We are celebrating our 75th anniversary as British Council in the Netherlands in 2020-21 by sharing 75 personal stories from people who have a special connection to both the UK and the Netherlands. Read the 75 NL-UK stories and join us in celebrating our 75th anniversary. Expand the box below to read the full story by Paul Dimond. New stories will be added in the months to come.
75 UK-NL Stories - Civil service
Huge congratulations to the British Council on the 75th anniversary of your work in the Netherlands. You opened your operations just after the pre-War British Envoy and Minister at The Hague Sir Nevile Bland had returned to The Hague as Ambassador in May 1945, since then giving your tremendous support to the bilateral arts and cultural relationship and in education and the English language.
It was a privilege in my diplomatic career to be appointed Deputy Head of Mission at The Hague from 1994 to 1997, working with the Council and with so many highly professional officials across the Netherlands Government and local authorities, quickly learning of the exceptional like-mindedness of the two countries across so many fields. During our assignment, my wife Carolyn and I attended the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem at Oosterbeek and nearby, also events at St Michielsgestel marking the loss of her father in an RAF Stirling that crashed outside the town in the Market Garden operation. In 2019, we again attended the 75th anniversaries of both, the spirit of Arnhem continuing unabated in this extraordinary relationship with the British.
After my retirement from the Diplomatic Service, we happily joined the Anglo-Netherlands Society in London, the thriving non-governmental membership organisation promoting our bilateral fellowship and interests in common. In 2020, the Society’s centenary year, we published North Sea Neighbours, an anthology of stories of the many ways the Dutch and the British have worked and played together over the century. The British Council continues to help us as we explore our own relationships in the tertiary education sector.
With our warmest wishes for the Council in the years ahead.
Paul Dimond CMG
Honorary Secretary, Anglo-Netherlands Society
Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy at The Hague 1994-97