By Jhr mr Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland.
This will be my last contribution to Diplomat Magazine. To say goodbye. During many years I wrote articles every month in my honorary function as ‘Special Advisor International Affairs of the City of The Hague’, or –as some Dutch newspapers (NRC Handelsblad, De Telegraaf, AD Haagsche Courant) called me several years ago and ever since (with a wink !)- ‘the city ambassador of The Hague’.
In the 80’s and especially the 90’s of the 20th century The Haghe was very succesful in gathering in international organisations (ICTY, OPCW, ICC etc.), other IGO’s and NGO’s. Tens of thousands of international workers from all over the world work and live here now. They are very important for The Hague’s image as ‘The International City of Peace and Justice’ as well as for its economy and employment. That is why in 2004 the Municipality of The Hague was extremely worried about the results of an enquiry from an international workers union amongst their members about what they thought about living and working in The Netherlands: a lot of international workers were at that time not happy here and wanted to leave our country, together with the organisations they worked for. If the expats really would leave on a large scale, it would be disastrous for our city. The Mayor and Aldermen of The Hague took many measures, together with the Government, to avoid that exodus.
A small measure of the Mayor and Aldermen was to ask six inhabitants – I was one of them- to become ‘City Consul of The Hague’ and to be their ‘eyes and ears’ in the international circuit in The Hague. So we did. The complaints were very divers: from police behavior to not understanding the public health system here to the general feeling that they were not welcome by the Dutch people and much more. We listened to the complaints of the expats and passed the information on to the Mayor (and former Cabinet Minister) Mr. Deetman personally, who then took measures. Several years later the new Mayor Mr. van Aartsen –also a former Cabinet Minister- decided to decrease the number of City Consuls to only me and to change my title into ‘Special Advisor International Affairs’.
What I mainly do in the international circuit of The Hague can perhaps be summerized as: (1) explain about and help with many different aspects of The Hague and The Netherlands, (2) connect people if useful for them and (3) –occasionally- listen to complaints and try to solve them. Furthermore I gave in the past fourteen years interviews to several newspapers, wrote articles in several international as well as Dutch magazines and held speeches for international as well as Dutch organisations about the history and future of, and importance for The Hague of the big international community here.
This year I will turn 70 and I will have to retire as Justice (Judge) in the (Dutch) Court of Appeal, my daily work. It’s time for other things than work. That is also the main reason that I will resign as Special Advisor International Affairs per February 1, 2018. Since that capacity was the reason why I wrote for Diplomat Magazine, I will stop with that also per the same day: February 1, 2018.
It was a privilige to serve during fourteen years The Hague as well as to serve and help hundreds of always very nice and friendly foreign diplomats, judges and other expats, coming from all over the world to live and work in my own beloved The Hague, ‘The International City of Peace and Justice’.
I thank all people involved, expats as well as Dutch, from the bottom of my heart. Goodbye !
Alexander W. Beelaerts van Blokland’s articles in ‘Diplomat Magazine’ 2013 – 2018
- 2013-10 The Hague welcomes six new ambassadors in September
- 2013-11 Congratulations !
- 2013-12 The Dutch learn about Diplomacy in The Hague
- 2014-01 From Queen to King in 2013
- 2014-02 A remarkable year in The Hague
- 2014-04 ‘It was truly gezellig !’
- 2014-05 Remembrance / Kwibuka
- 2014-06 Jolly June in The Hague
- 2014-07 Welcome to nine new ambassadors
- 2014-09 200 years ‘Prinsjesdag’
- 2014-10 Welcome !
- 2014-11 International Organizations in The Hague
- 2014-12 Welcome Ambassadors !
- 2015-01 Ambassadors in the Press
- 2015-02 Welcome new ambassadors !
- 2015-03 Elections in March
- 2015-04 4th Global Conference on CyberSpace in The Hague
- 2015-04 The Hague becomes an International Security Centre
- 2015-05 Remembrances in The Hague: Armenia, ANZAC and Rwanda
- 2015-06 The Hague for UNICEF
- 2015-07 The Haghe and Missing Persons
- 2015-09 The topic of Immigration and NIMP, The Netherland’s Institute for Multiparty Democracy
- 2015-11 The 3rd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in The Hague
- 2015-12 New World Campus: an innovative and sustainable new organisation
- 2016-01 The Dutch and the Dutch EU Presidency in 2016
- 2016-02 Terrorism in The Hague
- 2016-03 The Hague’s new word mark
- 2016-04 The Hague: more than just the international institutions
- 2016-05 European exhibition on peace ans security
- 2016-06 Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) centre of Excellence (CCOE) moved to The Hague
- 2016-07 The Hague Academy of International Law in the Peace Palace
- 2016-09 The Hague as Shelter City for Defenders of Human Rights
- 2016-10 EUROPOL: a fast growing international police organization in The Hague
- 2016-11 REDRESS: the most recent NGO that started in The Hague
- 2016-12 Kosovo: again a new international tribunal to settle in The Hague
- 2017-01 “Discover International Law”: an interesting new book
- 2017-02 Brochure The Hague International City of Peace and Justice
- 2017-03 Dutch elections on March 15th
- 2017-04 OPCW twenty years in The Hague
- 2017-05 The Hague and the Urban Agenda for the EU
- 2017-06 A new NGO in The Hague: Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI)
- 2017-07 Visitor’s Centre of the Peace Palace
- 2017-09 4th Just Peace Festival 2017
- 2017-10 The Red Cross branch The Hague’s activities in the autumn
- 2017-11 The Hague and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)
- 2017-12 The end of ICTY
- 2018-01 My resignation as ‘city ambassador of The Hague’ after 14 years