AWC Going Dutch Nov_Dec 2020

goingdutch

The American Women's Club bi-monthly magazine


Going Dutch

November/December 2020

The Magazine of the

American Women’s Club

of The Hague

Table of Contents

6

See how our two Fall Kick Offs dealt

with something new this year: social

distancing

20

As our beloved AWC turns 90, learn

more about our history

32 - 51

Twelve of our former AWC Presidents

reflect on their presidencies

5 Officers and Chairwomen

6 Fall Kick Off

8 Message from the President

9 Annual General Meeting

9 December General Meeting

10 Ramblings from the Editor

12 Membership

13 Toy Drive

14 Ongoing Activities

16 Book Lovers

18 Tribute to Justice Ruth Bader

Ginsburg

19 FAWCO Corner

20 AWC 90th Anniversary: How It

All Began

26 AWC Philanthropy

28 Calendar

31 Thanksgiving

SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL SECTION

32 Georgia Regnault

34 Jessie Rodell

35 Julie van der Wolf

36 Celeste Brown

38 Anne van Oorschot

40 Pamela Musselman

41 Leslie Collingridge

44 Johanna Dishongh

46 Becky Failor

47 Mary Ann Nation

49 Suzanne MacNeil

51 Melissa Rider

52 Classifieds

52 Advertising Rates

53 Index of Advertisers

54 90 Candles

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 3



Editor

Melissa White

2020-2021 AWC Officers

Committee Chairs

AWC Clubhouse

Johan van Oldenbarneveltlaan 43

2582 NJ Den Haag

Tel: 070 350 6007

info@awcthehague.org

www.awcthehague.org

Going Dutch Magazine

goingdutchmag@awcthehague.org

Clubhouse Hours

By Appointment Only

Dues (Effective 2020-2021)

€ 110 per year (€ 66 after January 1)

€ 90 business, professional

€ 55 valid US military ID

€ 35 student

€ 35 Outside the Netherlands (Going

Dutch magazine not included)

Add € 15 new member registration fee

Deadlines: Submissions are due no later than the last Monday of the month preceding the publication month.

For example, for the January/February issue, submissions are due before Monday, November 30.

Please Note: Articles submitted to Going Dutch will be published subject to space limitations and

editorial approval. All rights reserved; reprints only by written permission of the Editor. Please email to:

goingdutchmag@awcthehague.org

Legal Notice: Articles in Going Dutch express the views and opinions of their authors alone, and not necessarily

those of the AWC of The Hague, its Members or this publication.

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Design and Layout

Teresa Mahoney

Cover

The Mauritshuis in Fall 2020

Photography

Greetje Engelsman, Melissa Rider, Melissa

White

Proofreaders

Celeste Brown, Jane Gulde, Diane Schaap,

Debbie van Hees

Advertising Manager & Invoicing

Open

Contributors

Mary Adams, Barbara Brookman, Celeste

Brown, Jane Choy, Leslie Collingridge,

Johanna Dishongh, Suzanne Dundas, Greetje

Engelsman, Roberta Enschede, Becky Failor,

Eileen Harloff, Georgia Regnault, Melissa

Rider, Jo van Kalveen, Suzanne MacNeil,

Pamela Musselman, Mary Ann Nation, Anne

van Oorshot, Jessie Rodell, Michelle Voorn,

Julie van der Wolf

Printer

www.dwcprint.nl

AWC Bank Account Number

IBAN: NL42ABNA0431421757

KvK Den Haag

40409274 BTW or VAT: 007408705B01

Honorary President Diane Hoekstra

President Barbara Brookman

president@awcthehague.org

Vice President Melissa Rider

vicepresident@awcthehague.org

Treasurer Sarah Dunn

treasurer@awcthehague.org

Secretary Mary Ellen Brennan

secretary@awcthehague.org

Club and Community Development

Officer

Carin Elam

community@awcthehague.org

Clubhouse Administration Officer

Open

clubadministrator@awcthehague.org

Communications Michelle Voorn

communications@awcthehague.org

Front Office

Liduine Bekman, Siska Datema-Kool,

Jan Essad, Deana Kreitler, Hannah Gray,

Georgia Regnault, Lindsey Turnau

Activities: Sarah Partridge

Arts: Jane Choy

Assistant Treasurer: Teresa Insalaco

Board Advisor: Jessie Rodell

Book Club Daytime: Teresa Mahoney

Book Club Evening: Dena Haggerty

Bookkeeper: Lori Schnebelie

Caring Committee: Naomi Keip

Chat, Craft & Cake: Suzanne Dundas

eNews: Michelle Voorn

FAWCO: Molly Boed

Front Office Coordinator: Hannah Gray

General Meetings Programs: Open

Heart Pillows: Jan de Vries

Historian/Archivist: Georgia Regnault

Holiday Bazaar: Georgia Regnault

IT Administrator: Julie Otten

Kids’ Club: Open

Lunch Bunch: Greetje Engelsman

Mah Jongg: Jen van Ginhoven

Membership: Heather DeWitt

Movie Network: Tina Andrews

Newcomers: Jo van Kalveen, Hilde Volle

Parliamentarian: Georgia Regnault

Philanthropy: Open

Pickleball: Barbara Brookman

Social Media Facebook and Instagram:

Michelle Voorn

Social Media LinkedIn: Julie Otten

Tennis: Molly Boed

Thirsty Thursday: Open

Tours: Liduine Bekman

Volunteer Coordinator: Laurie Martecchini

Walkie Talkies: Emily van Eerten

Webmaster: Julie Otten

Women with Dutch Partners: Michelle

Voorn

AWC Mission Statement

The AWC is an association formed to provide social and educational activities for American

women living in the Netherlands and to promote amicable relations among people of all nations,

as well as acquiring funds for general public interest. Membership in the club is open

to women of all nations who are friendly and welcoming to American culture. The association

does not endeavor to make a profit. The AWC is a 100% volunteer organization.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 5



AWC Kick Offs: Daytime and Evening

6 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 7



Message from the President

by Barbara Brookman

Virtual General Meetings

by Melissa Rider

Every November, the Club gets together

for our Annual General Meeting

(AGM) to look back at the previous

year and agree on plans and a budget for

the current Club year. As the pandemic continues,

our AGM will be online, and our

plans continue to be open to change as we

adjust to new government guidelines. Our

Committee Chairs and event organizers are

doing an amazing job as they schedule and

reschedule events, constantly zigging and

zagging to find solutions to keep Members

connected. I would like to thank them for all

the work they do.

We have taken advantage of the summer

months to host several well-attended outdoor

events (see Kick Off on previous page).

Now winter is here―early it seems―and

we will continue to look at ways to bring

the Club to you through (mostly) online activities

and events.

I’m sad that our AGM has to be online

and won’t be followed by our traditional

Thanksgiving luncheon. I will miss sitting

around the table together. Screens aren’t

always a substitute for face-to-face and the

small conversations we have and connections

we make when we’re together. Just

like the Club, I have to work harder at staying

connected.

While uncertainty due to coronavirus is an

undeniable fact of AWC life, I realize that adjusting

to online meetings, rescheduling yet

another event or implementing a new set

of coronavirus measures

is insignificant compared

to the widening

inequities the pandemic

is causing at

home and around

the world. And it’s

impacting women

and girls at a disproportionate

rate.

8 GOING DUTCH

David Beasley,

Executive

Director of the

World Food

Program, said in

an interview after

the announcement

that the organization

had won the

Nobel Peace Prize

that currently 27

million people

globally are on the

brink of starvation

as a result of the virus. The Gates Foundation

in its 2020 Goalkeepers Report stated that

poverty worldwide will increase by 7% this

year whereas the world had seen gradual

progress for decades. Earlier this year, we

also heard from the FAWCO Target Project,

Hope for Women and Girls in Tanzania which

works to eliminate female genital mutilation

in the region, about the increased risk of cutting

and the challenges of social distancing

and quarantining in their safe houses.

This winter, we will be looking at creative

ways to help raise money for this and other

projects. I hope we can organize the Handbag

Auction to support the Target Project, which

has already raised an impressive $ 40,000

since it was announced in March. Our socially

distanced Sip, Swap & Shop event raised

€ 190 and our next scheduled philanthropic

activity, the Toys & Toiletries Drive, kicks

off soon (see page 13 for details).

While we do not have our Thanksgiving

luncheon to look forward to this year, I am

thankful for having all of you and the AWC

in my life. Every connection, conversation

or activity fills my tank, even more so now.

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Barbara

With coronavirus restrictions limiting

the number of people allowed

in the Clubhouse, our remaining

General Meetings for 2020 will be virtual.

We encourage all Members to join us for

the videoconference call from the comfort

of their own homes or offices. Please

RSVP via our online calendar or the Wild

Apricot app to receive the Google Meet

link via email.

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting is held

in November in accordance with our

By-Laws. The Board will report on the

Club’s activities and finances and ask the

Members’ approval of the budget for the

coming Club year and appointment of the

Audit Committee.

While in the past there was the enticement

of a Thanksgiving smorgasbord after

the meeting in order to ensure we had

the necessary quorum, the Officers of the

Board hope all Members will take part

in the voting either by the video conference

call or by submitting a proxy ballot,

which may be requested from the

Parliamentarian Georgia Regnault at

parliamentarian@awcthehague.org. All

signed proxy ballots must be received at

the Clubhouse no later than 12 p.m. on

Tuesday, November 10 either by email,

regular post, or dropping it in the mail slot

at the Clubhouse.

Thursday, November 12

Via Google Meets

10 a.m. Social Time

10:15a.m. Club Business

Free

Did you know that any woman who speaks English is eligible to join the

American Women’s Club?

Invite your English-speaking friends, wherever they’re from, to join us

today!

December General Meeting

In December we will have AWC Member

and “Amerikanist” Tanja GroenendijkdeVos

as our guest speaker. Tanja has her

master’s degree in North American Studies,

and she lectures on the American political

system, American elections, and transatlantic

relations, in particular those between the

Netherlands and America. She will take a

look back with us on the 2020 election year

and its outcome.

