Kasteel Marquette 1 Kasteel Marquette 2 Jeroo at Kasteel Marquette Princess Maxima kicks off Partial view of mobile home park from conference room window Child finance visuals Sunset Unusual windbreak, made of 45s, LPs and CDs Trainers in Haarlem Audrey (Tan) and Min Xuan (Lee) Yellow car 1 (Tintin and Captain Haddock) Yellow car 2 Statue of L.J. Coster, inventor of movable type Roofline The most basic form of art known to humanity Self-portrait
Arrived at Schiphol on Sunday afternoon – and took the train across to Zandvoort. Drizzling when I arrived – and that later turned to rain, which persisted for much of the time I was there. Was taking part in the first international meeting of what is billed as the ‘ChildFinance‘ movement, though there are still some different views on what the name should be. That first evening centred around a dinner at the Kasteel Marquette, which was romantically surrounded in low mist, with a heron soaring past my head as we came out later into a surprisingly light evening.
Zandvoort made my heart sink a little as I walked through it to the hotel. Afterwards, Pamela Hartigan would send me an email suggesting the town should be levelled, though that’s exactly what the German did in WWII to the original fishing village. They burrowed into the surrounding dunes (much of which is now a national park) to create a network of bunkers and launch platforms for their V1 rockets, something I noted in my introductory speech, expressing the hope that we would launch something a little more constructive. I helped launch a report Volans helped Aflatoun put together for the event, The Word on the Street: Views on Finance for Children and Youth.
Spent a fair amount of second day in my room, doing a range of work for Volans. But in the sessions that I did take part in there were many pointers for a new project we are starting on behaviour change. Some wonderful dinners during the event, with some fascinating people, including a very nice walk around Haarlem in light rain with Audrey Tan of Project Moolah, based in Singapore. She and her colleague Min took me through what they are doing on the last morning – very exciting.
Proud to be part of all this, not least because if we can encourage children and young people generally to be more financially literate, the chances are that we will also be teaching them to trade off today’s immediate interests for tomorrow’s priorities, which could help build a larger constituency for sustainability.
Lowest moment was in Haarlem, when I was encouraged not to waste a bottle of mineral water left over after a dinner at a very nice Greek restaurant. So put it in my bag, where somehow it cracked, and flooded everything – including my much-loved Leica D-Lux 3. It died. Despite my best efforts later on with a hairdryer, it showed only fitful signs of life. But, having taken out the (sodden) battery and memory stick and left them to air, a couple of days we finally achieved a resurrection moment, with pretty much full function restored by the time I arrived in Athens,