Experience competing nations’ culture at Olympic National Houses


With the Olympic Games due to kick off in just a matter of hours, athletes from across the globe will be putting in their final preparations to compete in the greatest sporting event in the world.

From Jamaica to Switzerland and Brazil to Belgium, 204 nations will see their greatest athletes battle it out for gold in London this summer, all determined to climb the medal table.

And for these athletes and other VIPs to relax and be entertained, various international Olympic houses have been set up in landmark buildings across the capital, including Somerset House, Alexandra Palace and Kings Cross.

However the good news for those of us who aren’t Olympic athletes is that many of these building will be open to the public at some time over the next few weeks, hosting medal ceremonies, exhibitions, concerts and parties.

So if you’re heading down to the capital this summer, why not make your way to one of these Olympic National Houses to experience individual nations’ culture, cuisine and entertainment offerings.

If you’re bit of an athletics fan and fancy experiencing a spot of Bolt’s home country’s culture, then Jamaica House at the O2 is not to be missed.

Predicted to be where some of the largest and most impressive Olympic celebrations will take place, Jamaica House 2012 will also be used as a platform to celebrate 50 years of Jamaican independence, focusing on all areas of Jamaican culture, cuisine, music, sporting legacy and people.

Celebrations are also sure to be rife at 2016 host nation Brazil’s house located at Somerset House, with a programme that includes free exhibitions, authentic Brazilian cuisine and musical performances.

Or consider heading down to the South Bank, where Glaziers Hall has been transformed into a ‘Red Zone’ as Switzerland’s national house, reflecting the nation’s commitment to “painting the town red” while in London.