Thursday, December 10

Via Google Meets

Time TBD

Free

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 9



Ramblings from the Editor

by Melissa White

Ninety years ago, the American

Women’s Club of The Hague was

started by women wearing pearls,

gloves, hats and suits. Shockingly, looking

back, we now realize that all of those women

would have been survivors of the Spanish

Flu of 1918, but that’s not something that

likely would have been mentioned during

their monthly meetings. Just as when our

current Membership joined, none of us were

likely to have ever considered for even a second

what would happen to the Club when the

next pandemic hit.

Nor could any of those early Members have

ever predicted what we are currently experiencing

with AWC Members attending

“virtual” Club events in their pajamas over

machines that would have been depicted

in sci-fi novels and movies but were never

actually expected to be invented. Needless

to say, times have changed in exciting and

unexpected ways since a small group of

women invited other American expats to

join them for a luncheon to launch their

new venture (learn more on page 20). From

the beginning, our Club was much more

than just a gathering of “ladies who lunch.”

Our philanthropic contributions to the local

community have been immense, including:

equipment for the children’s hospital, over

€ 1 million for breast cancer awareness and

research, heart pillows for breast cancer patients,

and support for children in need ranging

from funds to toys and toiletries.

When I agreed to become Editor of Going

Dutch in 2009, Teresa Mahoney and I

shared a single Board position and then took

turns being the official Communications

Officer, thus serving together under three

presidents. After I stepped down in 2017,

I became Treasurer, serving under what

amounted to three presidents within just

one year as one moved and then two others

shared the responsibilities. Thus, I have

had the opportunity to serve with six AWC

Presidents, giving me a unique insider’s

view that convinced me without any doubt

that that job was 100% not for me. Being

President requires a long list of varied skills:

incredible patience to deal with a plethora

of different personalities; wisdom to know

when to stand up for something or to back

down—similar to being a parent, you have

to pick your battles; getting in touch with

your inner cheerleader as you help to promote

the Club throughout the local community;

and empathy to deal with the challenges

that face many of our Members.

For this issue, I reached out to many of our

former AWC Presidents to ask them to share

their reflections on their terms of office. I’m

excited to announce that 12 have responded

with a wide range of articles showcasing

highlights of their term as well as some of

the challenges that they faced and what they

did to overcome them. Ironically, Georgia

Regnault, who served as President in the

‘80s and again in the ‘90s, started her article

by tattling on me by mentioning that I

asked everyone to share something positive.

I hope you’ll agree that the outcome could

have just been a long rant, but instead is an

insightful look at many different phases of

our Club’s modern history.

Strangely, the history of our magazine is

a bit fuzzy. Georgia wrote, “I think It was

started in 1953 as a bulletin and became a

full-fledged magazine in 1964. The first

coat-of-arms of the AWC was designed by a

Member in 1954 and was on the cover each

month. Some of the first advertisers were

KLM, Shell and other oil companies, as

well as accounting firms and even Holland-

America Line.” I am proud to add my name

to the long list of Editors before me and

thank Leslie Collingridge for talking Teresa

and me into the job over a decade ago and to

Suzanne MacNeil, Audrey Goodman and

Alex Moore for holding down the fort while

I was on hiatus recharging my batteries.

10 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 11



Membership

by Heather DeWitt

Thank you for renewing your Membership

with the AWC for the 2020/21 Club

year and a warm welcome to thos

just joining. As an AWC Member you automatically

become a Member of FAWCO

(Federation of American Women’s Clubs

Overseas).

More benefits of being an AWC Member

include the ability to gain entry into the

wholesale stores Hanos in Delft and Sligro

in Leidschendam and The Hague. The

American Book Center in The Hague offers

a 10% discount to our Members. Please remember

to show your Membership card―

available on your Wild Apricot app―to these

businesses. If you have any questions about

your Membership, please feel free to contact

me at membership@awcthehague.org.

Welcome New Members!

Lesley Gerrese

Heather Latham

Trynity Mirell

Minal Rajan

Monica Rodoni

Joan Van Wellen

Noffi Yelloz

Toy & Toiletries Drive

by Carin Elam

This month we’ll be collecting items

for our annual Toy and Toiletries

Drive. As in previous years, the gifts

can be shared with families on December 5

to celebrate the arrival of Sinterklaas. The

AWC works with two wonderful organizations

to make this possible: De Oase Food

Bank in The Hague, and the Salvation

Army Children’s Home “Vliet en Burgh”

in Voorburg.

Children’s Sinterklaas gifts will consist of

age-appropriate toys, warm clothing, accessories

and chocolate letters. “Blessing

Bags” for the adults will contain personal

care products of shampoo, soap, deodorant,

toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Please look for more information in eNews

and on Facebook for the SignUp Genius

link to register to donate specific items, as

well as volunteer to help with shopping,

wrapping and delivering. Donations can be

dropped off at the Clubhouse during office

hours or by appointment by contacting me

at awcthehague.community@gmail.com.

Please also feel free to contact me if you

have questions or want to volunteer to help

coordinate this effort.

If you would like to make a monetary

donation, please remit via bank transfer

to the AWC at ​ABN AMRO IBAN:

NL42ABNA0431421757.

12 GOING DUTCH

Collection of Tagged Gifts and

Toiletries:

Monday, November 2 through

Friday, November 20

Wrapping of Gifts and Filling Blessing

Bags:

Monday, November 30 (time TBD)

Delivery Date:

Thursday, December 3

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 13



Ongoing Activities

Pending Activities

Due to new coronavirus guidelines, the following

activities are considered pending as

we consider holding them virtually until the

Clubhouse can reopen. Look for updates in

eNews. Please contact Suzanne Dundas

with questions.

Chat, Craft & Cake

Every Tuesday

10 a.m. – Noon

Wassenaar Coffee & Conversation

1st Thursday of the Month

9:30 a.m.

Pickleball

Pickleball is a sport that combines elements

from tennis, badminton and table tennis. It

is played with a paddle and light ball in a

badminton-sized court. It is a friendly sport

for all age groups and levels! Pickleball is

the fastest growing sport in the US and is exploding

in popularity internationally. AWC

Members are playing this fun and easy to

learn game on an indoor court beginning in

September. Contact Barbara Brookman at

president@awcthehague.org to join a trial

session with the option to join for the season.

Thursdays

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Sporthall Houtrust

Laan van Poot 22, Den Haag

Trial Session: Free

8-week Season: € 40 Members

Virtual Quiz Night

This month’s Saturday night quiz will

be created and hosted by Suzanne

Dundas. Participants will connect via a link

to a Google Meet video call. Each team will

consist of two people. You can form a team

from your home with a partner or housemate,

or play remotely with another AWC

Member (i.e. you both use Google Meet, but

stay in contact with each other by phone).

Each team should have a pen and paper for

writing down the answers and keeping track

of your scores. There will be three to four

14 GOING DUTCH

rounds with each round having ten questions.

After a round is completed, we will

review the answers as a group and teams

will track their own score. Once all rounds

are completed, we can determine the Grand

Winner! In the event of a tie, a super hard

rocket scientist level question will be used

as a tiebreaker. Food and drinks are essential

to successful game play and will be available

for takeaway from your local kitchen!

Questions? Contact Melissa Rider at

vicepresident@awcthehague.org.

Saturday, November 21

7 – 9 p.m.

Comfort of Your Own Home

RSVP deadline: November 20

Walkie Talkies

Whether you count your steps or just want to

take a socially distanced walk with friends,

the Monday morning Walkie Talkies is a

fun and healthy way to start the week. The

group meets in front of the Clubhouse before

heading out promptly to walk to various

destinations in the area, usually racking

up 10,000 steps along the way. No RSVP

is necessary. Contact Emily van Eerten at

walkietalkies@awcthehague.org to be added

to the WhatsApp group for last minute

updates and cancellations.

Mondays

9:30 a.m.

AWC Clubhouse

Free

Virtual Women in Business

Are you a business owner? Are you thinking

about starting a business? Come to our

ongoing meetings for networking and discussion

among AWC Members about being

a business owner in the Netherlands. All are

welcome, no matter what amount of experience

you may have with owning a business.

Our November topic will be Using

Facebook Marketing in Your Business led

by Dena Haggerty, and our December topic

and date are still to be announced. Feel

free to email Mary Ellen Brennan for more

information at secretary@awcthehague.org.

Friday, November 20

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Virtual Meeting

FREE

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 15



Book Lovers

Book Clubs

The AWC Book Clubs are FREE and open

to all readers. New Members are especially

welcome! There are no requirements that

you must attend every meeting or lead a discussion.

Snacks are provided by a different

Member each month. We have a daytime

and an evening group. Questions? Teresa

Mahoney organizes the daytime group:

bookclubday@awcthehague.org. Dena

Haggerty handles the evening meetings:

bookclubevening@awcthehague.org. Look

for messages in eNews about the possibility

of meeting at the Clubhouse or virtually.

Happy reading!

Daytime Book Club

November Selection:

The Discomfort of

Evening by Marieke

Lucas Rijneveld

This novel offers a raw

look at a devout Christian

farming family in a small

Dutch village as they deal

with grieving the loss of

a loved one. Winner of

the 2020 International

Booker Prize, this book puts a contemporary

spin on the classic wrath-of-God genre.

With disturbing scenes involving children

and animals, it is not for the faint of heart.

Note that the date has been adjusted due to

Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 19

10 a.m.

December Selection:

Olive, Again by Elizabeth

Strout

Our group loved Olive

Kitteridge, which won

the Pulitzer Prize and

spawned a hit HBO miniseries.

In this sequel, the

endearing and humorous

curmudgeon from Maine

is resurrected in 13 interconnected stories

16 GOING DUTCH

that remind the reader that you’re never

too old to grow up. In her cantankerous yet

compassionate way, Olive grapples with

loneliness, infidelity and mortality.

Thursday, December 17

10 a.m.

Daytime Book Club Reading List:

Thursday, January 28: The Testaments by

Margaret Atwood

Evening Book Club

November Selection:

The Cut Out Girl by Bart

van Es

This is an extraordinary

personal true account of

a young Jewish girl in the

Netherlands during World

War II, which begins in

our own backyard as she

was born in The Hague.

In order to hide from the

Nazis, she is moved between the homes of

an underground network of foster families,

one of them the grandparents of the author,

an Oxford English professor.

Wednesday, November 11

7:30 p.m.

