This year the SPIL weekend took place in Maastricht-Limburg ! After a tough bike ride up a hill we arrived at the Inn and had a lovely evening. Some of us sat around the bonfire drinking beers and grilling marshmallows. While others played board games and twister, filling the house with laughters. 
On Saturday we’re off to Maastricht, what a thrill to speed down the hill we  had to climb the evening before ! We start the day with a Mole game. Four teams are sent off around the city to play games ! After a bit of free time in the afternoon we all meet again for diner at Pizza Napoli. We explore the night life in Maastricht with a pub crawl and some dancing at the local clubs.
Sunday morning was a tough wake up call as we rise slowly, still recovering from last night’s partying. Mini games are organized on the lawn : potato sack race and musical chairs. The final game, Levende Stratego, takes place in the woods as the USA, China and Russia all try to prove their superior combatting skills ! The way home is long changing trains and buses several times before we reach Leiden and The Hague, we are tired but happy to the core. What a beautiful weekend...

SPIL bezoekt de Tweede Kamer

Recentelijk is de SPIL afgereisd naar het binnenhof om de tweede kamer te bezoeken, hier konden de leden al hun prangende vragen over dit politieke machtscentrum stellen aan SGP voorlichter Menno De Bruyne die al decennia lang in de tweede kamer vertoeft.

We hebben de oude vergaderzaal van de tweede kamer bewondert, we hebben vele politici gezien en we zijn op de foto geweest in het mooiste kamertje van de tweede kamer; de handelingenkamer. We kregen een unieke kijk in het werk van een voorlichter in de tweede kamer, daarnaast konden we een echt debat in de tweede kamer bijwonen.

We zijn allemaal een ervaring rijker door dit leuke bezoek aan het Nederlandsche parlement.

Door Laurens Huisman

JOVD, ROOD & SPIL debate

On Monday the 3rd of december, parliament members Sven Koopmans from VVD and Sadet Karabulut from SP debated about the topic of interventionism in the Middle East. The youth parties of VVD and SP, JOVD and ROOD, took initiative for this political evening. Sadet Karabulut opined that the Netherlands should withdraw from intervening in the region. Her opponent Koopmans defended the current policy of our country participating in the coalition of the West which interferes in the Middle East. The debate was fiery and powerful; the fact that visitors of the debate were also allowed to ask questions contributed to this. Many people attended the evening in Leiden and the commission of domestic affairs was very happy with the turnout of the debate!

By Sterre Dieteren

Career Night

On Tuesday the 15th of November, SPIL organized a Career Night. Our students could talk to professionals who work in an expertise or field that's related to political science, governance and politics or international relations. For example, some representatives from the Organisation for International Legal Cooperation visited us, but also the first secretary of the American Delegation to the Rrganisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Those experts could tell the students a lot about their experience of working in the international relations field. Also an employee and a trainee from IvCB, a public affairs and stakeholdermanagement agency, visited the career night to tell about public affairs and lobbying and a Spanish representative from the Foreign Press Association in the Netherlands told the students about his life as a journalist. We also focused on Dutch politics and governance with employees from Dutch ministries, such as te ministry of finance, the ministry of foreign affairs and the ministry of health, wealth and sports. They informed us about how the Dutch government and legislation works. With all those different experts, the career night became a very nice and interesting evening!

By Abel van de Sluis

Student Debate

Vorige week heeft de Commissie Binnenland van de SPIL zijn eerste evenement van het jaar georganiseerd: het Student Debate! Op woensdagmiddag verzamelden verschillende studenten in Den Haag om te debatteren over twee interessante onderwerpen: de vraag of privacy belangrijker is dan veiligheid van een land en de waarde van staatsgrenzen in de hedendaagse geglobaliseerde wereld. 
De debatten die zijn gevoerd waren erg geslaagd, met veel actieve deelnemers en verschillende doordachte argumenten voor de stellingen. Tijdens het eerste debat gingen de debaters vooral erg in op terroristische dreigingen en de vraag of ‘privacy invasion’ zou kunnen bijdragen aan het veiliger maken van samenlevingen. Tijdens het tweede debat werd er vooral ingegaan op het belang van staatsgrenzen, handel, nationalisme en het creëeren van één grote wereldstaat zonder grenzen en of dat zou werken. 
Al met al hebben we een hele leuke dag gehad met interessante inzichten, vurige debatten en veel gezelligheid!
Door Nika Engelen

