Opening of the Allianz Sailing World Championships by Jan van Zanen, 10 August 2023


Dear sailors, officials, staff and volunteers,

Dear guests,


It is my honour to welcome you to The Hague and Scheveningen, and to the opening of the Allianz Sailing World Championships, the biggest sailing event ever held in our city.


I would like to extend a special welcome to Mr. Quanhai Li, the President of World Sailing.


The Hague is the largest city by the sea in the Netherlands.

With our unique coastline that stretches no less than 11 kilometres, our beautiful sandy beaches and harbour we are the perfect place for beach and water sports, both at the recreational and professional level.

Over the last 15 years The Hague has become the major sailing city in North Western Europe.

We are honoured to be now host city to the Allianz Sailing World Championships.

The next ten days some 1200 top-level athletes will be going for the win in their discipline on seven different competition courses.

Challenged by each other and the unpredictable waters of the North Sea off the coast of Scheveningen.

I know most of you are not really used to off shore sailing. So be careful.


Four Paraclasses have been added to this edition of the World Championships.

They enable paralympic athletes to showcase their skills on the nearby lake Braassermermeer.

This is how the World Championships is more inclusive than before.


The Netherlands was the most successful country at the last edition of the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus and the Dutch team now has to compete against more than 80 countries to maintain their position.

This huge event is a challenge not just for the athletes, but also for the organisers and The Hague as a host city.

A challenge which – with our experience and ambition – we were keen to take on.

We can look back on major events on land, on the beach and at sea.

This is our third World Championship after Hockey and Beach Volleyball. Furthermore, we were host to the Volvo Ocean Race three times. Last year we hosted The Invictus Games and the Youth Sailing World Championships.

This year we host the European Championship Judo Juniors, next to this new highlight: the Allianz Sailing World Championships.

Wonderful events, which are the result of all the efforts that we make, together with our partners, to maintain our leading position.

Next year we will welcome a stage of The Tour de France Femmes and be host city to the European Championships Beach Volleyball.


That we want more than just top-level sport is shown by the parallel programme to the Sailing World Championships.

Our ambition is to make as many children as possible to get acquainted with the beautiful sport of sailing and many other water sports.

During this ‘Festival on Sea’ children can learn about sailing in the Optimist.

There are surfing and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) lessons.

And there is canoe polo and power kiting.

There are clinics for experienced sailors, there is adapted rowing, plus a focus on the environment in the ‘clean up tour’.

This is how we take the opportunities offered by top-level sport and sporting events to strengthen grassroots sport and encourage a healthy and active lifestyle among the people living in our city.


But first, we will turn our attention to the Allianz Sailing World Championships.

A world-class event in which the sailors and athletes, as well as the organisation and the city, show what they are capable of.

It will be a unique event in that this is the last time that the World Championships will be on this scale and held in this form.


Enjoy all the events, good luck and make your family, friends and The Hague proud.