Saturday, May 9, the European Union Delegation to the U.S. and the 28 E.U. member states will invite visitors to experience authentic music, dance, food, film and art of Europe’s distinctive nations during the 9th annual Shortcut to Europe embassy open houses.
“There is no better way to demonstrate the EU’s motto of Unity in Diversity than by showcasing to the public the range and richness of European culture and society,” says EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan. “I am looking forward to participating in the EU Open House, which has become a highlight on the Washington, D.C. events calendar. The European Union member countries and the EU Delegation have worked together to present this fantastic event, which draws thousands of visitors to our embassies. I hope you will join us in this celebration and enjoy a taste of Europe,” the ambassador adds.
There are fewer embassies on the EU tour than the non-EU tour from the previous Saturday. So expect more visitors at each embassy. Once again, Germany and France are combining their open houses, but this time it will be on the grounds of the German embassy.
According to the EU Delegation, the embassies have a combined total of about 100,000 visits, with each person visiting three or four embassies. Last year the Embassy of the United Kingdom topped the list as the most popular with more than 9700 visitors. The other countries in the top five were Italy, Estonia, Denmark and Romania.
New this year, the EU has two social media contests. All month long, document your EU Mini Trip in the photo contest, and win by taking the most photos inspired by Europe or getting the most “likes.” On EU Open House Day, the scavenger hunt contest is a race to solve clues and visit as many embassies as you can with your smartphone. Good luck!
Need some help to navigate all of these events? Download the new free events app. Check the app stores (for both iPhone and Android) in the next few days. A map/list of the participating embassies is on the EU Open House website.
On both Saturdays, admission is free, but visitors are asked to bring identification. Some embassies will conduct security checks. Please avoid bringing large bags and backpacks. Photography is prohibited at some locations.
The embassies are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturdays. Expect heavy attendance and little parking, especially along Embassy Row. There will be free shuttle bus service (check the respective websites for details).
Shortcut to Europe is part of a series of cultural events taking place throughout May known as the European Month of Culture. The EU Open House and the European Month of Culture coincide with Europe Day (May 9), which commemorates the historic declaration in 1950 by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman that ultimately led to the formation of the European Union. For the full calendar of EU Month of Culture events please visit the EU website.
Throughout the month of May, there will be many opportunities to experience Europe during the European Month of Culture in Washington, D.C. Programming includes musical performances, dance, lectures, film screenings, art and other exhibitions, and most events are free. Nearly 80 events will be held at some of Washington’s most prestigious cultural institutions.