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Visit to Jersey by the Belgian Ambassador

07 July 2023

The Belgian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr Bruno van der Pluijm, visited Jersey this week, in what was his first diplomatic trip to the Island. 

The Ambassador was accompanied by one official, Mr Martin Duruisseau, Consul at the Belgian Embassy in London, who conducted a mobile consular service for the Belgian community in Jersey during his time on Island.

Whilst on Island, the Ambassador met with a cross-section of Ministers and senior officials, primarily focusing on business; climate and energy; financial services; and the arts. The Ambassador’s visit was also marked by meetings with the Lieutenant-Governor, the Deputy Bailiff, and an official dinner, hosted by the Deputy Bailiff. 

The Ambassador also met the Constable of St Helier, Mr Simon Crowcroft, as well as representatives from Jersey Finance Limited, ArtHouse Jersey and Art for Guernsey. He was also introduced to key figures in the Jersey business community during a business networking event. In addition to these engagements, the Ambassador visited Trinity Manor Farm, where he had a tour of the facilities to understand more about the dairy industry on Island. 

The Belgian Embassy also kindly hosted a reception for outgoing Belgian Honorary Consul, Alan Binnington, and to welcome their new Honorary Consul, Ms Peggy Gielen. This was attended by members of the Belgian community and those with personal connections to Belgium. 

The visit concluded with His Excellency laying a wreath at the Slave Workers’ Memorial at Westmount Cemetery where he had the opportunity to meet the family of Emile Boydens, a former Belgian slave worker who married and settled here. 

Upon the conclusion of his visit, Ambassador van der Pluijm, said: “As I leave this island after two days of rich and rewarding exchanges, I want to thank the authorities once more for an exceptional welcome. Belgium and Jersey are close partners and friends facing similar challenges and opportunities in the wider North Sea Region. We’ll continue the conversation we started yesterday and today in the conviction that we both have a lot to share and to offer. It was an absolute pleasure spending time on the island.” 

The Assistant Minister for External Relations, Deputy Ian Gorst, said: “We enjoyed several productive meetings with Ambassador van der Pluijm, discussing various areas of cooperation between Jersey and Belgium. Our engagements ranged from exploring the dairy industry at Trinity Manor Farm to discussing climate initiatives and cultural exchange through ArtHouse Jersey. 

“I would like to thank the outgoing Honorary Consul Alan Binnington for his hard work and dedication over the years, it was also a pleasure to welcome the new Honorary Consul Ms Peggy Gielen. I look forward to working closely with her in the future.”

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