Speech by Jan van Zanen at the opening of the new office building of the Netherlands Atlantic Association, 2 April 2024


Distinguished guests,


In two days’ time NATO will celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary.

A moment to reflect on, especially at this time full of concerns about the geopolitical situation.

The Hague has been closely linked to NATO for almost seventy years.

Which is not so surprising for an organisation dedicated to peace and security.

The Netherlands Atlantic Association too, has been at home in our city for a long time, since 1952.

The official opening of your new office building provides a good opportunity to put the Atlantic Association in the spotlight.

Not least because your work is now more relevant than ever.

The past few years have shown beyond doubt that:

the trans-Atlantic alliance is increasingly being put to the test.

Will we manage to maintain solidarity with Ukraine?

Can we continue to count on the support of the United States?

Are the European allies capable of providing for their own security?

And speaking of solidarity:

Did you know that this Spring a remarkable exhibition of 30 works from The Hague School will be on show in Kyiv?

An initiative of Willem Jan Hoogsteder, as an expression of support for the people of the Ukrainian capital.

Since its founding, the Netherlands Atlantic Association has been a forum for public debate on trans-Atlantic security issues.

That debate is highly topical.

Those who can remember the Second World War or the Cold War will understand the current sense of urgency: “we can’t take our security for granted”.

But does the same apply to younger generations?


The Netherlands Atlantic Association plays a vital role in informing the public – including younger people – about the importance of NATO.

And about the developments now underway within the ‘security architecture’, as we have come to know it in recent decades.

Next year’s NATO summit will take place in the Netherlands.

Who knows, perhaps The Hague will be able to host this important meeting.


Whatever the case: the NATO summit provides opportunities for the Netherlands Atlantic Association to further expand its programming.

It goes without saying that we will support in you in that, in whatever way we can.

May the Netherlands Atlantic Association continue to grow in its new home in the years to come, because, when all is said and done, we still desperately need your expertise and the power of your reach.

Enjoy your stay in your new office.

Thank you.