Speech by Mayor Jan van Zanen at the opening of the Mix and Match Volunteer Job Fair, 6 October 2022


Hello and welcome everyone,


I have come to know The Hague as a thoroughly international city.

Familiar examples being the many international bodies and companies that are based here.

But The Hague is also an international city because so many people from many different countries live here.

People who make The Hague their ‘home’ for a longer or shorter period.

People like you, gathered here today in The Hague Humanity Hub.

For this Mix and Match Volunteer Job Fair.

A wonderful event by Volunteer The Hague, which itself is also part of PEP The Hague (PEP Den Haag).

Fenna Noordermeer has been the director of PEP for more than ten years, but now she is leaving.

In those ten years Fenna has set up countless projects in the city.

Thank you, Fenna.


PEP focuses on the participation of The Hague’s citizens.

Including its international community.

Many of whom are people who want to work as a volunteer for Hague society.

And who often have a great deal of knowledge and expertise to contribute.

I see you all here today and I would like to say thank you in advance.

Thank you that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and become a volunteer.

Or perhaps you are one already.

The Hague could not manage without volunteers.

And so we cannot do without you either.

But that is not the only reason why I am delighted to see this Volunteer Job Fair.

Voluntary work is not only necessary and important, but it is also what holds our society together.

Voluntary work brings people together.

It builds bridges.

In this case also a bridge between the international and non-international communities.

Something which is great and which strengthens The Hague, too.

Because the strength of a city is largely determined by its social fabric.

And with your volunteer work you actively contribute to that.

Added to which voluntary work provides you with an opportunity to take further steps in the Netherlands.

Tetyana Benzeroual is an excellent example of that.

Tetyana, you began as a volunteer yourself and ultimately became a project leader with Volunteer The Hague.

Volunteer The Hague, that we as a municipality wholeheartedly support, is unique in the Netherlands and clearly shows how important we consider our international residents to be.

You enable internationals and volunteer organisations to find one another.

Tetyana, you are from Ukraine.

I realize that the last seven months must have been very stressful for you.

Please know that we all very much feel for you and all the other Ukrainians in The Hague.

Since the invasion, Volunteer The Hague and its Dutch counterpart, Den Haag Doet, have been providing information on local initiatives to help Ukrainian refugees.

A heart-warming initiative truly befitting our international city of peace and justice.

And a tangible example of the important role that volunteers can play.

So, to all of you I would like to say: thank you and keep up the good work.

And good luck.