Official opening of the FBN (Family Business Network) NxG (Next Generation) Summit,  31 May 2024


Dear Isabelle Swinkels (8th generation Swinkels malters and brewers),

We did work together briefly and last year I visited the family-run business Swinkels. I have good memories of that visit.

Good morning, everyone.

I hope that you have been inspired by the ‘Learning Journeys’ of the past few days and that you have recovered from last night’s welcome party.

Welcome members of the Family Business Network (FBN).

Your impressive federation involves 32 associations spread over 65 countries.

A network in which 4000 entrepreneurial families share their experiences and expertise with each other.

Today, Madurodam is welcoming the Next Generation of FBN.

Young entrepreneurs who understand that they are a part of a long tradition.

Who feel responsible for the continuity of the family, the business and a sustainable future.

I recognize a great deal in the experience and mentality of the family business that you share together.

My grandfather was a cheese trader in Edam – how Dutch is that! – and two of my uncles have continued the business.

As the nephew of the bosses, I ‘was allowed’ to help on a regular basis during summer and other holidays.

I know the advantages and disadvantages of the interdependence of family and business.

The pride, the long-term thinking and attention for more than merely today’s profits.

That attention for social and societal goals is not exclusive to family businesses.

You have witnessed that yourselves if you took part in the ‘Haagse Hub Tour’ of companies that combine doing business with supporting good causes.

The Hague nurtures the institutions and companies which reflect our identity as a city of peace and justice.

From the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice to Europol and Eurojust.

In times of international tension, it is particularly important to offer these organisations a home in an environment where people can do essential work safely and uninterrupted.

We also nurture all the companies that have grown up around these institutions and organisations.

I’m thinking here of the Impact network of initiatives whose work focuses on climate and sustainability goals and a fairer world. You have been inspired by them too.

But I am also thinking of law firms, delis, security companies and cleaners.

It is a great honour for me to welcome your network here in Madurodam.

And it also gives me the opportunity to congratulate the Dutch branch, the FBNed, on their 25th anniversary which they are celebrating this year.

I wish you an interesting meeting and an enjoyable concluding party tomorrow in the Louwman Museum.

Please feel welcome in The Hague and visit us again.