The Diplomatic Society

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12 February 2018

DS: Last country where you were based before coming to South Africa

HE: Five years as Ambassador to Spain.

DS: Most interesting place in South Africa

HE: I am still amazed travelling by car through the Karoo.


DS: Your impression about South Africa in 3 words

HE: South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world with all kinds of nature and, on top of that, a fascinating history and interesting political life.

DS: One place you would like to be posted to or visit

HE: I have a certain fascination with India.

DS: Most memorable appointment thus far

HE: That’s a difficult question as it depends on which phase in life you are. Washington was a wonderful post for a family and professionally, Madrid a wonderful city to live in and Peru, as the first posting, has a special place in our hearts.

DS: Most challenging situation that you had to handle thus far

HE: Most challenging situation was probably when we had two Peruvian policemen seeking asylum in our embassy in Lima and we had to house them there for a week, before their exit from the embassy was negotiated. Sleeping on the Ambassador’s couch was not the most enjoyable thing in my career.

DS: My inspiration is/comes from.

HE: My inspiration comes from all interesting people I get to meet and all new places I visit, but fundamentally my inspiration is my family.

DS: Place in your country that you love to visit.

HE: I still have to visit the Gotland, a wonderful island on the Swedish east coast.

DSMost interesting place to visit elsewhere

HE: A visit to New York is always interesting and gives a lot of inspiration

DS: Favourite dish of your country

HE:  I love a good Mr Jansson’s Temptation, a gratin made of potatoes, onions, anchovies and cream.


DSTastiest dish of another Country.

HE: The Peruvian ceviche is one of the best things I know.

DSThe best book I have ever read.

HE: The best book I have ever read is impossible to name, some books I can go back and read again, but I have no favourite.

DS: At the moment I am reading

HE: At the moment I am reading “Cyril Ramaphosa” by Anthony Butler.

DS: I spend my leisure time

HE: I spend my leisure time fiddling around in the house, sometimes playing golf, exercising or just reading.

DS: One sentence describing a lesson that you have learnt from being a diplomat

HE: Be an attentive listener!




February/March 2020








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