December Selection:

I Feel Bad About My

Neck by Nora Ephron

By the screenwriter of

When Harry Met Sally,

this collection consists of

15 personal essays about

aging. With a dry sense

of humor, Nora Ephron

shares her ups and downs

in a candid look at women

who are getting older and dealing with

the tribulations of maintenance, menopause,

empty nests and life itself.

Wednesday, December 9

7:30 p.m.

Daytime Book Club Recaps

There There by Tommy Orange

This debut novel takes its title from Gertrude

Stein’s sharp line when describing her

hometown of Oakland, California, “There is

no there there.” Tommy Orange, also raised

in Oakland, is a citizen of the Cheyanne

and Arapaho nations of Oklahoma. His

book portrays innumerable characters from

Oakland, who self-describe themselves as

“Urban Indians.” The story reaches its climax

when all the characters attend the Big

Oakland Powwow. As one reviewer said,

“This book demands you work at reading it

and listening to the many kinds of things it

is sharing with you. It is well worth all the

energy required to take it in.” We could not

have said it better, except to agree that it is

worth the effort.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine

Evaristo

This collection of stories is told from the

perspective of 12 black British female characters,

their interconnected lives spanning

almost a century. This eclectic mix of characters

provides the reader with a variety of

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perspectives: from a lesbian playwright and

a non-binary Twitter influencer to those simply

unhappy in their marriages or wanting

something more than the hand they’ve been

dealt. The portraits are well-drawn; some

characters you want to get to know better,

whilst others leave just in time! It explores

the themes of identity, race, friendship, loss,

love and contemporary Britain. The common

denominator uniting all is casual racism and

prejudice. Some Book Clubbers were frustrated

that the stories felt too contrived and

the inclusion of so many characters became

a little predictable and formulaic, but we

agreed her intention was to cover as many

Girl, Woman, Other types as possible. As the

author has said, “I just wanted these characters

to expand in people’s minds the idea of

what black British women can be.” The use

of commas, but no other punctuation marks

caused much discussion. The prose mixes

narration, dialogue and internal monologue.

We surprisingly found this unusual technique

worked well. Overall, we found this a

highly readable book, with some compelling

characters discussing important, relevant

subjects.

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for entrepreneurs

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 17

1061246



RBG

by Roberta Enschede

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on the eve of

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

It is said that a person who dies then

is Tzaddik: a person of great righteousness.

Of that, there is no doubt. Jewish people also

say of the dead, “May her(his) name be a

blessing.” Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg someone

wrote, “May her name be a revolution!” Of

that there is no doubt either.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York on

March 15, 1933, an unlikely beginning for

a future Justice of the US Supreme Court.

Her father was a furrier in the height of the

depression and her mother, who instilled in

her daughter a love of education, worked

in a garment factory. Tragically, she died

one day before Ruth graduated first in her

class from high school. The young girl from

Brooklyn went on to Cornell University and

graduated first again. At Harvard Law, she

was one of 9 women in a 500-person class.

The highest authorities there chastised her

for “taking a man’s spot.” In spite of that,

she became the first female member of the

Harvard Law Review. In 1959, she finished

her legal studies at Columbia University and

graduated first once more.

Despite her exceptional academic achievements,

she had a hard time finding a job.

Gender-based discrimination was a way

of life in the ‘60s. When she was offered

jobs at some law firms, it was always at a

much lower salary than her male counterparts.

Ultimately, she became a professor at

Rutgers University Law School and then the

first female professor at Columbia Law to

earn tenure. At the same time, she directed

the Women’s Rights Project of the American

Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and successfully

argued six landmark cases before the

Supreme Court. She was an idealist and took

a broad view of discrimination, fighting not

only for women who were left behind, but

for men as well, “I don’t say women’s rights,

18 GOING DUTCH

I say the constitutional principle of the equal

citizenship stature of men and women.”

In 1980, President Carter appointed her to

the US Court of Appeals for the District of

Columbia and President Clinton appointed

her to the US Supreme Court in 1993. On

the court, she wrote the majority opinion in

the US vs. Virginia holding that qualified

women could not be denied admission to

the Virginia Military Institute. In 2007, she

dissented in Ledbetter vs. Goodyear Tire &

Rubber Company where a female worker

was being paid significantly less than males

with her same qualifications. She broke with

tradition and wrote a colloquial version of

her dissent to read from the bench. In 2009,

she worked with President Obama to pass

the very first piece of legislation he signed:

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

She had a copy proudly hanging in her office.

Also framed and hanging in her office

were words from the Torah, “Justice, justice

shall you pursue.” Which she did until the

last days of her life.

Her work changed all of our lives as well as

the lives of our children, grandchildren and

future generations. No longer can a young

woman be told, “You’re taking the place of

a man!” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “Women

belong in all places where decisions are being

made. It shouldn’t be that women are the

exception.”

We will remember Justice Ruth Bader

Ginsburg. We will remember a diminutive

lady in her judicial robe adorned with collars

of dazzling lace. We will remember a

colossus, an unrelenting voice for justice

and equality.

“I would like to be remembered” she wrote,

“as someone who used whatever talent she

had to do her work to the very best of her

ability.”

FAWCO Corner

by Barbara Brookman

Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas, a United Nations NGO with

consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council

www.fawco.org.

Apply Now for FAWCO

Foundation Education Awards

and Development Grants

The FAWCO Foundation is the philanthropic

arm of FAWCO. Each spring, this

FAWCO-member-supported organization

awards yearly Education Awards and

Development Grants. To find out more

about these awards and grants, visit the

Foundation website (www.fawcofoundation.org/programs)

for a full description.

A month-by-month application timeline

on the website provides useful advice on

timely submission of your application.

With deadlines in early January, it’s best to

get applications in before the holiday rush!

Development Grants

Are you interested in applying for a

Development Grant for a specific organization

or project that the Club has been supporting?

The Development Grants, each

for $4,000, are awarded in the areas of education,

human rights, health, and the environment.

The deadline for application is

in January each year. Visit the Foundation

website’s Development Grants page (www.

fawcofoundation.org/programs/development-grants)

for further information

Education Awards

The Education Awards, each for $4,000,

are open to AWC Members and their children

in areas of arts, sciences, humanities,

dual cultural and more. The application

deadline is January 27, 2021.

Do you have a child who might be interested

in applying for an Education Award,

a child or grandchild who is dual cultural,

or are YOU interested in furthering your

studies? If you are a Member of AWC

The Hague, you and your children are eligible

to apply. The Dual Cultural Award is

also available to Members’ grandchildren.

Visit the Foundation website’s Education

Awards page (www.fawcofoundation.org/

programs/education-awards) to learn more

about Academic Awards for your children,

Continuing Education Awards for you and

Dual Cultural Awards for your children or

grandchildren and see how you or a family

member might qualify.

What is the FAWCO Foundation?

The FAWCO network is made up of

three separate but related organizations:

FAWCO, the FAWCO Foundation and

FAUSA, FAWCO’s alumnae organization

for people who have lived internationally

and now live in North America.

The FAWCO Foundation’s sole purpose is

to put into action FAWCO’s stated interest

in the global community by specifically

aiding charitable, scientific and educational

programs and supporting the rights of

women and children throughout the world.

For over 40 years,

The Foundation has stayed true to this

purpose, with 100% of donations going to

support The Foundation’s work. More than

$2 million has been disbursed to benefit

FAWCO clubs, individual members and

FAWCO-related initiatives.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 19



AWC’s 90th Anniversary:

How It All Began

by Georgia Regnault, Anne van Oorschot and Ginnie Rempt

“I of the beginning and history of our

am sure it will be of interest to all

Club Members to know something

Club.” So begins the introduction of the history

of the American Women’s Club of The

Hague that was written by Club Historian,

Emily F. Gips, in 1955 on the occasion of the

25th anniversary of the AWC. Since the date

is now 2020, quick calculations prove that

the AWC is celebrating its 90th anniversary

this year! What a feat and what an occasion

to celebrate. However, before we raise our

glasses in a toast to our very own AWC, we

would like to share some information about

the formation and early days of our Club.

In the words of Emily Gips, “True to our

national genius for sociability, a group of

American women residing in The Hague

gathered regularly in the hospitable home of

Mrs. E. Daniels, who was one of the oldest

American residents. In 1930, when her

health began to fail, and in order to relieve

her of the responsibility, it was felt the

time had come to organize an American

Women’s Club. The first meeting was held

in the home of Mrs. Jesse van Wickel in the

beginning of August 1930. Only four women

attended this meeting…and they sent out

invitations to a luncheon to all American

women residing in The Hague, Rotterdam,

Amsterdam and surrounding cities, saying

that as prospective Members of the Club,

they could join at this luncheon. The affair

was a great success as practically everyone

invited came. The Club was started with 55

Charter Members.”

The Constitution and By-Laws for the AWC

were drawn up in August 1930, and the

Members started holding monthly business

meetings, teas and interesting programs.

Each year, a traditional dinner dance was

held at Hotel Des Indes. Judge and Mrs.

Frank Billings Kellogg were guests of honor

at the first event in November 1930. It was

at this event that “Judge Kellogg received

the news he had been awarded the Nobel

Peace Prize in recognition of the famous

Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact.”

The Library, Philanthropic Committee

and FAWCO all played major roles during

the early years of our Club. Our Library

was started thanks to book donations by

Members. It was originally located in the

Hotel Vieux Doelen and was open twice per

week. Until the age of eReaders, our Library

was our Club’s greatest asset, which was

why we always needed a place to store our

books. For several decades, the Club was

known as having the biggest collection of

English-language books in the Netherlands.

In 2005, the Library housed 8,500 books,

videos, DVDs and audio tapes.

The Philanthropic Committee of the

AWC was very active! According to AWC

Historian Harriet Kamp in 1980, “In the early

days of the Club’s existence, a permanent

sewing group was formed with Members

meeting once a week. The end products

were donated to the Sophia Institute in

Scheveningen for tubercular children, >> 22

AWC Library in 1968

20 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 21



90th History (cont.)

Continued from page 21

22 GOING DUTCH

the Juliana Children’s Hospital and the children’s

ward at Bronovo Hospital. In 1932,

a very successful Bazaar, opened by Queen

Wilhelmina, was held for the benefit of the

Protestant Maternity Hospital.” In 1948,

a letter campaign by the Philanthropic

Committee to hundreds of US companies,

asking for donations of surplus items, resulted

in over $100,000 in goods being received

by the Dutch Red Cross.

