Speech by Jan van Zanen for the anniversary gala of the La Confrérie student association, 15 July 2022
Ladies and gentlemen – and everyone who prefers to be addressed differently,
It brings a slight blush to my cheeks that I have been invited here. The anniversary gala celebrating the sixty-fifth anniversary of La Confrérie. A gala of dazzlingly dressed young people on the theme of: ecstasy. I am honoured and promise to leave on time so you can get on with the party.
It is clear that the plans for this gala were forged in the euphoria surrounding the end of the pandemic measures. I can fully understand your desire to throw a big party in order to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the student association of Hotel School The Hague. <
My warmest congratulations on this jubilee.
You look quite well for your age…
Over the past years, The Hague has developed into a real student city. A student city naturally needs student associations. La Confrérie is one of the older associations and in that sense was also present when student life started to develop in The Hague. La Confrérie offers students everything you might expect from a student association: social activities as well as security in a formative phase of your life. But also the opportunity to gain experience in board roles, discover where your talents lie, perhaps take the occasional tumble and get back on your feet, all the wiser for it. And, although it sounds like a cliché, the truth is: in student associations, you make friends for life. This network of friends increasingly spans the whole world. That makes the members and alumni of La Confrérie real world citizens. As mayor of The Hague, the city with its outward focus, this is something I can only applaud.
The hospitality sector is not one that is indifferent to problems. Various hotels in The Hague made a fantastic contribution at the start of the Ukraine crisis by providing the initial reception for refugees. And all this, after the difficult past two years.
And with a huge party, a gala such as this, the new generation entering the hotel branch is showing its resilience and readiness to face the future. A most important factor, certainly for The Hague where the hospitality sector and other supporting services are indispensable if we are to live up to our motto of the ‘city of peace and justice’.
I wish you all a wonderful gala.
And all the best.