Word of welcome by Jan van Zanen at the meeting with members of the corps diplomatique, 16 November 2023



Distinguished guests,

Dear host Brigitte Bloksma,


It gives Vice Mayor Vavier and me great pleasure to welcome you, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the international community, here at the Museum Beelden aan Zee.

Set up almost thirty years ago by Theo and Lida Scholten, who were avid collectors of sculpture.

Last year, I welcomed you to the Panorama Mesdag, a museum where you can imagine yourself in the dunes of Scheveningen.

This time, we really are among them.

The museum’s position in the dunes is also what helps to make it so special.

Crowned by Paviljoen Von Wied.

Built by King Willem I, for his wife Frederica Louise Wilhelmina, Queen consort and Princess of Prussia.

Here in the peace and quiet that Scheveningen then offered, she hoped to be relieved of her sleeping problems.

Whether it worked or not, remains shrouded in the mists of time…

The position of this museum, so close to the sea, is simply idyllic.

However we are all aware of the corrosive nature of the sea, especially on the lovely monumental buildings in The Hague.

We love them dearly, as do many of you.

Many of your embassies, residencies and international organisations are situated in these monumental buildings, and we all understand how much TLC (Tender Love and Care) they need.

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with our climate, but just as you dress up for the salty wind from the North Sea on these autumn days, I stress the importance of the maintenance of the monumental buildings to protect them against the wind and the rain.

As a city by the sea, we in The Hague are especially aware of climate change and its worrying effects, including rising sea levels.

As you may know, The Hague has the ambition of becoming climate neutral by the end of 2030.

Our city is working hard to achieve that goal.

This ambition reaches beyond city and national borders, and requires a collective effort from the whole of society, including the international community.

You should have received an invitation from Deputy Mayor Kapteijns, to an ‘international round table on climate action’ on 28 November.

The round table on climate action offers a unique opportunity to become part of the network connecting climate, peace and justice.

I cordially urge you to take part.

It is not just the climate which concerns us, also the earthquakes in Turkey and Morocco, the situation in Ukraine and the geopolitical developments taking place in the world, think of the Middle East.

All the more reason for us to remain committed to a peaceful and just world.

And you know my passion for city tot city diplomacy within the framework of the world network  UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments).

And many, maybe all of you are involved with a peaceful and just world on a daily basis in one of the embassies or international organisations based in The Hague.

Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank you for that commitment.

Your work is of great importance.

Especially now.

Know that you can always count on us.

As diplomats and representatives you understand as no other the importance of speaking and acting in such a way as to keep all doors open.

As your mayor, the mayor of the international city of peace and justice, I strive to do the same and keep my door open for the wide range of opinions and ideas from all your backgrounds.

I wish you a very pleasant evening.