Diplomat Club Wassenaar welcomes New Ambassadors
First row: H.E. Mr. Fernando Arias (DG-OPCW), H.E. Dr. Álvaro Enrique González Otero (Uruguay), Mayor Leendert de Lange, Mrs. Marleen Helden, H.E. Mrs. Reenat Sandhu (India)
Second row: H.E. Mr. Jamal Al Musharakh (UAE), Mrs. Shida Bliek, H.E. Mr. Ali Aldafiri (Kuwait), Mrs. Senta Walker-Nederkoorn and H.E. Mr. Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn (Switzerland)
Third row: Mrs. Patricia van Oord de Arias, Mrs. Radka Hejmankova, H.E. Mr. Paulo Roberto Caminha de Castilhos França (Brazil), H.E. Mr Jaime Moscoso (Chile), Mr. Peter Bliek
26 November 2022
The traditional bi-annual Diplomat Club Wassenaar Welcome Ceremony for newly accredited Ambassadors to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, took place on Saturday November 26th at Kasteel De Wittenburg in Wassenaar.
The Ambassadors welcomed, represented in alphabetical order per country were:
Chile, H.E. Mr Jaime Moscoso
India, H.E. Mrs. Reenat Sandhu
Kuwait, H.E. Mr. Ali Aldafiri
The United Arab Emirates, H.E. Mr. Jamal Al Musharakh
Uruguay, H.E. Dr. Álvaro Enrique González Otero
Their Excellencies were greeted in the festively decorated salon by Mrs Shida Bliek, President-Director of Diplomat Club Wassenaar and Publisher of Diplomat Affairs Magazine – in touch with the Dutch. Among the guests were also: Ambassador, Director-General of the OPCW H.E. Mr. Fernando Arias and his spouse Mrs. Patricia van Oord de Arias; the Ambassador of Switzerland, H.E. Mr. Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn and Mrs. Senta Walker-Nederkoorn, the Ambassador of Brazil, H.E. Mr. Paulo Roberto Caminha de Castilhos França and the spouse of the Ambassador of Chile, Mrs. Radka Hejmankova.
It was a warm and intimate gathering in this little jewel of a castle as guests mingled around the cheerfully blazing fireplace and Mrs Bliek bestowed upon the new Ambassadors a small pin with the Dutch flag, symbolizing their status as honorary members of the Club.
In her welcome speech, Mrs Bliek stressed how happy she was that we can now meet again and pursue our mission to keep our valued members “in touch with the Dutch” through connections with the worlds of Music, Art, Sports, Charity and Business. Human Connection around dialogue now needed more than ever before.
His Excellency, Mayor Leendert de Lange, representing the Municipality of Wassenaar, accompanied by his spouse Mrs. Marleen Helden, took the floor commenting on how much he enjoyed these informal welcome ceremonies, superbly organized as always by Mrs Shida Bliek, before welcoming in his turn the new Ambassadors, to his “vibrant, green, international village, nestled in the dunes (where we) pride ourselves on our community spirit and in particular the warm and enriching relationship with the ambassadors”.
The mayor touched on the truly international character of Wassenaar with 20% of foreign inhabitants and the many historical, cultural, and recreational treasures to be discovered both in Wassenaar and in the Netherlands as a whole.
He also shared some less well-known facts such as: “Wassenaar has a recently renewed V2 monument, marking the spot, at the crossing between Konijnenlaan and Lijsterlaan where the Germans launched the first V2 rocket during World War 2. At the time a cause for much misery, the V2 rocket was however later put to a much better use as it played a central role in the early development of space launchers for the United States in the race to the Moon, an industry now dedicated to the protection of our planet and not to its destruction.”
In the spirit of helping the newly arrived adapt to their latest country of residence, Mayor de Lange shared some particularly amusing Dutch expressions, such as one around the Dutch value of being on time. To quote Mr Mayor:” When you agree to meet for dinner at six, it really means six. If you happen to be an hour late, you might find “the dog in the pot” (a translation of the Dutch expression: de hond in de pot vinden). An expression dating from the Middle Ages where dogs were often allowed to clean out the pots and pans once the people were done with dinner. So, if you find a dog in the pot, you know there’s nothing left to eat and had better arrive on time next time”.
Mayor de Lange also invited everyone to come to Wassenaar for the celebration of King’s day (on the 27th of April) and for the more adventurous to join the Dutch in the yearly “ New Year’s dive” involving a short but vivifying jump in the sea on January 1st.
The mayor handed out a gift of delicious locally produced cheese to the new Ambassadors, wishing them a wonderful posting here in the Netherlands.
It was then time for the dinner concert, performed by the wonderful singer Julie Huard and a 10-strong Big Band.
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