Welcome by Mayor Jan van Zanen at the FIDE Congress, 5 November 2021


Minister De Bruijn,

Dear guests,

Welcome to The Hague.


Monsieur le Ministre De Bruijn,

Chers participants,

Nous vous souhaitons à tous la bienvenue à La Haye,

qui a le grand honneur d’accueillir le congrès de la Fédération Internationale Pour Le Droit Européen.


Sehr geehrter Herr Minister De Bruijn,

verehrte Anwesende,

herzlich willkommen in Den Haag.

Den Haag ist eine ausgesprochen internationale Stadt.

Ich hoffe von ganzem Herzen, dass dies dazu beitragen möge, dass Sie sich hier zuhause fühlen.


Permettez-moi à présent de poursuivre en anglais.

Bitte gestatten Sie mir, auf Englisch fortzufahren.


We are very honoured that the International Federation for European Law is meeting again in The Hague!

Your last congresses here were in 1984 and 1963.

A long time ago.

The map of Europe looked very different then.

East and West were two completely different worlds…

And in 1963, the first year you met in The Hague, your federation was just two years old.

In fact, the same age as the person welcoming you today…

The International Federation for European Law and I were born in the same year.

And if that doesn’t create a bond…

On the other hand, the museum we are in today was founded some time before that.

It was opened in 1935 and is the last design by the famous Dutch architect and urban planner Berlage.

Berlage consciously experienced the first peace conferences in The Hague and was a committed internationalist.

He not only created a design for the Peace Palace, which was not selected, he also sketched plans for a ‘World Capital’.

The project should have been built over a century ago on the outskirts of The Hague, to accommodate international organisations working in peace and justice.

The plan was shelved, but The Hague did develop into an international city of peace and justice.

And near here, we have the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and the already mentioned Peace Palace.

Not forgetting Eurojust.

Because The Hague is also a city with a distinctive European profile.

Apart from Eurojust, our city is home to more than thirty European organisations, including Europol and the European Cybercrime Centre.

What’s more: it was here in The Hague, in 1948, that the process of European unification began.

Chaired by the legendary Sir Winston Churchill who, by way of exception, was allowed to smoke his trademark cigars in the gothic Ridderzaal, already a non-smoking zone.

Today, in 2021, The Hague is focusing on promoting cooperation between cities, national governments and the EU, to achieve a better Europe.

The challenges in many areas, such as sustainability and social resilience, are immense.

Moreover, in view of the impact of the COVID pandemic, cooperation has become increasingly important.


Dear guests,

You will understand why The Hague is the ideal location for the International Federation for European Law congress.

I hope that these days have been fruitful and that you will have a successful end to the congress tomorrow.

Please be assured that you will always be welcome in The Hague.

Hopefully, it won’t take 37 years for you to return…


Enjoy your evening and we look forward to seeing you again in The Hague.

Thank you.

Je vous souhaite une très bonne soirée et à très bientôt à La Haye.

Je vous remercie.

Ich wünsche Ihnen einen sehr angenehmen Abend und bis bald in Den Haag.

Vielen Dank.