Home Diplomatic News The Hague’s Defence Attachés’ Annual Gala: A Night of Unity and Diplomacy

The Hague’s Defence Attachés’ Annual Gala: A Night of Unity and Diplomacy

Captain Antoon Hertogs, the Dean of the DAA and Defence Attaché of Sweden, the Mayor of Madurodam, Fresco Mees and Colonel Piers Strudwick of the UK.

On the 4th of October, a remarkable event took place in The Hague, one that brings together military attachés accredited to the Netherlands in a setting that’s as unique as it is significant. Organized by The Defence Attaché Association (DAA) in The Hague, the Defence Attachés’ Annual Gala is a prestigious occasion that combines elegance, diplomacy, and a strong sense of unity.

The venue for this prestigious event is Madurodam Park, an extraordinary place that’s more than just a Dutch landmark—it’s a living miniature of the Netherlands, featuring iconic Dutch structures at a 1:25 scale. This year, on October 4th, Madurodam Park was transformed into a reception great salon, a dining room, and a ballroom, playing host to a record attendance of over a hundred guests representing diplomatic missions.

Defence Attaches’ Gala 2023

One of the unique aspects of this gala is the diverse crowd it attracts. Military attachés accredited to the Netherlands and their spouses come from various countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America. This cross-border representation enhances the international flavor of the event, fostering greater collaboration and understanding among military diplomats.

The gala’s dress code, a mix of military mess dress and black tie attire, not only adds a touch of elegance but also symbolizes the harmonious blend of the military and civilian worlds that this event represents, special mention of the spouses and partners of military attaches in elegant gowns. It is an event where formalities meet festivities, and military traditions intersect with diplomatic camaraderie.

UK Colonel Piers Strudwick during his welcome speech.

The evening commenced with a reception, during which speeches were given to set the tone for the night. Colonel Piers Strudwick of the UK, one of the evening’s hosts, introduced the gala and laid out the agenda. The Mayor of Madurodam, Fresco Mees, provided a warm welcome and shed light on the social vision and charitable work of Madurodam. It is heartening to know that Madurodam Park, plays an important role in supporting causes for children in the Netherlands.

The program then moved on to toasts and speeches. A toast to all heads of states was raised by Colonel Piers Strudwick, while Captain Antoon Hertogs, the Dean of the DAA and Defence Attaché of Sweden, extended a warm welcome to all attendees. The atmosphere was both elegant and relaxed, setting the stage for the gala dinner.

The Head of International Military Cooperation, Rear Admiral Sillevis Smitt, thanked the organizers for their outstanding efforts and highlighted the importance of this gathering. It’s a unique chance for attachés posted in different countries to come together, meet new colleagues, and strengthen their ties with the host country.

The Mayor of Madurodam, Fresco Mees.

General Onno Eichelsheim, the Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, emphasized the need for unity during these challenging times, particularly in light of ongoing conflicts like the war in Ukraine. His message was clear: “Stay firm and do not think that we did enough until victory.” The gala provided an invaluable opportunity for military attachés to exchange ideas and build stronger connections with their international colleagues.

The event was an unquestionable success. As the evening wound down, Colonel Mark Sturgeon, Army Attaché of the USA, extended his gratitude to everyone present and officially opened the ball. The festivities continued into the night, creating an atmosphere of celebration and togetherness that was truly unforgettable.

From left to right: Jennifer and Colonel Mark Sturgeon (US Army Attaché), Captain Jennifer Mills (US Defence Attaché), Lauren and Colonel Juris Jansons (US Air Attaché), Nicole and Warrant Officer Miguel Rendon (US Defence Attaché Office).

The significance of this gala extends beyond just a social event. In the current geopolitical climate, with the military playing an increasingly vital role in Europe, events like these help strengthen diplomatic ties, build networks, and create a sense of solidarity among nations.

The Defence Attachés’ Annual Gala in The Hague is not just an event; it’s a testament to the enduring power of diplomacy and unity in times of global challenges.

Defence Attaches’ Annual Gala

Exit mobile version