Closing words by Jan van Zanen at GovTech Summit 2022, World Forum, 1 November 2022







You can look back on a successful GovTech Summit 2022. A Summit where you could meet each other in person, here in The Hague World Forum. Many thanks to PUBLIC for organising this major event. As Mayor of The Hague I am proud of the fact that The Hague may call itself home to the GovTech Summit.

In the past governments were on their own when it came to designing public services. But with the arrival of Big Data Analysis, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, all that is changing. In an impressive programme with speakers from 50 countries every facet of digitalisation in the public domain has been discussed here.

A world in which market players – themselves often still start-ups and scale-ups – are offering digital solutions to connect citizens, businesses and government bodies in better ways. For example, it is becoming easier and easier for us to identify ourselves digitally. After which it is simple to use digital tools to guide ourselves through the jungle of official rules and regulations. A development with unparalleled opportunities and an exciting one, too. But are privacy and civil rights being properly safeguarded in these rapid developments?

For more than one reason The Hague is exactly the right place to be discussing these sorts of issues with one another. Now and next year too. To start with, the seat of government, the home of our parliament is here, while diplomatic missions and many international organisations and institutions are also based here.

I am referring here to the organisations related to peace, justice and, increasingly, security too. They are at the heart of a rich ecosystem in which numerous businesses and other initiatives have found their niche. From The Hague Tech (THT) to the Humanity Hub. These networks have much to gain from close interaction, something which is also good for the city of The Hague.

Our knowledge infrastructure of research universities, universities of applied sciences and technical colleges not only supplies the engineers and scientists who will keep us at the forefront of this field in the future, but also the humanities graduates who will question these developments. Better still: they will question each other and learn to take a critical look.

There is yet another reason why we, the city of The Hague, are keen to keep GovTech close to us. As a city of ordinary people, government and diplomacy, we are affected by cybercrime, cyber diplomacy and cyberwarfare.

Something that has major implications for our administrative apparatus and our citizens. It constitutes a threat to the institutions that we want to provide with a safe home base.

I look forward to seeing you again at the GovTech Summit 2023.