Toespraak GA Amsterdam
Dear fellow Volters, dear friends,
Welcome to KIT Royal Tropical Institute,
A mind-blowing historical place that is an independent centre of expertise, education and sustainable development.
A place where different cultures meet.
A place that was so fond of the idea of Volt they decided to host us for free.
A place we can call home for the next two days.
Welcome to Amsterdam, a city build in a swamp on tens of thousands of wooden poles.
A city that has over 200 nationalities living in it.
Welcome to the city where you can be whoever you want to be.
A city that has had religious freedom in the past 400 years, the city of tolerance.
Welcome to the Netherlands
A country that has more bicycles than people.
A country that lies below sea level
“O my, will we be in trouble if climate change makes the sea levels rise “
And the first country to legalize gay marriage.
Welcome to Europe. a continent where collaboration transcends borders.
Last but not least, welcome to the General Assembly
The assembly where we will:
- Create the first transnational party
- Where we will present the first transnational campaign document
- Where we will start our campaign for the next six months
Thank you for travelling from all corners of Europe to this corner of Europe
Thank you for being part of Volt. Because it is your effort, time and energy that makes this collaboration work.
Thank you for Empowering Europe.
I am Reinier. I live in Amsterdam, i am Dutch and i am European.
Time is the most precious thing we have in live and I am putting all my time in Volt,
because I believe that we need further collaboration on our continent to find effective
solutions for the challenges we face.
I’m country lead of Volt Netherlands and very happy that I can welcome you on
behalf of the entire Dutch team.
We would like to express our gratitude for all the people that made this General
Assembly possible: thank you.
I am a fan of History: it shows how the present is shaped and helps to envision how
we can shape the future. Volt is our change to shape the future.
Take yourself back to the 23 of June 2016 and the Brexit vote had just come out.
At that point in time three people came together and decided to act.
Two years later we are the first transnational party.
15.000 people in Europe. That is the amount of people in this room times 30.
Friends have called me the World worst painter, but I’m going to try and paint a
picture with words.
So everybody, please close your eyes.
Imagine yourself seven years from now.
It is 2024. How old are you?
It is election night. You are at a Volt event.
There are thousands? of Volters.
The people you started Volt with 7 years ago surround you.
You’ve gotten to know them well. Who do you see?
Your loved one, a close friend or relative, is with you and asks: what achievement
are you most proud of?
That you have started a green revolution?
That you have fixed the EU?
Or that you invested your time into making this happen?
Who do you see around you? Who do you see cheering? Cheering for the good
When you open your eyes I want you to hold on to that feeling and look around.
Open your eyes. Look around you.
These are the people that you are sharing the adventure with.
Wauw, that feels good. I can honestly feel it.
I would like to tell you about my journey so far.
It was Saturday the 9th of December when I went to my first Volt event. Slightly
cynical about the project I was going to hear about, but it had my curiosity. At the
time, it was still called Vox. After hearing Andrea, Luit and Alessandro talk, I changed
my mind and decided to become active on the spot.
I went from cynical to critical, but became active. In the 11 months that followed I have been on a rollercoaster ride like I have never been before.
But… it is worth it.
From feeling confident to feeling anxious. From feeling worried to feeling certain.
From feeling brave to feeling scared. Never have I been outside of my comfort zone
this much, ever.
Combining my challenging corporate job with trying to get Volt in the Netherlands to
the next level got me on the edge of breaking down. Both mentally and physically.
To the point where I would sleep less, have a constant slight headache and memory
loss. At some point my boss asked me: ‘Reinier, what where the details of the
contract you signed with that supplier last week?’ And I had not forgotten the details
of that contract, but I forgot that I had spoken to that supplier entirely.
I decided my lifestyle needed radical change. I took a mental coach. I decided to go
outside during breaks. I decide to sport three times a week. I decided to always get
at least 7 hours of sleep. I decided to take a holiday.
It was only during a period of rest that I had the guts to tell my colleagues: I am
leaving this company to volunteer full time for Volt. To work on a shared dream of
more collaboration in Europe. I went from critical to hopeful.
But still today I worry. I worry that my focus is to much internal instead of external. If I
focus to much on internal processes we might end up with a good functioning
organization that nobody knows. I know I have made and will make mistakes. But I
have learned to be mild in my judgement towards myself and mild in my judgement
towards others, because that is essential for effective collaboration. And, in general,
a more pleasant state of mind.
Recently I went from hopeful to confident. And that was because of Laurens. I only
dared to go full time, because we decided to do it together. Working with him the
past month has been a lot of fun. His great vision on life, clear reasoning and
profound interest in people make him a joy to work with.
Now I have confidence. Confidence and trust in the people that inspired the
leadership in me. And I have confidence in the five people that are working full time
I stand her proud, proud of what we have achieved.
And I have faith in what we will achieve. I have faith in each and every one of you.
I believe we will have a fantastic weekend.
I believe we can change Europe.
I believe in Volt.