Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Dutch Diplo Talk

Celebrate both big events and daily successes

20 Jul 2015

Fourth of July celebrations in San Francisco

Does the fact that you are reading my 100th blog need extra attention? I wouldn’t know why because I plan on writing 100 more. Or should the fact that I turned 60 years old last week be celebrated? Having my family together was the best gift I could wish for. By the way, the Dutch song “Long Shall He Live” is more generous than the American standard, “Happy Birthday to You.”

I must admit, though, that a round figure invites special treatment. Independence Day last week was a regular birthday party with a lot of fireworks, but 11 years from now the festivities will be enormous. Check your history book.

Most people like celebrations. They provide a break in everyday routine and bring individuals together. It is an opportunity to relax with family and friends, go out and party in the crowd, or do something in between. It is an occasion to remember things in life that matter, to mark an achievement, or to make plans for the future.


‘Introduce gratitude ceremonies at work’
Therefore, when three young colleagues at the Consulate General finished their temporary contracts last week, I held separate exit meetings with each person, they presented their achievements to the whole group, and we finished with drinks.

I am a little concerned there is a slight tendency to see work as a necessary burden and celebrating events as something to live for. To counterbalance this, it is possible to introduce gratitude ceremonies at work, but to be honest that is not my cup of tea. I would say it is enough that everyone communicates about daily successes.

At the Consulate General, we do this internally in regular meetings and electronic systems, and externally through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and our newsletter (including my blog).

Now you are in the know. We are happy to both celebrate important events and daily successes.


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About the author

Hugo Von Meijenfeldt
Written by Hugo Von Meijenfeldt

Consul-General in San Francisco

Hugo von Meijenfeldt was appointed as representative for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the 13 westernmost United States in August 2013.

Prior to his current position, Hugo was Deputy Director General at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He also served as Special Envoy for Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2009 until 2013. In this capacity, he led Dutch participation in global diplomatic activities to reach a climate agreement.

Previously, Hugo was Director for Soil, Water and Rural Environment. For several years he held the position of Deputy Director for International Affairs, Chairman of the Committee on Environmental Policy of UN-ECE Geneva, and Head of the European Policy Division (including the EU Presidency in 1997). From 1982 until 1991, he was Legal Counsel to the soil clean-up division.

Hugo earned his Masters in Public Law and Policy at the Free University in Amsterdam in 1981. He is member of the WorldConnectors and the Sustainability Challenge Foundation.