Brussels excursion


The start of the two days trip to Brussels, was probably the only challenge we had to take. 40 of us, found their way to the bus in the early morning hours, slightly sleepy and not yet fully aware of what was happening around us. After a few hours of driving, we arrived in at our hostel in the middle of the city. From here on, the atmosphere changed: we had our first meeting straight away, with Raphaël Lepot, a representative from the House of Provinces. Next to telling us about his work, lobbying the views of his region to the EU, he also answered all sorts of questions concerning his personal experiences working for the European Union.

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Theme Night on Dutch Politics

On Tuesday 19th of February the SPIL held a night on Dutch politics in The Hague. The aim of the event was to bring Dutch politics and the history behind it, closer to international students. Besides, a general inside from professor R. Koole into Dutch politics Marieke van Doorn also spoke about her role as member of the municipality council and students talked with her about current problems students face in The Hague, such as the housing problem. These two presentations were followed by short introductions from youth organizations from Dutch political parties. The representatives gave a brief overview of the position of their organization and also talked about their opinion on immigration and internationalization in a Q&A. The event gave international students not only the opportunity to get an overview of the development of Dutch politics, but also gave them the opportunity to ask some pressing questions as for example about the housing problem in The Hague.

By Catrin Böcher

Brussels Day 1

On Thursday the 29th of November we met very early in the morning to start our two-day trip to Brussels. At 04:30 the bus first picked up the students who travelled from Leiden and then went further to also pick up the students travelling from The Hague. Even though we were all still quite tired in the early morning hours and mostly slept during the bus ride, there was an atmosphere of excitement in the bus. At 08:30 we finally arrived in our Hostel in Brussels. After having some time to change and getting some refreshment we walked to the House of European History. The museum shows the history of Europe, showing the major developments that had a lasting impact on the European continent. In the museum each of us got a tablet and earphones which guided us through the exhibition. Through the tablet we were not only able to hear the stories about the objects on display in our preferred European language, but could also see more information about the objects in written form on the tablet screen. We all really enjoyed the visit and could have even spend more time learning about the European history. However, there was no time as we, after going to get some lunch, had a meeting with the European think tank Bruegel which is specialized in economics. There we were welcomed by the Secretary General Matt Dann. He gave us an introduction to what the think tank does, how it is financed and how it wants to secure the independence of its research. His presentation was very informative and because of its humoristic style also very amusing. After this meeting we had some time in the hostel to get to see the rooms for the following night and relax before going to dinner. After that the whole group went to have dinner together in an Italian restaurant. This gave us the chance to better get to know each other and talk to some new people. After enjoying dinner many people went to have a Belgian beer, while others were so exhausted by today’s programme that they went back to the hostel to sleep to get energy for the activities of the following day.

By Catrin Böcher


On Monday the 8th of October, the SPIL visited the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We arrived around noon and everyone was well dressed. After going to security, we entered the building, which had just opened in 2015. We had a quick look around in the arrivals lounge, after which our guide also arrived. She welcomed us an informed us on some interesting facts and history of the ICC and the building. After, we got to walk around in the visitor area, accompanied with our own personal audio guide Ipod. The visitor lounge exhibited many different aspect of the ICC, like the recordings of an official court case and the procedure of the treatment of physical evidence.

Thereafter, the guide had prepared a presentation about the procedure that activates after an official complaint of an actor is submitted. The presentation ended with a small Q&A in which our members could ask many questions.

