Top stops for Passport D.C.’s Shortcut to Europe embassy tours

If you’re hoping to sample some Belgian chocolate or learn about Latvia, Saturday’s Shortcut to Europe — when the 28 member states of the European Union will open their embassies — is your day.


The line outside the Embassy of Ireland in 2013. (Courtesy European Union Delegation to the United States).

Most of the embassies are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Portugal will close at 1 p.m.) Actual passports are not required, though many embassies require photo ID. Shuttle buses will be available for travel between embassies on specific routes. Visit www.euopenhouse.org for a shuttle map and the list of participating embassies.

Here are some countries that should be on your itinerary.

Belgium
3330 Garfield St. NW.
Sure, the tastes of Belgium that first come to mind are stereotypical: beer, waffles and chocolate. But all three are delicious, and all three will be featured on the Belgian embassy tour. There also will be saxophone music in honor of Adolphe Sax, the Belgian designer credited with inventing the instrument.

Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW.
Literature buffs will love the Czech embassy tour: Franz Kafka, famed author of "The Metamorphosis," was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now the Czech Republic) in 1883, and the embassy will feature theatrical adaptations of Kafka's work, along with music, Czech beer and food popular in the 1920s.

Denmark
3200 Whitehaven St. NW.
Copenhagen was recently named the European Green Capital 2014. Celebrate by going for a bike ride (Copenhagen is famous for its biking culture), making your own smoothie or learning about the environmental issues Denmark is tackling. The Danish School in Washington will host a fundraising bake sale during the open house.

Embassy of France and Embassy of Germany
4101 Reservoir Rd. NW.
A dynamic duo, the French and German embassies will celebrate together at the Embassy of France. There will be French and German music, food, beer, face painting for kids and more. Get there early: This tour will be popular and crowded.

The Netherlands
4200 Linnean Ave. NW.
A great stop if you have kids: Take a photo with Van Gogh, take a quiz on Dutch history, play Dutch children's games and sample Dutch treats. (Here's hoping stroopwafels, also known as caramel waffles, will be on the menu.)

Romania
1607 23rd St. NW.
Put on your dancing shoes for a Romanian dance lesson after one of the performances by the Carpathia Folk Dance Ensemble, a troupe based in Washington. There will also be Romanian food and information on the country's culture and tourism.

Slovakia
3523 International Ct. NW.
This tiny landlocked nation has a culture based strongly on folk tradition: Its national anthem comes from the melody of a folk song, "Kopala studienku." The embassy will have folk music, costumes, art and food.

Spain
2801 16th St. NW.
Small plates were cool in Spain long before the rest of the world caught on. Try some tapas and Spanish wine at the Former Residence of the Ambassador of Spain, which was built in 1922, and learn about the country's art and culture.

Margaret Ely is a producer and reporter for Local Living and Weekend. Previously, she was an intern for the Post’s Metro section.
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