Greeting by Jan van Zanen to those taking part in the training run by The Hague Academy for Local Governance, 5 July 2023


Dear guests,


A very warm welcome to The Hague city hall.

You are here to take part in a training course run by The Hague Academy for Local Governance.

An institute to which I feel very closely connected.

Until a few weeks ago, I had the honour of chairing the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG).

The Hague Academy for Local Governance was set up in 2008 by VNG International, the International Cooperation Agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities.

The mission of The Hague Academy for Local Governance corresponds with that of The Hague:

To share knowledge and experience in the area of local governance.

And thereby to promote peace and justice, and strengthen democracy worldwide.

I know from experience just how important the proper functioning of local government is for democracy.

Both locally and nationally.

Strong and stable municipalities create a strong and stable country.

Local government is the branch of government closest to the citizen.

People’s faith in government starts there.

I have seen that not only here in the Netherlands but on many working visits, in numerous places elsewhere on this planet, too.

But local governments are essential not just for a properly functioning democracy.

They often play an important role in establishing lasting peace.

Here too: the stronger the local government, the more they are capable of doing that.

Together with The Hague Academy for Local Governance, The Hague, international city of peace and justice, will continue to advocate for strong and stable municipalities everywhere.

We would be happy to help you.

Know that you can always call on us.

And in that spirit, I wish you every success and a pleasant stay in our city.