Tributes for late “tulip” diplomat

Dutch ambassador Peter Kok is pictured at his leaving party in Luxembourg in 2017 Dutch Club Luxembourg

Dutch ambassador Peter Kok is pictured at his leaving party in Luxembourg in 2017 Dutch Club Luxembourg

Ambassador Kok served in Luxembourg from 2012 to 2017 where, according to a statement from the Dutch embassy he “accomplished a lot with his team organising many events and reaching out to not only the Dutch and Luxembourgish community, but also to the international community as a whole to enhance and extend good relations in politics, business, culture.”

Most will, however, remember him for his character, which enabled him to make lasting connections and friendships. “His sense of humour and quick wit were some of his great qualities, which formed an important tool for him in his diplomatic goals. Peter Kok was a source of inspiration for those who were in need and always wanted to connect and reach out to them,” the embassy wrote.

During his five-year posting, ambassador Kok and his wife, Terry, lived at the “Bricherhaff” in Kirchberg, the former home of EU founder Jean Monnet. The embassy explained that ambassador Kok transformed its gardens into a miniature version of the ‘Keukenhof’ gardens in the Netherlands, planting hundreds of flower bulbs in the autumn. “He was a true connoisseur of one of the Netherlands’ biggest export products,” the embassy wrote.

Always there for the Dutch community

Ambassador Peter Kok received masters degrees in both philosophy and European law. Prior working as an ambassador in Luxembourg and Dublin he served, among other things, at the transport ministry in The Hague and at the Dutch Permanent Representation in Brussels.

“Who could have thought that little over a year after having said our goodbyes saying goodbye suddenly got another meaning,” Nienke ter Avest of the Dutch Club Luxembourg told Delano. She described the ambassador as a “beautiful people person” who “built bridges, connected wherever and whenever he could”.

“He became the Pater Familias of our community and considered his beautiful residence in Weimershof the clubhouse for the Dutch to which he just held the keys. Peter was a true remarkable and unique person with many passions, whether it being his love for music, photography, literature, poetry, flowers and nature one way or the other he shared it with you and made you part of it,” ter Avest said, adding: “Any club, committee or individual found a listening ear, always there for us, all the way to showing up in the middle of the night at the Coque during the Relais pour la Vie weekend to give his support, and prior to that he would run the opening round of the Relais in orange socks, no shoes. Yes, that is Peter.”

Irrepressible sense of fun

UK ambassador to Luxembourg John Marshall told Delano he will remember Kok as a “wonderfully warm and welcoming colleague”, who had a “slightly wicked sense of humour and an irrepressible sense of fun”.

Marshall continued: “But he was also a brilliant, perceptive and engaged diplomat, hugely respected by people of all walks of life in Luxembourg. I will remember him fondly for all these things, but also for his witty verse and his unrivalled “tulip diplomacy”. We’ll miss him.”

Ambassador Kok leaves a wife, Terry, and three children.

The date and location of the funeral were not known at the time of publishing.