During the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Club organized

annual Rummage Sales to benefit

charitable efforts in The Hague, but once

Kringloop (recycle shops) opened in the late

‘80s, the Club turned its attention to organizing

an annual Holiday Bazaar. Both events

have always been win-win situations. The

Rummage Sales helped the people of The

Hague buy American button-down shirts,

baby sleepers and jewelry which was lovingly

repaired by a Member. The Holiday

Biennial FAWCO Conference in Zurich in 1953

Bazaars offered vendors the opportunity to

show their goods, while patrons enjoyed

shopping and Club Members had fun keeping

the whole event going.

In 1931, Mrs. Caroline Curtis Brown,

President of the American Women’s Club in

London, invited seven European Women’s

Clubs to send delegates to a conference to

discuss the possibility of forming a federation

of AWCs. The main purposes were to

work toward international goodwill and

the preservation of world peace. AWC The

Hague was one of the founding members of

the Federation, and it was our Constitution

that the delegates chose over those of

Antwerp, Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Zurich.

Our four delegates helped the group in passing

the resolution in favor of federating the

American Women’s Clubs of Europe on

May 8, 1932. The name of this Federation

was later changed to FAWCO (Federation

of American Women’s Clubs Overseas) and

became a 503(c)(1) in 1988.

Our Club has had many recipients of the

FAWCO Foundation Education Awards,

sponsored several Development Grants, and

hosted two conferences and many regional

meetings plus, most recently, a symposium

on Human Trafficking. Most impressively,

five AWC The Hague Members have served

as President of this international network of

more than 60 international clubs.

21st Century Highlights of Our

Club

Settling in new families has always been

of predominate importance. Our Club responded

by creating a detailed orientation

program for Newcomers. At Home in

Holland, the AWC’s own reference guide

to living in the Netherlands, was first published

in November 1963. The purchase of

much needed library furniture was paid for

from the book profits. In February 2009, we

published the 11th edition of this extensively

updated book at no cost to the Club due to

an impressive campaign to secure sponsors.

One of the most successful endeavors of the

AWC has been its commitment to increasing

breast cancer awareness, research and

advocacy in the Netherlands. In 2002, we

hosted our first Pink Gala, which funded

the BVN (Borst Vereniging Netherland:

www.borstkanker.nl), a breast cancer association,

to start the Pink Ribbon campaign

in Holland. Since that time, each Pink Gala

funded many Dutch breast cancer research

proposals and many other Dutch breast cancer

programs to accomplish our mission

of breast cancer awareness, detection and

treatment throughout the country.

>> 24

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 23



90th History (cont.)

Continued from page 23

In 2009, we reached the One Million Euro

milestone of donations for the Dutch breast

cancer community. Our all-volunteer

Membership came together for each gala,

working endlessly for months, illustrating

its willingness to participate in our goals

and the camaraderie we share. We are

proud that our initiatives contributed to the

efforts that resulted in Dutch breast cancer

research and awareness now being one of

the best programs in Europe.

In subsequent years, the AWC hosted a

variety of galas and benefits raising funds

for several other Dutch charities. After one

AWC Member brought to the Club’s attention

the need for better educational options

in English in The Hague area for children

with learning challenges such as autism,

the seed was planted for the AWC Hearts

& Minds Gala. The idea behind the name

was to apply our collective minds to raise

funds for projects near and dear to our

hearts. Those projects were expended from

Lighthouse Special Education to a wider

range of charities focusing on children

in need with the three galas raising over

€160,000.

On a much smaller scale, our philanthropic

efforts over the past decade have included

the introduction of the TLC Dinner to

spread some tender loving care (TLC) to

women facing wide-ranging challenges in

our community; the making of Easter baskets

as well as the gathering of toiletries

and toys for women’s shelters; the making

of heart pillows for breast cancer patients

at local hospitals; and the Summer Beach

Barbecue Benefit which raised funds for

Perspektief, a local organization dedicated to supporting and counseling victims of domestic

abuse, the homeless and other at-risk individuals. Another fun evening was spent

at Madurodam, complete with a scavenger hunt through the park before dinner, raising

funds for Not-for-Sale, an Amsterdam foundation dedicated to ending modern slavery by

retraining victims of human trafficking.

As you can see, the AWC has been a very busy organization for a long time and the end

is nowhere in sight.

24 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 25



AWC Philanthropy

by Georgia Regnault

Throughout our Club’s 90-year history, many events have been organized to raise

funds for good causes: Charity Galas, Bazaars and Rummage Sales were the ones

that earned the most funds. In fact, our very first Bazaar was held in 1932 with

Queen Wilhelmina opening it, but after that it wasn’t until the ‘90s that we again began

hosting an annual Holiday Bazaar. In the meantime, we had Galas and Rummage Sales.

On a smaller level, AWC Members have also always contributed in-kind over the years

by helping out in soup kitchens, gathering toys for underprivileged children, volunteering

in hospitals and making heart pillows for breast cancer patients.

Sadly, our annual Holiday Bazaar cannot be held this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic,

but we reached out to all of our past, present and (hopefully) future vendors to inform

them that we are hoping to be able to host a Spring Bazaar. We asked each one if they

would like to support our charitable efforts by contributing to be listed in this issue. The

vendors below enthusiastically agreed to take part. Please support them in return and

do this year’s holiday shopping in a coronavirus-responsible way. Keep your fingers

crossed that we will be able to hold a Spring Bazaar.

Museumshop

How many times during this pandemic

have you wanted to go to a museum, if

only to visit the shop? Well, Inger Sala,

has brought the shop to you―online,

that is: www.museumshopdenhaag.nl.

They even have face masks inspired by

well-known paintings and home delivery

here in The Hague.

The African Artisan

Recommended by AWC Member Jo

van Kalveen, Cherene Kruger sells

handmade ceramic service ware,

handcrafted cutlery and Shweshwe table

linen. All products come from South

Africa and can be purchased online at

www.theafricanartisan.com.

Atelier Pracht

Located at Hellingweg 98A in

Scheveningen, Yvonne de Heus’ shop

carries table linens, home textiles and

bags. She also sells custom curtains

and pillows. Her website at www.

atelierpracht.nl features many Christmas

items.

Wonders

Founded by Fong de Swart in 2004, this

business sells freshwater pearl and sterling

silver handmade jewelry to both

individuals and retailers. Their website

at www.wondersimport.nl shows an impressive

array of their collection.

Typical Dutch Art by Peet

Artist Peet uses authentic sailcloth produced

by working Dutch windmills to

make unique paintings depicting iconic

Dutch scenes as well as small gifts, which

can be viewed at www.typicaldutchart.

nl. She also does commissioned artwork

for those wanting a custom painting and

teaches painting workshops at her studio

at Polderstraat 8 in Breda. Guests are encouraged

to visit after arranging an appointment

at info@typicaldutchart.nl.

Flamingo Paperie

It’s time to get your holiday cards

and unique “build a scene” advent

calendars, wrapping paper and other

stationary products. Deanne Breare of

Voorburg is an independent partner of

the British company Flamingo Paperie.

You can find their collection at: www.

flamingopaperie.co.uk/web/13963.

Orders may be made by contacting

Deanne at deannecards@hotmail.com

or via her Facebook page: Flamingo

Paperie NL.

ADA Jewelry

Made by AWC Member Ada Boer, her

home-designed jewelry features semiprecious

stones, Oriental silver, African

beads and freshwater pearls. From

November 11 – 15, Ada will be having a

sale from her home in the Archipel area.

Please email her at adaboer@gmail.com

to find out the address and decide on a

time to shop.

Julie’s American Cookies

We all know AWC Member Julie Otten’s

delicious cookies, fudge brownies, cookie

dough, chocolate pecan and pumpkin

pies. Her famous chocolate chip cookie

cakes are especially perfect for children’s

parties. Julie’s products are sold via her

website at www.juliesamericancookies.

com. Local delivery is available or pickup

can be arranged by appointment at her

new shop at Zoutmanstraat 23 in The

Hague. When not baking, Julie keeps our

AWC website up and running.

Mees Essentials: Essential Oils

for Health

Another AWC Member, Ginny Mees,

has been a favorite at our past Bazaars

and even organized it one year. Her

website about living a healthy lifestyle

is www.youthfullifestyle.com,

while her products may be purchased at

www.mydoterra.com/meesessentials.

La Haye Jewelry

One only has to go to the website of

www.lahayejewelry.nl to discover what

beautiful Dutch design handmade jewelry

that Ingrid La Haye creates. You can

also see her work in person at her shop in

Scheveningen at Stevinstraat 5, open on

Saturdays or by appointment.

Bayong Philippines

As the name of the vendor indicates,

Bambi van Lujk imports handicrafts, accessories

and natural cotton sleepwear

from the Philippines. Bambi doesn’t

have a website, but can be contacted

at bamvanluyk@yahoo.com to find out

how you can discover more about her

products.

Tupperware

And what better way to keep Julie’s

products fresh than in a Tupperware container.

Or how about finding out about

some of their new products. Alison van

den Brekel-Williams sells Tupperware

products in a shop at Roodborstlaan 1 in

Scheveningen; to arrange an appointment,

email her at alisonvdb@hotmail.com.

26 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 27



November 2020

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Wassenaar Coffee and

Convo (pending)

9:30 a.m

Pickleball Fall 10 a.m.

8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Buddy Check 12

Virtual Annual Meeting

10 a.m.

Evening Book Club

7:30 p.m.

15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Pickleball Fall 10 a.m.

Daytime Book Club

10 a.m.

Virtual Meeting: Women

in Business 10 a.m.

Virtual Quiz Night 7 p.m.

22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Pickleball Fall 10 a.m.

Thanksgiving

29 30

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m

Toy and Toiletries Drive:

Wrapping of gifts and

Filling Blessing Bags TBD

December 2020

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1 2 3 4 5

Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Wassenaar Coffee and

Convo (pending)

9:30 a.m

Pickleball Fall 10 a.m.

6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Virtual December General

Meeting 10 a.m.

Buddy Check 12

Evening Book Club

7:30 p.m.

