Seaside Dinner with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

After a two-year break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Flevum is finally organizing another edition of the Seaside Dinner. On June 29, 2022, we will receive a group of 150 directors in Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin. This evening has a special edge: it is the anniversary edition. For that occasion Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, former NATO Secretary General, holds a keynote speech on the power of personal narratives of world leaders. In this blog we look back at the evening: from aperitif to dessert.

The aperitif
On June 29, a bright blue day with a pleasant breeze, Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin is ready to receive the Flevum Network. The Flevum secretariat is ready: the 150 directors on the guest list are warmly welcomed in the Lobby of Herwaarde. This year, too, the guests come from various sectors such as government, ICT and logistics services, but also from construction, accountancy and healthcare. For Flevum, this evening is the perfect opportunity to thank its partners, speakers and participants for a successful year.

The Seaside Dinner takes place in summer for the first time this year, which is very much appreciated by the participants. After registration, the participants meet outside on the terrace. While enjoying a drink, old acquaintances see each other again and business cards are already being exchanged between strangers.

The appetizer
The participants arrive in the Keizerzaal and take a seat at their tables, overlooking the beach of Noordwijk. Traditionally, Flevum Director Robbert-Jan Baars opens the evening with a short introductory speech: “It makes me happy to see you all physically again, but I am also grateful that you have remained faithful to the network in difficult times of corona. The Virtual Round Tables taught us that sharing lessons learned is also possible remotely, and that adaptability in difficult times is crucial for success.” He ends with a word of thanks to the host, Stephan Stokkermans. As Managing Director of Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, Mr. Stokkermans officially opens the evening: the starter can be served. The participants get to know their table mates.

The main course
The evening is moderated by the Flevum Advisory Council, consisting of Herman Levert and Margreet Rijken-Snellaars. After Herman briefly goes through the program, Margeet introduces the speaker: Prof. mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. What is his personal narrative? Who is he, besides a former secretary general of NATO, a former politician of the CDA and a former minister of foreign affairs? One thing is certain: throughout his career he will underline the importance of his wife.

In his keynote, Mr. de Hoop Scheffer further explores the personal narratives of the world leaders he has met. He shook hands with both Obama and Putin, and he shares numerous anecdotes about this with the audience. But the relevance of NATO in the present day is also emphasized once again. In times when a war, and all its consequences, come so close, cooperation between government and business is all the more important! After the keynote, the participants are full of questions and comments, but first it’s time for the main course. A delicious veal loin with polenta, shallot and lovage is served. For the vegetarian participants, the chef has prepared a ravioli with mushrooms, truffle, oyster mushrooms and pine nuts.

After the main course, the moderators open the floor for an interactive discussion with the speaker. This is the moment that the participants can ask all their questions to Mr. de Hoop Scheffer. What was it like meeting Chancellor Merkel? How does he think the war in Ukraine will progress? What is the impact of global tensions on business? Conversely, the keynote speaker is also interested in the experiences of the directors. The questions keep coming up to the last minute, but unfortunately the evening is slowly coming to an end and it has to be concluded.

Walking dessert
Fortunately, the walking dessert is still on the schedule. The group of participants walks from the Keizerzaal to the Van Diepeningen Lounge, where the chef has prepared an assortment of small desserts. With a cup of coffee or tea in hand, it is still a great temperature on the terrace to talk about the evening. Night falls and slowly the guests trickle out. The Flevum colleagues stand at the door to say goodbye to the guests who are going home. A number of guests will stay overnight in Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin. Enthusiastic reactions, new contacts and enough inspiration for the summer: the jubilee edition of the Flevum Seaside Dinner is over.

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