PRESS RELEASE | Netherlands Consul General bids Cape Town farewell

CAPE TOWN (17 August 2018). After five years in her role as the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bonnie Horbach bids farewell to Cape Town to take up her new position as the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Lithuania. Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, former Counsellor at the Office of His Majesty the King, will replace her as the Consul General in Cape Town. 

Bonnie Horbach took office as the Consul General for the Netherlands in Cape Town in July 2013. She took on this challenge whole-heartedly with her daughter, Lily-Louise, and has made the difference as a Diplomat in Cape Town ever since (both in the local Economic and Cultural arenas). This is evident in a number of projects she initiated with the objective of increasing bilateral cooperation and strengthening economic ties, including: Department of Design as part of Cape Town’s World Design Capital; Garden of the Future – an interactive exhibition; the Mobility Indaba (2016) and the trade mission and associated public diplomacy initiatives surrounding 2017’s Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Cape Town. 

Over the past five years, Horbach has brought a fresh perspective to modern foreign diplomacy by founding the Dutch national campaign #cocreateSA in 2014. The campaign became a platform for South African and Dutch counterparts to stimulate collaboration through the exchanging of ideas and innovations for a sustainable future. 

Bonnie Horbach says, “Throughout my time as Consul General, I’ve had the opportunity of meeting remarkable people who have changed the way that I see the world, and South Africa in particular. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to establish real relationships and build lasting partnerships for myself, but more importantly between our two countries. We changed the starting point and focused on listening and understanding the local context first in order to build the foundation to cocreate sustainable solutions with our South African partners. I will miss this country and its people dearly, but in my heart I know that I will be back!”  

Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, Bonnie’s successor, brings a wealth of experience with him. Prior to accepting this position, he served as Counsellor at the Office of His Majesty the King for four years and was Deputy Head of the East Asia Division (China Team) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

“Bonnie leaves behind a lasting legacy and a rich network of people. She leaves a unique imprint in the build up of our bilateral ties. I look forward to taking up the mantle and hope to continue her work,” concluded Messerschmidt. 

Some of #cocreateSA’s initiatives and partnerships include: Department of Design during World Design Capital in 2014, Garden of the Future in (2015), the Mobility Indaba (2016), #cocreate2ACCELERATE (2016- 2018) the Volvo Ocean Race (2017), #InspiringFiftySA (2017-2018), #cocreatePOETICA (2016- 2018), #cocreateBEATS (2017-2018) and #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL (2018).

A special farewell reception was held on 16 August 2018 and will be attended by various members of local government and key partners who constitute key stakeholders in the network developed by Bonnie and to be handed over to Sebastiaan.


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