A few words by Jan van Zanen at the opening of Pakistan House on the occasion of Open Monuments Day, 8 September 2023


Mr Ambassador,


Dear guests,


The world is at home in The Hague.

Something which this meeting illustrates so well.

Take this building, Pakistan House, for example.

A typical Hague town house of the period, built around 1860.

Carefully maintained by the government of Pakistan.

This year Pakistan and the Netherlands are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations.

A lot has happened in the world in those 75 years.

While during that time our countries have always maintained good relations.

As international city of peace and justice The Hague is enriched by many cultures.

The culture of Pakistan is well represented here, too.

About a year ago I had the pleasure of visiting the Pakistan Festival in Zuiderpark.

A festival which attracts visitors from all over Europe.

The festival was sadly overshadowed by severe flooding in Pakistan at the time.

Yet I clearly felt the power of connection there.

Something that is typical of cultural festivals.

And which is also close to my heart.

My motto is: don’t look for the differences between us, but for what connects us.

So let’s use culture to build bridges.

The opening of Pakistan House is a wonderful example of that.

Thank you, Mr Ambassador, for this hospitable gesture.

Thank you very much, for this sign of friendship.