The Defence Attaché Association in The Hague organized its annual gala dinner in October of last year, which had to be put on hold for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event was dedicated to its members and specially invited guests, coinciding with the autumn briefing for the military attaches accredited to the Netherlands.
This year, the event took place at Madurodam Park, which was transformed into a formal dining room, attracting a record attendance of a hundred guests representing diplomatic missions.
The majority of the guests were posted in the Netherlands, but many were also accredited to the Netherlands and had official residences in various European countries. Defence/Armed Forces Attachés stationed in France, Germany, Belgium, and the UK joined the military attaches living in The Hague for a full-day briefing followed by an exquisite gala dinner and ball with a great live band.
According to Colonel Stein Westlye Johannessen, the Defence Attaché of Norway and Dean of Defence Attaché Association of The Hague, the event was an unabashed success, providing an opportunity for attachés to deepen their ties with the host country and build strong relationships with key personnel. Speeches were given throughout the evening, including a toast to all heads of states by Captain Antoon Hertogs, Defence Attaché of Sweden, welcome words by Colonel Stein Johannessen, a speech by Brigadier General Jan Blacquiere, Head of the Foreign Liaison Office in the Ministry of Defence, a speech by Vice-admiral Arie Jan de Waard, Directeur of the Defensie Materieel Organisatie, and some words about the war in Ukraine by Colonel Yurii Herashchenko, Defence Attaché of Ukraine. The final toast was given by Colonel Piers Strudwick, Defence Attaché of the United Kingdom, thanking everyone for the dinner.
New attachés were welcomed to the Defence attaché community and after the dinner the ball continued until midnight. The event was a resounding success, and given the increased importance of the military in Europe due to the war in Ukraine, the organizers are already looking forward to this year’s event.