A most charming Ambassador for Wassenaar

Deputy Mayor of Wassenaar and Alderman Mrs Caroline Klaver-Bouman attended our latest Welcome ceremony for newly arrived Ambassadors at Diplomat Club Wassenaar. We wanted to find out more about the woman behind the function, the function itself and the reasons that led her to be involved with the Municipality where so many of our Honorary Members Ambassadors reside.
Alderman Klaver-Bouman’s passion for Wassenaar, and heartfelt commitment to her role of hostess to all the foreign residents of “her village,” were evident from the very first sentence.

Fiercely proud of being Dutch, Mrs. Klaver-Bouman was brought up in international circuits, moving from the Rotterdam area to Wassenaar when she was aged 11 as her Swedish Mother was looking for a more international environment. She studied at prestigious Nyenrode (then only 30% girls) before taking off, with her degree, at the tender age of 21, to follow an  MBA at George Washington University, before also living in New York City and London, where she took a career break to follow her lifelong passion for History, taking a degree in Modern European history at King’s College.

When, in 1999 they decided after a year in Switzerland to return to Holland, she knew where she wanted her three children to grow up: Wassenaar. “Not many places in the world have all the advantages that the Netherlands, and in particular Wassenaar have,” she said.
Whilst teaching high level Economics at Luzac College Mrs. Klaver-Bouman’s love for Wassenaar incited her to take a more active role and join the municipality, first as council member, and since summer 2018 as Alderman.

She briefly explained how the Municipality works:
“The power is with the people”, she explained, and the 21 chosen members (proportional to the parties in power) who form the Council. They decide on policy and control the budget.
Their policy decisions are executed by the Aldermen who form the “College”. These Aldermen, chosen for 4 years, sometimes also have another job. At the moment for example there are 5 Alderman, covering the 4 parties on a 0.6 fulltime basis.
The Mayor is appointed for a period of 6 years by the Kings Commissary and approved by the Council.

We got talking about the upcoming 5th Anniversary of Diplomat Club Wassenaar and Diplomat Affairs Magazine and how much we enjoy our cooperation with the Municipality as co-host of our Welcome Ceremonies. Deputy Mayor Bouman mentioned how much she had enjoyed attending and how delighted she had been by the open and relaxed atmosphere where the Ambassadors clearly felt a warm connection to Club President and Founder Mrs Shida Bliek, as if they were indeed “home away from home”. She herself is clear on her role: “I am proud to be Dutch and to live in Wassenaar and I would like to share that with our guests here. I know what it is like to live abroad and the need to feel welcome and appreciated by the host country, I would like to make our new Ambassadors, their families and other international people welcome in Wassenaar.”
She looks forward to continuing the link and increasing the cooperation between the Municipality and Diplomat Club Wassenaar.

To finish I asked the Deputy Mayor, what she hopes the resident Ambassadors will get out of their stay here. She replied: “To enjoy our green oasis of tranquillity and nature within the bustling metropolis, while at the same time being so close to the big hubs. You can be carefree and safe, and at the same time very much connected to the rest of the world, and you get to meet so many interesting people.”

The council and the Aldermen’ s official place of work is the townhall, “De Paauw”.
This beautiful building is the former residence of Prince Frederik of the Netherlands (1797-1881) who was the second son of King Willem I.
The exterior of the Paauw is currently being renovated, as is also the surrounding parc.  The renovation is expected to be finished by the end of 2019. The interior of the building also needs to be updated. Plans for these renovations are currently being made. In the meantime, municipal business is conducted from Johan de Wittstraat 45, 2242 LV Wassenaar.

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