Hanukkah

13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Daytime Book Club

10 a.m.

Pickleball Fall 10 a.m.

20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

Christmas

27 28 29 30 31

Walkie Talkies 9:30 a.m Chat, Craft & Cake

(pending) 10 a.m.

28 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 29



The Pieterskerk on Thanksgiving

by Roberta Enshede

The first time I was ever at the Pieterskerk

in Leiden was on a Thanksgiving

morning many years ago. I had been

living in Holland for only a few months and

was very lonesome and incredibly homesick.

I couldn’t find a turkey. I couldn’t find

sweet potatoes! When I asked a man at a

vegetable store, “Do you have sweet potatoes,”

he made fun of me. “Wat is dat voor

iets, ZOETE aardappelen?” (What is that?

SWEET potatoes?) Never mind cranberries

or pumpkin pie. And....my Dutch husband

added to my dismay. When I said, “Next week

is Thanksgiving,” he answered, “So what!”

I don’t quite remember how I found out

about the service at the Pieterskerk. I didn’t

have one American friend! Anyway, I went.

I remember sitting on a bench and shivering

with my feet on a little foot warmer. There

was no heating. It felt like the cold was an

accumulation of centuries. The service was

simple. There were no flowers or kids and

I don’t remember any solo singing though

I’m certain the organ was played. I was

just happy to be around Americans. After

the service, I followed a group to the pannekoek

(pancake) house on the main street

of Leiden. They were standing in a long line

on a cold, drizzly day. Pannekoeken would

be their Thanksgiving feast!

For several years, the Pieterskerk was

closed for renovations and the installation

of the blessing of central heating. The

Thanksgiving Service was moved to the ancient

church in Delfshaven at the site where

the Pilgrims prayed on the quay before embarking

on the Speedwell on July 22, 1620.

Since the Service moved back to the

Pieterskerk, it has become non-denominational

and fit for people of all faiths and

nationalities. The church is filled with flowers

and children: scouts, an orchestra, a

choir, the Little Pilgrims and even a student

speaker. Perhaps Americans who are so far

from home that day feel like I have come to

feel: that we have come home, home to our

nation’s beginnings.

We know that the Pilgrims lived in Leiden

surrounding the Pieterskerk for more than

11 years.

We know that their minister John Robinson

was buried there.

We know that their baptisms, marriages and

deaths were recorded there.

We know, too, that perhaps the idea for a

feast of Thanksgiving after the Winter of

Hunger in 1620 might have come from

Leiden’s 3rd of October Feast that commemorates

the lifting of the Spanish Siege

at the end of the Hunger Time in 1574.

When I go to the Pieterskerk on

Thanksgiving morning, I always think of

the words of Abigail Adams, “I felt a respect

and veneration upon entering the

doors of the church at Leiden.” I feel privileged

to be where the Pilgrims were welcomed

and given the freedoms to gather

together, work, publish and worship―the

freedoms we call unalienable rights. Now,

too, I can go home to prepare a feast for

our “family of friends”: turkey, cranberries

and, yes, zoete aardappelen! And . . . . now

my husband wouldn’t think of saying, “So

what!” Of course, Thanksgiving will be different

this year.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there can be

no Thanksgiving service at the Pieterskerk.

Nor can there be a commemoration at the

Service of Leiden 400 to mark the 400th anniversary

of the sailing of the Mayflower to

the wilderness continent destined to become

the United States of America. Nevertheless,

I hope we will all gather together in small

groups and, in spite of all the sadness and

loss the coronavirus has brought, find a way

to give thanks and enjoy the blessings of

food, family and friends on Thanksgiving

Day.

30 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 31



Presidency--Georgia: Challenges

of Being AWC President

by Georgia Regnault (1982-1984)

When the Editor of this magazine asked past Presidents to write about the challenges

they faced during their tenure, she added quickly, keep it positive, though. I looked

up the word “challenge” and found that it pretty much has a negative meaning, but

three synonyms seemed to describe it for the best for me: Test, Trial and Task.

1982 – 1984

While deeply honored to be elected President of the AWC, I realized that I was the first

President to be married to a Dutchman in some 30 years of the Club. In other words, the

Club was very American and very big―Membership fluctuated between 550 – 650 during

that time. My first “test” was when Webster University came knocking on the door of the

Club in August 1982; in other words, they called me on the phone. They were interested

in researching the possibilities of opening a campus in the Netherlands and specifically in

The Hague. Furthering my education had always been impossible here, so I was so excited

of that possibility that I worked with them that whole year to see it to fruition. In October

1984, it opened its doors in Leiden and many AWC Members either attended classes or

taught there.

In November 1982, a new “task” landed in my lap

when the Editor of our still unnamed magazine arrived

at our 18-Member Board Meeting at the

American Protestant Church to ask, “Has the AWC

ever thought of having a Clubhouse?” And, thus,

began the 18-month task of obtaining the house on

Nieuwe Duinweg 25 in April 1984 (this whole story

was told in the June 2020 issue of Going Dutch).

The biggest “trial” for me was one that most people

don’t even know about. On September 1, 1983,

Korean Airlines Flight 007―flying from NYC to

Seoul via Anchorage―was shot down by the Soviets,

because it was in their airspace and they thought it

was an American spy plane. All 269 passengers and

crew were killed. In June 1983, the AWC Foreign

Tours Committee announced they had planned a

week-long trip to Leningrad and Moscow, leaving on

September 17. Some 40 – 50 Members and families

had signed on and paid for the trip in full. Within days

of the tragedy, a boycott on flying to the Soviet Union was announced by just about every

airline, except the one the AWC Members were booked with.

The American Embassy called me and said that I

had to cancel the trip. However, since the airline

was not participating in the boycott, no one would

get their money back and therefore some Members

still wanted to go. I had nightmares for a few days

that they would be greeted by the press and their

pictures would be broadcast and printed throughout

the world showing Americans from the AWC of

The Hague were still travelling to the Soviet Union.

Luckily, the airline finally joined the strike and I

could sleep again at night, but it was a very tense

time. By the way, the trip went ahead in the spring

of 1984, although the price had increased 16%.

Another little-known fact about this international tragic incident was that the country singer

Lee Greenwood wrote his song, God Bless the USA (better known as Proud to be an

American) in 1983 in response to his feelings about the shooting down of KAL 007. It

gained lots more exposure during the Gulf War and again after 9/11.

1994 – 1995

The challenges during my second time as President revolved mostly around the house. One

group of Members wanted to drastically remodel the house, even going to the extent of

proposing to buy the house next door and tearing out the walls, while another group wanted

to sell the house and buy something in Wassenaar after the American School of The Hague

moved there in 1990.

I’ll end by telling you all what my personal challenges were: public speaking and writing 30

Messages from the President back when writing was not my thing. Both things I learned to

do while serving as President for three years. It certainly helped to develop me as a person,

and I have to thank the AWC Membership for the trust they put in me.

32 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 33



Presidency--Jessie: This is

How It’s Done

by Jessie Rodell (1984-1985) with assistance by Tiersa Jergesen

When I told my mom

about the request for

an article for this

special 90th anniversary issue

and asked if she could share

some of her memories of her

time as President so we could

put together a small paragraph

to send in, with her optimistic

knowing smile she said, “Oh

wow, well maybe a big paragraph

would cover it!”

I asked her about her favorite

parts of moving into

the Clubhouse on Nieuwe

Duinweg. She remembers

the ribbon cutting with

Georgia Regnault, and the big furniture donation [having to work around it all and find

places for it]; she laughed thinking about that. Most of all, she remembers making so many

“really neat friends” [her words]; so many of these fabulous women are still a part of her

life today, no matter how far they may have roamed.

The memories are harder to come by on her own, but once we talk about things, she remembers

and can add some fun thoughts. She has treasured being a part of such a wonderful

group. I remember moving into the Clubhouse, the furniture, the fun chaos of it all. More

than anything, I remember watching my mom and thinking: this is how it’s done!

Presidency--Julie: How to

Upset the Apple Cart

by Julie van der Wolf (1986-1988)

I

witnessed a very energetic AWC during my

two-year tenure as President from 1986 until 1988.

The Clubhouse was still fairly new to us, and some

refurbishing jobs were taken on including completely

stripping the monumental banister (laden with the paint

of decades) and restoring it to its original beauty and

color. A letter box was constructed in dark wood with

30 spaces (imagine 3 rows of 10 letter-size openings)

for people serving the Club as Officers, Committee

Chairs and volunteers. Was the wainscoting already

there? Color was brought into the vestibule and main

room by means of a rug, paint and wall coverings. Then

there was the outfitting of (spending money on) the

volunteers with two computers: one for Membership

and one for the magazine staff, allowing them and

other Members to learn how to use a computer and

bring the Club Members into the modern age.

A Club-changing project was the movement to give a status to non-American women who had

volunteered and supported the Club for years while not being able to vote or call themselves

Members. Associate Membership requirements were discussed, massaged, discussed, opined,

discussed and finally voted upon. I recall at some point saying, “Do not put off until tomorrow

what you can do today.” We added administrative

guidelines to complement the By-laws.

Yearly rummage sales involved the whole Membership

and were a major source of income. Fashion shows

were also still a yearly event with Members modeling

at the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague and at the Bijhorst

Restaurant in Wassenaar. Roberta Enschede put on

the first Martin Luther King, Jr. program at the Hotel

Wassenaar Restaurant and a musical production allowed

our musically endowed members to shine. At

the FAWCO Conference in Madrid in 1987, I chaired

the Club President’s meeting which was reported to

me to have been very successful (“they raved”).

In 1987, I was inspired to write the poem for the AWC

Rose Ceremony which finished with “Each year we

produce a bouquet for all Members to behold.” I

am so pleased that these words are still used at our

Board Installation each year. To this day, I admire

the women who were inspired to do so much in so

short a time.

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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 35



Presidency--Celeste: Random Thoughts

About My Terms as President

by Celeste Brown (2002-2004)

I

arrived in the Netherlands in 1998 as a 45-year-old career

woman ready to marry the love of her life: a tall, handsome

Dutchman. In the four years between my arrival and becoming

AWC President, I came face to face with a number of significant

life events: I failed my first Dutch language class (a huge bruise

to my ego), both my parents in the US sadly died, and we got

married. To provide some much needed stability amid the chaos,

I decided to join the AWC to meet other American women living

in Holland, the only people who I thought would understand one

of life’s greatest mysteries about an imported American norm—

how could I live in a house a) without an oven, or b) without an

oven large enough to roast a traditional Thanksgiving turkey?

