A 99-year-old time capsule discovered hidden beneath a statue of King Willem II during renovations at the Dutch Parliament was opened on Monday, revealing historical documents and books about Dutch battles against Napoleon. The workers renovating the Parliament building in The Hague were surprised to find a metal box concealed between two walls supporting the king’s pedestal. “It was a huge surprise,” said Sophie Olie, the city’s art historian.
Wearing white gloves, Mayor Jan van Zanen ceremoniously opened the capsule in a room full of journalists to reveal its contents: letters, documents, and books. “It was a very nice impression of that time. There was a poem for the king and a poem for the city and the country.
It takes us back 99 years before 2024,” Mr. Van Zanen told AFP. The books are a three-volume account in French of the battles of Willem II, including the 1815 Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon, by F. de Bas, a renowned military historian of the time. The city plans to carry on the tradition by installing its own time capsule when the statue is replaced in 2028, the mayor said.
“The idea now is to ask the residents of The Hague to advise us on what should go in the box for those who will open it in a hundred years,” he said. He will respect the people’s wishes but stated that his preference would be to fill the box with “text and some images from today, text about the renovation, and a piece of currency… a euro, for example.”