The Annual Conference season is also the season for the meetings dictated by the statutes and the calendar.
Thus the Presidium met on November 8th to prepare the meeting of the Executive Board planned for the following day, November 9th, and bringing together the national delegates of each country represented. Natalia Komanicka was responsible for interpreting the proceedings. This same Executive Board prepared the meeting of the General Assembly held on November 10th (see article on General Assembly).
Not only was the daytime timetable very full for all the delegates, but the evenings and dinners were also a busy time.
The ‘annex’ of the Galleria, not far from the Kurhaus and located on the waterfront near the beach, was invaded by the conference delegates on the evening of November 7th. Thanks to the system of tokens arranged by the organisers, it was a simple matter to request a drink from the staff. The buffet had been set up in various parts of the vast restaurant, enabling everyone to help themselves without hassle. Many delegates had had a marathon day and could return to their respective hotels easily on foot, and some of them were clearly glad to be back in their bedrooms and to find their beds!
It was the same scenario for dinner at the Carlton Beach the following evening on November 8th, this time with welcome musical entertainment. The only minor problem as that there were not enough chairs for everyone, and this gave rise to a few grumbles.
There was a change of scenery on November 9th when this time we went out to the football club (AVO 1905) well known to football fans! After a quick bus trip everyone met up for an ‘orange’ evening in the immense restaurant in the football stadium of The Hague – with a superb fairground organ to greet everyone. The tokens were handed out as usual and there was the usual friendly scramble as delegates made for the buffet, though this time everything was on a much larger scale. Each participant had been asked to wear something orange because the Conference was being held in The Hague, the seat of the House of Orange-Nassau, for which Queen Wilhelmina created the Order of Orange-Nassau in 1892.
Need I say that this evening was the occasion of some very unconventional dressing as you can see from the adjacent photos. And to top it all we were treated to a group of frenzied dancers and percussionists. An inspired DJ took on the task of warming up the audience together with a ‘Lady Gaga’ lookalike and a visit from a special St Nicolas for President Klaus Enengl.
The organisers had also planned a visit to one of The Netherlands’ leading companies, Heineken, whose head office is in Amsterdam and whose beers are famous the world over. The visit took place on Thursday November 10th, after a journey of rather more than an hour from The Hague to the capital. A buffet dinner had been arranged in the company’s vast reception rooms, where the main drink was obviously beer although other drinks were available, as always in exchange for orange tokens. But the highlight of the visit was of course the ‘Heineken experience tour’, a highly educational tour taking you from the harvesting of the various ingredients through the brewing in the immense copper fermentation vats, to the bottling and despatch. A part of the visit that impressed everyone was where each visitor could imagine themselves caught up in the swirl of a brewing vat, with drops of water and shaking included! To end the tour there was a tasting, of a beer that was delicate and drawn with care. The last stage was the visit to the shop selling beer-related products; there was a wide choice of items that some people found attractive.