the library itself is inspired by chinese design, specifically that of a dragon. in addition to the gleaning red of the wood, you can find several dragon heads that protrude out. the vertical posts that hold the shelves together are meant to symbolize the dragon’s legs, manifesting themselves in the claws and feet near the bottom. the glass mosaic ceiling, curved and slanted overhead, is the dragon’s hunched back. last but not least, the most impressive part of the dragon—the tail. the iconic spiral staircase of the Handelingenkamer, represents the dragon’s strong and imposing tail.
the library, celebrating exactly two hundred years since the first book was placed on its shelves, mostly houses bound transcripts of the parliamentary meetings. as tradition goes, one shelf remains empty to commemorate those lost during world war ii. parliament members often used the library as a secret meeting spot, as it is so stealthily tucked away and journalists can neither find it nor hear the discussion from the outside. today, it’s mostly a secret site for the lucky few who are able to stand in its wondrous walls.
I left the library feeling hopeful and accomplished. I had done a thing! I set out on a mission, and by George I did it! the biggest thanks and gratitude go to Zulmira and Fatma, without whom I would still be feeling despondent, dejected, and despaired.