Word of welcome by Mayor Jan van Zanen at the REAIM meeting, 14 February 2023



Dear all,


Welcome to the atrium of our City Hall.

This is a special moment.

Not least, because the meeting on Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain is taking place in The Hague.

But also because this gathering is one of the first major international events to be held in this atrium since the pandemic.

We are pleased that this is possible again.

Of course, there are plenty of excellent means of connecting in a digital way.

But there is nothing quite like actually meeting one another in person.

The Hague has a long history as a place where people from all over the world come together.

To make agreements about matters which touch upon the essence of our existence: peace and justice.

To build trust.

Confidence between nations.

Faith between businesses.

Trust between people.

As a forum for international dialogue.

This meeting is offered to you by the Dutch government, The Hague city council and the Republic of South Korea.

We are delighted that we can do this together.

All the more so since I have had the pleasure of getting to know South Korea as a country of innovation and high tech.

Matters which lie at the heart of this meeting.

Artificial intelligence offers a great many opportunities that humanity can certainly benefit from.

But, as always, there is also a catch to that.

As the city of peace and justice, we stand for the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence.

Especially now, as the geopolitical situation gives some cause for concern.

The technological, legal and administrative expertise available here makes The Hague a logical choice for this meeting.

It all centres on the question of: what kind of digital world do we want to live in?

You and I, I suspect, see eye to eye on that.

A digital world in which freedom, security, economic growth and social development go hand in hand.

In which fundamental rights and values are protected.

In short: a human-centred digital world.

The Hague is more than happy to provide a platform for all that will contribute to that.

Not just by investing in the development and exchange of knowledge in this field.

But most certainly, by facilitating conferences such as this one.

I wish you every success over the coming days.

And, of course, a pleasant stay in our city.

Thank you.