DC’s EU Embassies Are Open to Everybody This Saturday

It’s one of DC’s best traditions and the only way to “visit” Europe without a passport

May 12, 2023 6:30 am
Embassy of Greece, Washington DC, USA.
This may be your only chance to travel to 26 countries in one day.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

This weekend’s EU Open House Saturday will showcase more than two dozen EU nations really trying to get Washingtonians to visit their countries: They’ll showcase food and drink offerings, music, dances, crafts, industries and more in an attempt for you to possibly book some tickets overseas. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy a city you think you know. It’s also one of the only chances we have to visit, technically, foreign land without flying. 

The annual event is held on the first Saturday following May 9, which happens to be Europe Day, honoring the peace and unity of that continent’s countries. (Well, most of the countries. More on that later.) 

This year, 26 countries and the EU itself are participating at 24 different locations throughout Washington, D.C. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is not possible to visit every delegation, embassy, house and residence in six hours. Do not try. It’s a fool’s errand. (Trust us. We tried.) It’s best to pick a neighborhood and stay in it — or choose a specific embassy and visit whatever else is nearby whenever you’re done with your top-choice destination. Plan ahead. Use the Google Map the embassies assembled. 

Finally, the United Kingdom — one of the best and most popular countries to visit on past EU Open House Saturdays — is not participating. Because they’re no longer in the EU. 

An Insider’s Guide to DC, Courtesy of Viceroy GM Sherry Abedi
An underrated museum, superb cup of coffee and no fewer than three bakery suggestions

Belgium / Luxembourg / Netherlands

We’re starting with a geographical outlier and one of the most popular stops every EU Open House Saturday (now that the UK is not part of the EU, the most popular?). This year, you’re able to visit three countries at the Embassy of the Netherlands. Benelux will feature food, beer, a live DJ, VR bike tours, light shows, kids games, Smurfs and more. This is the only stop where you’ll most likely take home chocolate, hops and a photo with a person in a Smurf costume. 


A visit to the Denmark embassy may make you feel a bit better about the state of the planet. In addition to being a good-looking building, they’re showcasing their country’s green solutions and offering a bike ride through Copenhagen using VR glasses. Eat a Danish open sandwich, get the full details on hygge, tour the embassy’s residence and appreciate Danish design.


Any embassy event description that sounds like a Stefon-on-Weekend Update party has my interest. Hungary is promising: a Hungarian-centric dog show, teqball challenge, gingerbread-love letter making, authentic gulyás and wine bar, a Rubik’s cube tutorial and folk dancing with a live band. 


One of the best ways to spend a weekend afternoon in DC is stopping in some vintage shops and taking advantage of happy hours around 14th and U. Not too far from the stores and the bars are a few embassies — including the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, a short walk away and conveniently located a block from Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. Start the day in the park, then walk over to the embassy for stories from mountain climber Krzysztof Wielicki, polar explorer Marek Kamiński and kayaker Piotr Chmieliński. There’s also a robotic dog, piano concerts, guided tours and Polish sweets. Then start your evening on 14th and U and talk to your friends about that robot dog.


The Former Ambassador’s Residence regularly showcases cutting-edge Spanish visual artists. Along with the neighboring Mexican Cultural Institute, this block is a good spot for art lovers. Use EU Open House Saturday as a reminder that some of these places are open to the public more than a few times a year. And then try some paella and Spanish street food, followed by Spanish wine and beer.


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