It was a nice, sunny Saturday morning so my late husband, Pieter, and I decided to go to the centre of The Hague. This time we wanted to take a walk along the Noordeinde to visit some galeries and do some window-shopping. Suddenly, right in front of Palace Noordeinde, somebody started yelling at us. It was Hilde Hutagalung!
We both used to live in Washington DC and, during that time, we were both members of the IWC. I was Chairman of the Art Group and she was also a member of the group. We had a terrific time and made lots of friendships. However after some very pleasant years, we both moved. I was happy to be back in the Netherlands. Only one thing – I missed the contacts with the IWC so much! And now, here was Hilde, and she told me very proudly “We are going to start an International Women’s Contact in The Hague very soon and you have to join us!” So I decided immediately to join the Club.
The first meeting was scheduled in the Litteraire Societeit ‘de Witte’, Plein 24, The Hague. I was so excited to go there! On my way to the first meeting, a nicely dressed lady crossed my path; her name was Ank Kroon. We both enjoyed becoming members from the first day! We always went to the monthly meetings, for all members and they offered mostly very interesting lectures. It was also a pleasure to join the area coffee mornings.
The IWC offered us many interesting possibilities. For example, in November 1981, when we had about 300 members, Hanneke van Eekelen introduced the Hobbies and Craft morning. You could take a Greek course with Helen Hoek, a Needle Group had started, ladies could play Bridge in the Hoogwerf Restaurant, the Gardening Group, Hatha Yoga, Mahjong and more. I was attracted to the Jazz Ballet Club, once a week, with Nel Schouten, Map Vrolijk, Dorothe Toet and many more ladies.
Over the years, we made many excursions. We all remember going to Brussels to visit Hanneke van Eekelen, going to Teteringen to be guests at Anny Brokx’s manor. We visited embassies, exhibitions and many other interesting places and events All the activities the IWC offered to us for so many years were unbelievably nice.
One of our blessings is called Diny van Herwijnen, our Club photographer. She immortalised many happy moments over the years. And where would we be without Annelies Jansen, our SAM organiser? I am also grateful to everybody on the Board.
Being a member of the IWC for about 40 years enriched my life with the interesting times and warm friendships.
Johanna de Man