Last but not least, we all got the chance to see one of the three courtrooms. We sat down in the visitor seats, where visitors normally are seated if they want to listen and watch the procedures. We could see the whole area trough a glass window, which was very impressive.

It was an overal great experience. Thanks to the SPIL and the people from the ICC for arranging this visit for us!

By Rosa Kromhout

Pete Hoekstra

From the outside, it seemed like it was just a regular Monday evening in the Wijnhaven building. Inside, however, hundreds of students were eagerly waiting for the doors of the lecture hall to open, knowing they would have to run to get a seat on this special night, organized by the Committee of Domestic Affairs of the SPIL. Impressively, some of them waited more than an hour, just so they could get a glimpse of the man of the evening: the Ambassador of the United States of America, Pete Hoekstra.  
Five hundred students had the honour of hearing the Ambassador talk with SPIL about his personal career, the bilateral relationship between the Netherlands and the United States of America, and the United States’ foreign policy. He managed to tell about his experiences as the Senator of the state of Michigan and his work as Ambassador in an interesting way, and kept us all listening with great attention. Thanks to professor Niels van Willigen, who lead the conversation with the Ambassador, we now have some more insight on the daily tasks of the Ambassador.
A few lucky students had the opportunity to ask him a question. All of them managed to come up with impressively well-prepared, interesting and challenging questions. The Ambassador welcomed all questions and answered them properly, clearly amused with the opportunity of having interaction with the students.
Sadly, the extremely interesting night had to come to end at some point. To reconcile, the Ambassador promised to come back soon, so that he could answer all our remaining questions. After the Ambassador agreed to have a picture taken of him and all the attendees, he left the room. But the memory of this night will stay with us forever!
By Nicola Otten

Een ochtend bij het Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken - de studenten die in Den Haag studeren lopen er elke dag praktisch onder door, en iedereen die Den Haag Centraal Station uit komt lopen schenkt geen extra aandacht aan het gebouw. De sfeer die rondom het gebouw en de organisatie hangen zijn tastbaar als je de lobby instapt, en een groep SPIL studenten mocht in het gebouw daadwerkelijk in gesprek gaan met mensen van achter de schermen

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SPIL Embassy Hop

In the first two weeks of February, the SPIL went to four different embassies. We have heard the words ‘bilateral’ and ‘unilateral’ more often than when we visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs! All embassies have nevertheless succeeded in bringing across their story and in informing us about their daily work. We started our Embassy Hop at the residence of the Austrian Ambassador. We were welcomed in beautiful room where they had spread out all kinds of delicious Austrian pastries. While we enjoyed our wine with a piece of apfelstrudel, the Ambassador told us all about her work in an informal setting. De next day, another delegation of SPIL’ers went to the Indonesian embassy, where the Ambassador gave us a presentation about the country. He confronted us with the fact that we do not know a lot about Indonesia. Did you know, for example, that Indonesia has more than 17.000 islands? A bit embarrassing that the Ambassador himself has to tell you that. The week after that we went to the Brazilian embassy, where we got a short presentation by the Brazilian Ambassador. After that, an employee answered all of our questions while in the background we heard noises coming from outside, since there was a protest going on to stop deforestation of the Amazon. It was an interesting experience! Last but not least, we visited the Mexican embassy, where the interim Ambassador and two employees told us all about their work. We also had the opportunity to walk around on the gallery of the embassy, where they exhibited local Mexican art. Every embassy has told an incredible story and we have learned a lot from our visits. Some advice if you are reading this and are thinking about joining next year: make sure you have blister plasters on you and read up on how many islands Indonesia consists of!

