Atlanta’s first ever Dutch consul general will leave next year after a three-year stint here to take up a new posting as the Netherlands’ ambassador to New Zealand.
Ard Van der Vorst, who arrived in 2019 to open the new Dutch consulate, still has the first half of 2022 extend his impact on the Southeast U.S., but he announced in a LinkedIn post that he would head to Wellington in the middle of next year to succeed Mira Woldberg, the current Dutch ambassador to New Zealand and the Pacific island nations of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, the Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu and the Cooke Islands.
His first ambassadorial appointment comes 25 years after Mr. Van der Vorst joined the Dutch diplomatic corps. He thanked his family for support over the years leading up to this milestone:
“A special thank you to my dear husband Pieter Lewis, my lovely parents, best family ever, fabulous friends and awesome colleagues for their continuous support. They remind me that when you believe in yourself anything is possible,” Mr. Van der Vorst wrote.
Before coming to Atlanta, the consul general headed up communications for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He arrived focused on using that background to advance dialogue with Georgia, not only on deepening economic ties, but changing how companies think about diversity. Coincidentally, his time here intersected with a period of racial and social turbulence in the U.S. and a pandemic, all of which created new dialogues around the need to rethink inclusion.
Mr. Van der Vorst has also been a steadfast promoter of cycling, water technology and other Dutch innovation and design strengths; he recently presided over the opening of the consulate’s permanent office in Midtown, having added passport renewals to its repertoire by popular demand despite the fact that this was not the original plan for what was to be a business- and trade-focused outpost.
On Nov. 16, also known as Dutch-American Heritage Day, the consulate served as the venue for the launch of a new Atlanta chapter of the Netherlands-American Foundation. (That development will be covered in a forthcoming story.)
The Dutch foreign ministry stressed that the 13 ambassadorial appointments it announced Dec. 17 were pending approval by the host governments. Learn more here (link in Dutch.)