The final stage of the 31st AEHT Conference in Leeuwarden was the evening of November 16th, the so-called gala evening, for which the dress code was to wear a mask. The event took place in three phases in the ‘Theater Harmonie’ just opposite the Neushorn right in the centre of Leeuwarden.
The guests at the gala evening gathered at a reception on the first floor of the theatre, where a table groaned beneath the weight of masks, provided in case any guest should have forgotten the dress code. It is true that the prosecco and the music played a large part in the success of this well-behaved reception, but it was also characterised by the traditional elegance which is de rigueur at the AEHT Conference.
Masks, but not too many of them!
Later on, this time on the ground floor, the guests discovered a superbly laid out room for the gala dinner, the meal being prepared and served, as you would expect, by the Friesland College teams, who had excelled themselves. Just as every year the atmosphere was as pleasant as could be.
And finally it was time for the speeches and the presentation of the medals. It was an eagerly awaited moment, especially by the students. Again there was a show in the theatre auditorium where there was such an electric atmosphere. In his speech, Remco Koerts spoke of the amazing week spent in Leeuwarden, and from the bottom of his heart he thanked all those who had worked so hard to ensure the success of this 31st Annual Conference, marking the AEHT’s 30th anniversary. He emphasised the work of the judges and head judges, without whom the competitions could not take place. Moreover he noted the presence of three former presidents: Michel Gaillot, Louis Robert and Ana Paula Païs, declaring that the AEHT is a large family, to which he was proud to belong. Announcing that next year the 32nd Annual Conference would take place in Split, he concluded by quoting a saying attributed to Winston Churchill: ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm’.
Tom Valk declared, ‘you came in groups and you will leave Leeuwarden as teams.’ Obviously, he thanked all those from his school who had worked so hard to ensure the success of the 31st Annual Conference, and in particular the teachers and students, D. Drive, Transport & Logistics and FC, the students from the Friesland Hotel & Business School, the colleagues from Friesland College who had worked so hard in the wings, including Esther and Carlien, the personal assistants including also Ans Luursema, Krista Jansen, Selina Holtkamp. In conclusion Tom Valk wished the Split team every success in organising the 2019 edition – a wish loudly applauded by the assembled guests.
After Tom Valk’s speech it was time for the thank-yous for the major players in the organisation of this 31st Annual Conference. There were flowers for Thalita Kroes, Ilse Hooiveld and Muriel Walinga, pairs of clogs and the Cognac book for the ten head judges and finally the handing over of the AEHT flag to the Split team, to loud applause of everyone present, both on the stage and in the hall.
Then the various head judges, the Presidents or Vice-Presidents as well as Nadine Schintgen proceeded to the award of the medals (see chapter six), and as always each award was accompanied by shouts and by tears of joy or of disappointment. When the last medals had been awarded the curton came down on the 31st edition of the Annual Conference. Make way for the Split conference in 2019!
Many thanks to the photographer Mr J. Miedema, who very kindly helped me out for the photos of the presentation of the medals for the ten competitions – the zoom on my camera had gone on strike. Jo L.