On the occasion of the commemoration and celebration of 75 years of freedom in the Netherlands, the House of Representatives puts the spotlights on some historical places in the Parliament Buildings. One of these places is the Old Library (Handelingenkamer).
The digital tour includes the tragic and heroic history of resistance fighter Gerrit Kastein, the office and bomb-shelter of Seyss-Inquart, the Reichskommissar of the occupied Netherlands, and the last meeting of Parliament on 10 May 1940, hours after the German forces had invaded the Netherlands.
The Old Library (Dutch: Handelingenkamer) holds 30,000 books on politics and constitutional law. The most prominent place in the library has been reserved for the proceedings of Parliament, the ‘Handelingen’, from 1815 until today. Approximately 4,000 volumes contain every word that has ever been spoken in the House. One shelf remains empty to symbolize the five years from 1940 to 1945 when Parliament was suspended. In a democracy the people are free to speak, but in a dictatorship everyone must remain silent.