The AWC provided me ample opportunity to share my dreams

and frustrations. During a volunteer stint in the (then) ever popular AWC Library, I was

asked to take over for the AWC Secretary who had unexpectedly quit. The next year, I was

told I was “perfect” to be the FAWCO Rep. That’s how whimsical life in the AWC can be!

• The “Pink Gala” fundraisers, supporting breast cancer

awareness and advocacy, grew into successful community-wide

events.

• I established the Ladies of The Hague Round Table that

brought presidents of other Hague-based international

women’s clubs together to discuss common issues and

brainstorm solutions. We didn’t need to reinvent the

wheel!

• As President, I started the process to charter

Toastmasters of The Hague, a community club that

I knew would benefit AWC Members and husbands

to keep up/refresh their professional communication

skills. (www.toastmasters.nl)

My second term ended with a proverbial bang when the AWC proudly hosted the FAWCO

Interim Conference at the elegant Kurhaus in Scheveningen. Led by the indomitable Georgia

Regnault, the conference planning team organized the multi-day conference full of FAWCO

sessions, notable guest speakers and workshops. We showcased the very best of our Club

and The Hague. I was proud that so many of our Members volunteered to highlight our

community and hospitality.

Through it all and the years since, I’m so proud of what our Club has accomplished for our

Members and the community in the last 90 years. Just imagine what lies ahead!

So in spring 2002, I decided to take the leap to serve as AWC President. I was full of energy

and full of ideas. Some of my fondest memories:

• The Clubhouse in Scheveningen was vibrant and full of activities. Most days, there

were at least two onsite activity options, and sometimes as many as four. It was a

real whirlwind.

• I loved having the privilege to park my car in the Clubhouse’s driveway. Presidential

perk!

• The Board consisted of 13 women who were fun, energetic and hardworking. Over

half of them stayed on for the second term because of our positive synergy. Our

holiday parties for Board Members and partners were festive events!

• I loved kibitzing with Newcomers and helping them find their “niche” within the Club.

• The Gift Shop did a lively business. Members came often to survey the new goodies

and to purchase gifts for friends and for themselves.

• Annual Holiday Bazaars were

organized (by my best recollection)

at the Mondriaan Hotel

School in Mariahoeve. I remember

also organizing a midyear

bazaar in the Clubhouse

which was warm and cozy.

• Lunch at our “Tulip Café”

was offered every Thursday.

Volunteers signed up for

the weekly slots to cook,

and Members came to the

Clubhouse weekly to enjoy

lunch with AWC friends.

36 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 37



Presidency--Anne: Looking

Back with Pride

by Anne Van Oorschot (2005-2007)

When I look back on my two terms as AWC

President, there were many memorable achievements!

There were two Pink Ribbon Galas

held: one in Delft that raised € 100,000 and one in the

Grote Kerk that raised even more. The AWC assisted the

Borstkanker Vereniging Nederland with the creation of the

Dutch Pink Ribbon Foundation and helped plan the first

Pink Ribbon Walk for Women. There were two successful

Christmas Bazaars, where we first introduced the central

payment system. While I made a nice speech at both of

the Galas and supported the Bazaars as much as I could,

these events were strong Club efforts. There are three

noteworthy accomplishments I feel I had a significant

hand in making happen and look back at with pride!

The AWC Crèche

In my early years of Membership in the Club, I had small children which limited my participation

since babysitting during the day was hard to find and expensive. While our Clubhouse

on the Nieuwe Duinweg had two rooms that were originally set up as a play area for kids,

the space was used primarily for storage. With the help of a Member with a toddler, Rachel

Kuppers, we did some painting, refurbished the decor, got new supplies, sorted through boxes

of donated toys, cleaned everything and reorganized the rooms to make them attractive and

inviting for toddlers and their moms. The Board approved free babysitting during the monthly

General Meetings and the Club saw an increase in the participation of young mothers. Toddler

mornings were also organized: the kids played together in the big room while the moms enjoyed

getting to know each other in the smaller adjoining room. I thought it was a big win for

the Club and Members with young children!

Third Floor Room Rental

Anyone who serves on the AWC Board knows something that is often hard for many Members

to understand: dues do not pay all the Club expenses and planning fundraising activities is essential

for the continuation of our Club. While we planned many fundraising activities, there

is only so much you can organize and all of it takes a tremendous number of volunteer hours

to realize.

myself and found someone to do the rest of the work cheaply. We got a lock for the door and

were good to go! Surprisingly, there was a lot of opposition from some Board Members to this

idea: “A man/men in the house!” Liability issues: “That stairway is treacherous, and we’ll get

sued!” “They’ll make tons of copies on our Club copy machine!” “They’ll drink our coffee

and eat our cookies without paying!” I went through the objections and most were easy fixes:

liability insurance was a couple of euros per month; we got codes on the copy machine and

gave our renter one; he got his own coffeemaker and disposable cups. One issue couldn’t be

fixed: he remained a man. In the end, the benefit of having his rent come in every month (I

think it was around € 400) with NO VOLUNTEER hours required was too good to pass up!

Unfortunately, he was transferred back to England a year later, but it was good while it lasted.

75 Years of AWC History

The year 2005 marked the 75th anniversary of our Club and

we had a lovely anniversary celebration at a meeting in the fall.

There were speeches, photos collages from the past, a group

photo on the stairs and a beautiful cake. There was also something

so much better: the creation of a beautiful history book:

Growing Dutch, The American Women’s Club of The Hague:

The First 75 Years — 1930-2005. I introduced the idea of making

a comprehensive history book about our Club and the Board

approved the funds to make it happen. The basic structure of the book―the four seasons of

Club growth and development―was thought up by the four women who drove back from the

FAWCO Conference in Berlin with me. It was talented Member Karin Harms who scoured

through the many boxes of Club documents and photos in the attic to write and illustrate the

book, and the end result was an amazing tribute to the hundreds of women who have shaped

the Club throughout the years. Women in hats and gloves, women who sewed and baked,

women who painted and cleaned, women who wrote and read and, most of all, women who

laughed, formed friendships and bloomed beautifully in the fertile Dutch soil. I, like all of

those women, owe a debt to those who went before me in the Club. In my case, I especially

owe thanks to Georgia Regnault, who whispered in my ear that the Club should commemorate

75 years with a history book and Karin would be the perfect person to do it.

With the space needs of the Club reduced, we had unused rooms on the third floor. While talking

to a Member about her husband’s consulting work,

she complained about his lack of space for storing files

and his need for an occasional workspace―together a

smaller area than could be rented in commercial buildings.

“Would he be interested in renting one of the rooms

on the third floor?” He was, but the room in question was

a mess. It needed to be cleared out, cleaned and repainted,

and used carpet tiles we had gotten (from Schiphol!)

needed to be installed. I did the clearing and cleaning

38 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 39



Presidency--Pamela: 90th

Birthday Greetings

by Pamela Musselman (2007-2009)

I

would like to express my sincere congratulations to the

AWC of The Hague 2020 Executive Board and all of the

Members in honor of the AWC’s 90th birthday. I fondly

recall the Denim & Diamonds 80th Birthday Celebration held

in May 2010. Now, due to the pandemic, the 90th birthday

celebration will have to be conducted with social distancing

via the great Going Dutch magazine.

I became a Member of the AWC in the year 2000! My

family and I had just relocated from Vienna. I was thrilled to spend time in the wonderful

Clubhouse in Scheveningen and wandered from floor to floor admiring the amazing volunteer

work of the Members. The kitchen was a constant hub of conversations; the gift shop was always

a welcome stop, that displayed new inventory on a regular basis; the library was truly an

incredible place to spend time; the front office almost needed a revolving door with so many

Members flowing through. The Clubhouse was a delightful place to congregate and all who

passed through the front door were genuinely welcomed.

I had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as the AWC President for two years: 2007 –

2009. The women who served as volunteers on the Executive Board with me were incredibly

talented, brilliant and the backbone of the Club. I have great memories of our Board Meetings,

the monthly General Meetings and all of the amazing projects that were launched during those

years.

The AWC Kick Off was held offsite then. I was delighted to host the September 2007 Kick Off

in the Warenaar Cultural Center and the September 2008 Kick Off in the Raadhuis de Paauw

(City Hall), both in Wassenaar. It truly was an honor to have the community support of the

city officials of The Hague and Wassenaar, who were always welcoming to AWC Members.

Some of the highlights during my presidency were: spearheading the revisions of the AWC

By-Laws; developing an Associate Member Program; welcoming the British Women’s Club

as an AWC Associate Member, who leased the top floor of the Clubhouse for their office

and shared the public rooms; overseeing the production of the 11th edition of At Home In

Holland; representing the AWC in the “ Roundtable Group,” consisting of members from all

the women’s clubs in the Netherlands, whose goal was to improve communications regarding

fundraisers and community programs.

One of the most historical events took place during my presidency: we were served with a

lawsuit for sexual harassment by an American man living in the Netherlands. He presented

himself to the AWC for Membership, however, was declined because of his gender. He proceeded

to harass the Board with numerous emails, threats and, finally, a lawsuit. The AWC had

the very good fortune to have a pro bono legal Dutch counsel: Mr. Ernst Enschede (Roberta

Enschede’s husband) successfully won the case and the charges were eventually dropped

without any necessary legal changes to the AWC Constitution or any fiscal accountability. As

a footnote to this event, the accuser was found to be mentally unstable and deported by Dutch

Immigration.

Since its inception in 1930, the AWC has provided our Members with a “home away from

home,” and has become an anchor for a multitude of women, many of whom have made tremendous

contributions to the organization and to the country.

HAPPY 90th AWC! Cheers for 90 more!

Presidency--Leslie: Spinning

Plates

by Leslie Collingridge (2009-2011)

Just more than a year after arriving in the Netherlands in 2008, my very first expat posting, I

found myself nominated to be President of AWC The Hague. I was already invested in and

excited about being part of this Club. I was so enthusiastic that on the first day I entered

the Clubhouse, I agreed to manage the Art Gallery, and shortly thereafter became Editor of

Going Dutch. Full plate, immediately.