By Nicola Otten

Already 37 - Celebrating an anniversary with Kajsa Ollogren

For the 37th birthday of the SPIL, the domestic affairs committee organised a very special lecture. The minister of domestic affairs of the Netherland herself, Kajsa Ollogren, took an hour of her time to talk to the students of the Leiden University.
Delivering a very powerful speech, she described the world as it is now in our age of globalization and important political Netflix shows.
After elaborating on the struggles of today as she sees them, the minister urged the students to fight for their values of freedom and prosperity.
She pointed out that even if those values feel very normal in the Netherlands it was now more than ever important to stand up and fight for what the students believe in.
After her speech she took the time to answer some interesting questions from the audience about getting rid of the time change in the Netherlands, the advisory referendum on the new security law, the future of her party, the first female prime minister and many more.
For the more informal part of the evening the SPIL switched locations to De Storm after this engaging lecture to celebrate and end the day with good music, good company and of course the first drink free.
Happy Birthday, SPIL!
By Helena Daeberitz

Dutch Day

On Thursday the 27th of September, Wijnhaven was transformed into a full Dutch market. Students had the chance to visit this ‘Dutch Day’ to get to know everything they wanted about Dutch culture and traditions. Students could take a course in the most important Dutch words, such as ‘Albert Heijn bonuskaart’. They could take a chance in playing traditional Dutch games, like ‘stoelendans’ (dancing with chairs). Furthermore, some Dutch students helped to learn internationals the most original and beautiful pick-up lines. Some more serious matters like how to open a bank account, or get a bike or insurance were also discussed. Students could taste traditional Dutch delicacies: stroopwafels and roze koeken for example. And last, but not least, students had the chance to learn everything about Dutch traditions: from the Dutch anthem to rules about hanging the Dutch flag.  A lot of students visited the Dutch Day and had the chance to ask all the questions they wanted and to try different things: we just hope the Dutch pick-up lines did not scare them away..

By Roos Neven


By - Akif Aliyev, 1st Year IRO

''I had the privilege to be one of the 22 students to attend the IAPSS World Congress, the largest annual event for students of Political Science around the world. This years conference in Paris focused on Diversity and Globalization, a phenomena that is increasingly becoming an inevitable part of global life. We contested the benefits and challenges brought to us by an increasingly globalized and interdependent world and discussed how we must approach these changes. As observers, we were given the chance to participate in lively discussions regarding the research and work-in-progress of a panel of high profile scholars and experts, an overall very eye opening experience for anyone pursuing a Political Science degree.  

Not only did the conference give us the possibility to expand our scope of knowledge and perspectives through dialogue with other students and academics of the field, but it was also an important step for our futures, giving us a chance to practice our networking skills and learn more about the format of academic conferences and research projects. These will all serve as important skills throughout the course of our studies and beyond.  

This trip also gave us - as Leiden University students - the opportunity to bond amongst ourselves, allowing us to find out about the differences and similarities we share between our studies. It is safe to say we enjoyed ourselves in the beautiful city of Paris, where we created memories and acquired valuable experience that we will cherish throughout our academic and social lives.''


Verslag Amerikaanse Ambassade

Om 8:40 stond bijna iedereen klaar op Leiden Centraal, een deel van de groep sloot aan in Den Haag. Na ongeveer 10 minuten lopen vanaf Den Haag Centraal kwamen we aan bij het gebouw van de Amerikaanse Ambassade. We kwamen binnen via de zijingang i.v.m. security. In groepjes van vier gingen we naar binnen, hier lieten we ons identiteitsbewijs zien en liepen we door een scanner. Onze tassen werden ook gescand en moesten we achterlaten bij de ingang. Ook moesten we onze telefoons uitschakelen en hier achterlaten. We werden door een Nederlandse vrouw van Public Affairs begeleid naar een zaaltje waar we een presentatie zouden gaan krijgen van een Amerikaanse diplomaat. Hier werden we opgewacht door een andere local van dezelfde afdeling.

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Opening hours

Openings hours
Leiden and The Hague
Monday 10:00-17:00
Tuesday* 10:00-17:00
Wednesday 10:00-17:00
Thursday 13:00-17:00
Friday 10:00-17:00
Weekend Closed
 * Op donderdag heeft het bestuur tot 13:00 vergadering
On Thursday the room is closed due weekly boardmeetings until 13:00