A Quick Review of the EU Open Houses by Raz


Last week Raz looked at the Embassies from Passport DC .

As a follow-up to my Saturday excursion at Passport DC last weekend, I checked out the EU Embassies’ Open House this Saturday. I was crunched for time with a weekend of Mother’s Day activities, so I just stopped by the Poland and Lithuania embassies, which are on 16th St, right near Meridian Hill Park. I live in Mt. Pleasant, so those were the only two closeby.

I am sad to say that I was not too impressed with this event. I should have known that it wouldn’t be as good as last weekend when I didn’t see any line outside the embassies. The Poland embassy has beautiful details in its architecture and decoration. They were serving some kind of perogi and sausage. There was a long line and I wasn’t hungry, so I skipped over that to try a sip of Polish beer, which wasn’t my cup of tea. There was a long line for the food and they were running out of things. I heard someone joke that it was like the Soviet days.


The Lithuanian embassy was a more modern building with glass doors and a lot of light. They had some photographs and artwork on display. They had a beautiful dining room with a gorgeous chandelier.

I had a lot more fun at the Passport DC event last weekend. There were a lot of special events, activities and demonstrations. Maybe I chose two embassies that did not have as much to offer as the others, but for a short walk down the street, I was glad to have seen what a few more embassies look like on the inside.

Anyone have a better experience?

18 Comment

  • I was really disappointed that the British embassy did not allow visitors to enter their building at all — they only had their garden open, and a few tents set up outside. No free food, no tour, no entertainment. I loved the interior of the Italian embassy, although they also didn’t have alot of activities going on. I heard that the Germans put on a good event, I’ll definitely be checking them out next year.

  • DC_Chica: I, too, was disappointed that of the embassies my friends and I visited (UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Finland), the UK was the only one not letting visitors into the residence or embassy. It’s such a gorgeous building. The garden was pretty, but they had a strange way of having people get to it. Overall, I thought it was a bit of a let-down; I guess I was hoping the embassies would have “native tchotchkes” for sale (I needed a last-minute Mother’s Day gift!). The German embassy was interesting (they have a lot of land and several buildings) – but people in line were put off by the security guard telling us to have women in one line and men in the other (cue concentration-camp murming amongst the visitors – I took it as a joke by the guard – who wasn’t German – after a long hot day). Next year, if I go again, I won’t re-visit the same places.

  • check out the sweat stain on that one dudes back. And it was what 77 degrees? What’s he do when its 97?

  • None of you must have checked out the Belgian embassy. The long trek up to Garfield Street was totally worth it. They were giving away free chocolates, waffles/cookies, fruit juice samples, and, best of all, beer! and good beers, too, like duval, orval, leffe, and raspberry lambic. and you could have as many samples as you wanted. I agree that the rest of the embassies were a bit of a let down, though.

  • Thank you Anon 11:30…I thought I was the only who noticed and hesitated to post a comment on it….gross…

  • Hi Raz,
    I actually had a good time at the Polish and Lithuanian embassies (I also walked from home)! I think the key was to get there on the early side, before noon. There were no lines or crowds at all when I was there. The architecture was the star of the show, of course, but the pierogies, kielbasa and beer were pretty good. Both of the embassies were built by the Hendersons circa 1910, of Henderson castle fame, so they’re a pretty important part of DC history. the Lithuanian Embassy was recenetly renovated from top to bottom, so appeared much more modern inside. The Polish Embassy looks almost exactly as it did pre-WWII, according to old photos I’ve seen of the interior.
    I took a bunch of pictures and have posted them on Flickr, if anyone wants to see them:

  • Germany had beer, sausage and entertainment. Can’t go wrong with that!

  • Aside from the sweaty-backed guy (in his defense, it does look maybe like he was wearing a baby-carrier) the first thing I noticed in that photo was how rudely everyone was dressed – like they were going to play volleyball, not tour an embassy. People – you’re not eight years old anymore, what’s with the shorts and t-shirts everywhere? I’m hardly a fashionista, and not expecting white gloves and cravats here, but this made me cringe.

  • The Czech Embassy was great! Beer, music, tour of the residence, pretty girls dressed in traditional garb, ugly guys dressed in traditional garb. Fantastic!

  • Anon: my car thermometer said that it was 89 degrees, and it was humid! I was wearing a seersucker blazer and was sweating like a stuck pig – well, not like the guy pictured above!

  • Anon: my car thermometer said that it was 89 degrees, and it was humid! I was wearing a seersucker blazer and was sweating like a stuck pig – well, not like the guy pictured above!

    Victoriam: I totally agree with you – people, have some respect for yourself and wear khakis and an oxford shirt; at the very least, a nice polo shirt will do. You’re going to someone’s home or business, not a rodeo. I managed to wear a blazer and a bow-tie, but that’s because I’m a bit too much of a dandy at times…

  • Overall, boring and a waste of time. For DC residents you’re better off going to specific events at embassies throughout the year, rather than this mass-tourism where most time was spent waiting in lines.

    Victoriam & JohnnyReb — give me a break, I was there in running shorts and a t-shirt. There was nothing remotely formal about this event and much of the time was spent outside, walking and waiting.

  • Anonymous: You can’t bother to put on something other than running shorts and a t-shirt when you are invited to visit a foreign country’s embassy and/or official place of residence? Guess we were raised differently… Not saying you need a tuxedo or more formal white-tie get-up, but shorts are just vulgar in a formal surround.

  • And this coming from someone who admits to wearing a bow-tie….that pretty much says it all.

    If you really considered this event to be at all formal, you need to get out more.

  • for what it’s worth I work at a US Embassy overseas, and I agree that you should at least wear pants when visting another Embassy, no need for a tie or anything but shorts, do they even wear shorts for any occasion other than sports in any other country, are low class.

  • Hey, when I converted to Nation of Islam, the bow tie came with the deal… I’m kidding, of course. I don’t get the bow tie hate: it’s just as useless as a regular tie, yet takes up less space. South of the Mason & Dixon here, bow ties are perfectly acceptable. I am not 12 years old, so I choose not to dress like a 12 year old. T-shirts and shorts (running shorts especially!) are the uniform of children. When someone is gracious enough to invite you in to their house (such as, oh, an embassy), you should try to look nice. And if we’re going to play the whole “analyze someone by their admitted choice of clothing,” I’m going to say you’re an emotionally-stunted hipster, who thinks that 1986 was the height of all things fashionable (I was there – it wasn’t). Oh well, you know what they say about arguing on the internet…

  • The Czech Embassy was great, especially the tour through the residence. Best free food/drinks were to be had at Belgium and Finland. More details and pics here: http://citysifting.com/?p=1324

  • Jesus Christ, you people make it sound like each ambassador personally invited you to dine with royalty at the embassy.

    This was about 1) giving away cheap tat to the sweating masses (amazing how little people are willing to stand in line and wait for), and 2) an opportunity for both the masses and the embassies being able to pat themselves on the back for “doing something cultural”. Nothing more, nothing less.

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