I was quite taken aback and very flattered by the nomination to become President. I wasn’t

sure what to do, but I’ve always loved a challenge! I consulted with a number of people, including

my husband, a few Members and several past Presidents. I wanted to be sure I would

be right and qualified for the role and be an effective leader to face any challenges, not even

knowing what they might be. Everyone I consulted encouraged me to accept.

It was former President Celeste Brown who tipped the scales and convinced me that if I

was seriously considering it, I should attend the FAWCO Conference that was to be held in

Vilnius, Lithuania. I knew little about FAWCO, but I trusted Celeste and made the trip. The

four days of workshops (many designed specifically for club presidents and the unique issues

they face), presentations, and the intense camaraderie, along with encouragement from other

presidents who offered to be my network of resources and support, inspired me to accept the

nomination.

I had my first challenge even before I was elected: finding a new Going Dutch Editor

as I couldn’t leave the post empty. I was well aware of what a big job it was. Luckily,

>> 42

40 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 41



Presidency--Leslie (cont.)

Continued from page 41

after many discussions, Melissa White and Teresa

Mahoney agreed to take on the task as a team. And

what a dream team they were. Two months later, the

Membership voted, and I was installed into office.

My first task was to learn how the organization

worked. I studied the By-Laws and Constitution; got

to know the Executive Board and Committee Chairs;

participated in activities; and listened to volunteers

about what they wanted and to my Board about what

was possible. I was incredibly fortunate to have a

dedicated, capable and supportive Board who helped me steer my way and the Club forward.

Our Membership, during its nearly 80 years of existence, had gone from over 600 Members

to a bit less than 200 and falling. This created a financial loss of Membership fees and was

a legitimate concern that needed to be addressed immediately. We were competing with the

Internet, other expat organizations, and the reality that many expats were being repatriated

due to the economy.

I regularly reminded Members that AWC was their Club, which meant we needed them

to volunteer for us to succeed. However, finding volunteers, particularly with a dwindling

Membership, was not easy. We managed to fill positions with energetic and talented women,

some of them managing more than one role at the same time.

In late 2009, our Finance Committee (headed by Robin Peabody) prepared a budget for

presentation to the Membership. We needed a plan to improve the financial situation of the

Club, making it a priority to establish long-term revenue streams, and to allocate funds to the

general reserve account as well as the reserve account for our guidebook, At Home in Holland.

The Club’s 80th anniversary was in 2010. It was a significant milestone and I recognized it

would require a big event. I appointed a committee to organize this important milestone,

which would be an opportunity to raise funds for relief in Haiti as well as Clubhouse expenses.

The event was held in May 2010. I was very nervous to address such a large crowd, which included

most of our own Membership, members from

other FAWCO Clubs and dignitaries, including our

American Ambassador to the Netherlands. All went

swimmingly, and it was a relief to enjoy the rest of

the evening socializing and dancing the night away! I

think this was probably my best memory as President.

I was passionate about FAWCO, and I struggled to

get the Membership to be more involved as I shared

updates and explained this amazing organization.

We hosted a Regional FAWCO Meeting which was

well-attended by our Members as well as members

of FAWCO clubs in Belgium, Luxembourg and the

Netherlands. It gave our Members a much better

understanding of FAWCO. Our Club also hosted its

42 GOING DUTCH

first “Helping Handbags Auction.” Since then it has turned

into an annual event, with proceeds donated to support

FAWCO projects.

It had been an exhausting year, and despite my plan to serve

for just one year, I was nominated for a second term. Initially,

I declined and announced my resignation. However, after

some soul-searching, encouragement from the Nominating

Committee, and realizing that I couldn’t leave my post before

taking care of some unfinished business, I accepted the

nomination.

By far my biggest challenge was our financial situation, which

was very vulnerable. Although some of our hard work had

paid off, it was difficult to raise the funds required to run the Club with a dwindling number

of Members. Even more serious were the ever-increasing maintenance and repair costs of a

Clubhouse that was now too large for our needs.

We turned to our Executive Board and Members for feedback on how to meet these new challenges.

A Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), chaired by Robin, was formed and asked to

think “out of the box.” The SPC brainstormed throughout the summer, formulating long-term

solutions focused on three areas: how to make the Clubhouse pay for itself; how to increase

Membership; and how to establish a brand for the AWC. The most significant conclusion was

clear: we could no longer afford the Clubhouse. Ultimately, the SPC Housing Subcommittee

(chaired by Debbie Reagan) recommended that the Club thoroughly investigate what would

be involved in selling the Clubhouse and purchasing a more affordable space that would better

meet our requirements.

As this was a critically important issue that required the involvement of all Members, the

Board arranged a series of open meetings to discuss the recommendations and answer questions.

Although it was painful for us to consider selling our beautiful Clubhouse, we agreed it

was necessary to secure the financial stability of the Club for the future. All things are difficult

before they are easy.

The General Membership voted unanimously at the March 2011 General Meeting to approve

the recommendation to replace the existing Clubhouse. We were off to a better future for the

Club! Looking back, it is so easy to see that we made the right choices. This vote was probably

one of the biggest challenges we faced and overcame, but there would be more work to

be done.

At the end of my term in May 2011, I was

delighted to hand over the reins to Johanna

Dishongh; from the minute she entered the

Clubhouse, she became a force. I knew she

would be up to many challenges: the first being

to sell the Clubhouse and find us a new

home. In her words, “We must be willing to

change in order to endure.” I was absolutely

confident in Johanna, and she proved us all

right. We managed to sell the Clubhouse, pay

off our line of credit, and lease a new space

much better suited to our needs, but I’ll let her

tell you all about that.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 43



Presidency--Johanna: The

Heart of the AWC

by Johanna Dishongh (2011-2013)

I

assumed the Presidency of AWC The Hague in May

2011, just after the Membership approved selling

the Clubhouse of 30 years on Nieuwe Duinweg.

July brought never-ending rains which led to flooding

of the library and extensive water damage to the

Clubhouse. In September, the board signed a contract

to list the property for sale, and a relocation team was

established to begin looking for a new home. An offer

for the house came in December, and after some back

and forth counters, an agreement was made, and the

sale was completed in April 2012 with net proceeds of

€ 666,287.18. Prior to the sale, we had contracted with

Ernst & Young to clarify our ANBI (nonprofit) status

regarding any potential proceeds from the property.

Upon completing their review, they stated that maintaining

our ANBI status would be contingent upon us clearly and properly documenting

our intentions for the monies we receive from the sale of the property.

Subsequent to the sale, the Board adopted a motion stating (in summary) that the proceeds

of the sale would be set aside to allow for the future financing of a long-term location

for the Club. Any new permanent or term exceeding five years must be approved prior to

purchase or lease by a majority vote of the Membership.

The initial plan was to find “interim space,” possibly for two to five years, during which

time we could determine our long-term needs. Negotiations broke down on our selected

space just days before our transfer date. The decision

was made to take advantage of being at the end of

the active Club year. Our house contents would be

sent to storage and we would join the 21st century by

“going virtual.” A new Relocation Committee was

formed to take another look at available options with

the goal to be back up and running by September

2012.

All of this happened in the sidelines as the Club

continued with a full year of activities and tours,

the annual Holiday Bazaar and several philanthropic

activities. Eet Smakelijk for the Holidays cookbook

was a first-edition sell out. We supported three

hospitals with Heart Pillows and delivered eight

fully decorated gingerbread houses from our first

Gingerbread Workshop Series to area hospitals and

shelters, which led to an Easter Basket Drive for

the Salvation Army emergency children’s shelter in

Voorburg. Our ongoing work in support of breast

44 GOING DUTCH

cancer initiatives included

an € 800 donation to

Duizend Borsten for

their community fairs,

as well as getting them

started with the Heart

Pillow Project. We held

our second Hearts &

Minds Gala in support

of autism advocacy in

the Netherlands, which

resulted in a € 40,000

donation. Additionally,

we continued with our

annual Helping Handbags

Auction and donated

over € 3,000 to FAWCO

initiatives.

The current Clubhouse

at Johan van

Oldenbarneveltlaan was identified and after negotiations, we took possession of the property

on August 1, 2012. In true AWC style, Members (and several of their family members)

gave up their last month of summer holiday and rallied to bring together our new

Clubhouse. We were blessed with a picture perfect “Indian Summer” day for our Open

House on September 7, which brought many from our Club as well as the community

to our new space. Overseas American Remember asked us to open the Clubhouse for

their annual September 11 Service of Remembrance since they were displaced from ASH.

Community members from all over South Holland were in attendance and it was clear that

they were appreciative of the event.

We continued throughout the 2012-2013 Club year with an endless array of tours and

activities, as well as the always popular Holiday Bazaar. The decision was made to take

a break from the big spring gala and in May, a beach party was held at the Carlton Beach

Club under the overarching theme of “Women Helping Women.”

The Finance Committee did a “deep dive” into the financial stability of the Club in May

2013. Their recommendation to the Board was that after setting aside funds to support

expenses through September, establish a reserve of € 10,000 as a “self-administered insurance”

for the Holiday Bazaar and add a “growth” of 1% to Clubhouse Reserves, we

had a large surplus which should be donated to charities. At our final Board Meeting in

May 2013, we approved € 30,500 of the surplus funds for philanthropic endeavors related

to the “Women Helping Women” overarching theme. After approving donations to some

previously identified beneficiaries, the Board established a Philanthropic Committee to

evaluate beneficiaries nominated by the Membership and bring their recommendations for

the distribution of the remaining €18,828 to the following Board.

Being an all-volunteer organization, none of this would have been possible without

the continued support of our Membership. I feel so fortunate to have served with two

Executive Boards who were dedicated to their jobs and our Club. I feel as if we became

family. We laughed and cried together, and experienced great joys and also great sorrows.

There were disagreements, but just like sisters, we were always there for each other with

both physical and emotional support. That is the heart of AWC The Hague.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 45



Presidency--Becky: Friendly and

Welcoming to American Culture

by Becky Failor (2015-2017)

Who are these “American women” who are Members of AWC The Hague anyway?

I can imagine that 90 years ago, in the earliest days of our Club, there were questions

of inclusion (or exclusion). At first, it was simple. You could be a Member if

you were a woman living in the Netherlands who was an American citizen or married to an

American citizen. Even what appeared to be straightforward could have raised questions:

“But she is married to a Dutch man!”

“She is English, but she married an American.”

“She’s an American citizen, but I don’t think she’s ever been there.”

Each of these women would have been welcome.

The US is a diverse nation. Just as the US has realized that the diversity of our population

enriches our nation, so has our AWC realized that we are a stronger and more vital organization

when “Membership in the Club is open to women of all nations who are friendly and

welcoming to American culture.” Thus, the concept of Associate Members, those who were

not American citizens or married to an American citizen, was added with certain restrictions.

In 2014, the Membership

decided to alter those restrictions

to:

1) Give full voting rights to

Associate Members

2) Expand the maximum

number of Associate

Members from 20% to 40%

3) Allow Associate

Members to serve on the

Board, with the exception

of being President or Vice

President.

46 GOING DUTCH

In 2015, I was elected

President along with a great

group of ladies as Board

Members and we had to turn

those decisions into reality.

The saying “the Devil is

in the details” was so true.

We had to legally change

our Club Constitution and

By-Laws. Our goal was

that those Members who

had been finally given voting

rights would be able to

cast their votes during the

General Meeting in November 2015. We made it happen. I had tears in my eyes when I saw

Members who had been part of the Club for years proudly cast their first vote.

So what does it mean to be “friendly and welcoming to American culture”? While I don’t know

definitively, I know for sure that it includes laughter, adventure, curiosity, empathy and generosity.

Americans have adventurous spirits, so moving to a new country seems exciting to us.

The AWC is a place to share that excitement with others. The Club tours helped me satisfy my

curiosity about this new country. There were always women generously sharing experiences

of where to get the best this or that and answering

the “newbies” questions. I will never forget

the generosity by so many Members when

I broke my leg. The dinners that came every

other day were truly a God-sent gift. And for

90 years conversations around how to make a

Thanksgiving dinner have brought out curiosity,

generosity, empathy, and lots of laughter.

I cannot define in words what it means to be

“friendly and welcoming to American culture,”

but I know the feeling. And I am sure

that for many years to come, women will walk

into our Clubhouse and experience the friendly

welcome of American culture.

Presidency--Mary Ann: Best-Kept

Secret

by Mary Ann Nation (2017-2018)

Sitting in a planning meeting, my newly elected Board and I discussed the growth of

Membership. I remember saying we would increase our Membership by 20%. There

were a few naysayers, yet I knew the strength of the Board and the unique opportunity

we were offering American and non-American alike to join. The AWC of The Hague is one of

the best-kept secrets around. It was our job to let those living in The Hague and the surrounding

communities to see the warmth, friendship and sense of family this Club had to offer. There

are very few clubs that give such a real sense of a community.

When I first arrived in The Hague, I had many

fears and doubts about joining the AWC. I

called a few times, but could not muster the

strength to visit. I longed for a community, yet

wasn’t sure if I would be accepted due to race.

I know you may find it silly to say, but this

was my fear. I was introduced to Jane Choy

by an American. Jane’s invitation to attend a

meeting was just what I needed. Becky Failor

and many of the women I met during my first

visit showed me the community I was longing

to join. I felt accepted and welcomed.

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 47

>> 48



Presidency--Mary Ann (cont.)

Continued from page 47

Jan deVries invited me out for coffee, and

we discussed many of my concerns as a black

American living in the Netherlands.

Becoming a Member gave me a sense of purpose.

I worked on committees to help raise funds for

great causes the AWC supported such as breast

cancer and women’s shelters. As the Club’s

Outreach Coordinator, we established new relationships

with businesses such as a local wine

shop who supplied wines for our events for a low

cost and organizations we met at our Friendraiser

event who would help the Club further our mission. I was able to share my ideas and grow not

only as a person, but as a contributing Member of the AWC.

When the time came to do my part for this fantastic Club, I was excited to make a difference as

President. Dena Haggerty, my VP, the entire Board and Committee Chairs all got behind the

new Membership campaign, marketing plan and programming. “Thirsty Thursday” became

a hit event, allowing prospective Members to meet Club Members in a relaxed environment,

while also allowing us to explore The Hague and build partnerships in the community.

The Board, Committee Chairs and I all worked hard to ensure our Club was a secret no

more. I am happy to say Membership grew by 33% that year with new Member demographics

changed and diversified by age.

It was an honor to serve as President and welcome many new Members to the Club. My wish

is for future Americans to feel the same warmth and acceptance I felt as a Member.

Thank you, AWC of The Hague, for the opportunity to be your President.

Presidency--Suzanne: Full Slates

and A Full Plate of Projects

by Suzanne MacNeil (2018-2020)

Luck was with me as I had a full Slate of Officers and

most Committee Chairs in place through most of my one

and a half years as President. We were a team of smart,

savvy, and supportive women who helped manage the needs

of the Club as we faced the challenges that were sure to come

our way. They gave me confidence that we could accomplish

goals and leave the Club better when we left office as we

moved into the new decade and towards our 90th anniversary.

The first challenge our Board faced was waiting for us at

our first meeting: the General Data Protection Regulation

(GDPR). Instituted by the European Union (EU), GDPR

regulates data protection and privacy in the EU and oversees

the collection and transfer of personal data, and we had to ensure

we complied. Our Club collects your information when

you join. After numerous discussions with legal experts, we

created a form for all Members to sign, allowing them to

opt in or out of using their likeness and other information in social media or collateral outreach

material. If you haven’t signed the form yet, please go to the website and click on the

Become a Member tab.

Once the GDPR issue was resolved, we created a three-to-five-year plan. Part of the plan was

to update many of our systems, starting with ridding the Club of the unreliable GroupSpaces

web platform, thanks to our Club’s Webmaster, Julie Otten. We then migrated to Wild

Apricot, the same platform used by many other AWCs and FAWCO. Although the change

presented a learning curve for Members as the Club’s online calendar and activity

>> 50

48 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 49



Presidency--Suzanne (cont.)

Continued from page 49

sign-up system were different, it was a decision that will sustain our online needs for the

foreseeable future.

Looking ahead we knew our Clubhouse lease would be up for renewal in a few years and

we were determined to understand the rental market in The Hague and fair market value of

other properties to ensure we were getting the best bang for our money. In order to go into

negotiations with the leasing agent from a position of strength, Clubhouse Administrator

Jan Essad and Member-at-Large Sunita Menon formed a committee that thoroughly

researched area rental properties and the cost of moving versus remaining at the current

location. The final recommendation to the Board was that the Club remain at Johan van

Oldenbarneveltlaan. Jan and Sunita also worked with our leasing agent to cover the cost of

some facelift projects and oversaw a renovation of the Clubhouse, making it more inviting

and gezellig.

Treasurer Sheyla Karman oversaw the upgrading of our accounting systems. We developed,

with a great deal of help from Club and Community Development Cfficer Naya

Pesoa the Community Services Grant Application for financial or in-kind support requests

from nonprofits or individuals. And, one of the best Board activities was a joint meeting

with the AWC Amsterdam Board. We shared best practices, discussed challenges and resolutions

to those challenges, and came away confident we were on the right track for our

Club’s Members and future.

I was incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing women who served with me while I

was President. If the opportunity arises, I encourage you to consider serving on the Board or

a committee as you will not only form strong bonds with the women you work with, you’ll

also be part of the legacy of our AWC.

Presidency--Melissa: Pondering My

Presidency During the Pandemic

by Melissa Rider (2020)

My best memory and my biggest challenge being

President of AWC The Hague from January to June

2020 are one and the same. With the COVID-19 pandemic

gripping the world and most countries under lockdown

beginning mid-March, my most pressing concern was how to

keep the tradition of the AWC Board of Officers Installation

Ceremony alive. With community gatherings banned in the

Netherlands, computer technology came to the rescue. The AWC

was still able to function socially through Zoom video conference

call meetings until restrictions began easing in June and July. It

certainly saved the day for our Installation Ceremony in May.

While not quite the lovely ceremony it would have been at the US Ambassador’s residence,

I was proud of my PowerPoint presentation titled, “Passing the Gavel-Installation

Ceremony” where stick figures of the Board Members came alive in the vein of storybook

character Flat Stanley. I hopefully succeeded in making it a whimsical story of the outgoing

and incoming Board Members rather than a farcical one, thus upholding the solemnity

of this tradition. As a bonus, my stage fright nerves did not come out when speaking to the

AWC Membership via the shared computer screen video conference call. It was more than

likely a far better performance than one done by me in person!

I sincerely hope that the Board of Officers Installation Ceremony in May 2021 will not be

another virtual one, but will once again have all of the pomp and circumstance that this

grand occasion deserves, including real people and flowers.

50 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 51



Classifieds

Index of Advertisers

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The AWC is not responsible

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occurring at Club activities

or on Club property. Sports

and exercise instructors

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ACCESS

page 30

Aveda Lifestyle

Salon

Inside Cover

Happy Critters

page 14

Marcel

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page 11

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page 17

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page 15

Your Cleaning

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page 30

Advertising Rates

FRITSTAXI

Airport Service

Inside Back Cover

Petros Eyewear

page 11

Wassalon

Weissenbruch

page 13

Going Dutch is published five times per year from September through May by the American

Women’s Club of The Hague. Our members are a combination of American, Dutch, British and other

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52 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 53



90 Candles

by Mary Adams

Light the candles on the cake

It has taken 90 years to bake!

The recipe is a sisterhood blend

Rich with experiences from our friends.

It has the spice of homemade chili stews

Seasoned with our yearly dues.

It has the sweetness of arts and crafts

Sprinkled on top with quilts and laughs.

It has a foamy filling carefully weighed

From healing heart pillows lovingly made.

The batter was stirred with American pride

Kept in the cupboard next to Dutch vlaai.

The taste of charity will melt on your tongue

With years of galas and grants so nicely done.

Take off your apron and shake off the flour

Celebrate what this Club can empower.

Strike this match and the flame will last.

Look to the future but remember the past.

Light the candles on the cake

It has taken 90 years to bake!

54 GOING DUTCH

NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2020 55



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