Almost 90 years on, The Hague’s most historic banqueting hall is to host another significant Union event

This October, the 7th President’s Centennial Dinner will be held in the Ridderzaal, Hall of Knights, in The Hague. 86 years ago, members of the Dutch royal family, Her Majesty Emma, mother of Queen Wilhelmina, and His Royal Highness Prince Hendrick attended the opening of the 8th Union World Conference. Tuberculosis (TB) was the number one killer in The Netherlands and the royal family were deeply committed to combatting TB, as Queen Emma had lost her sister to the disease.

Over the last nine decades, much progress has been made in the battle against TB. The President’s Centennial Dinner will commemorate The Union’s achievements in the last century, and will help support its next 100 years of work to combat some of the world’s biggest killers – TB, HIV and tobacco use.

As The Union revisits this historic venue, it is fitting to remember the legacy of Queen Emma, who throughout her lifetime remained a passionate champion of efforts to eradicate TB. Queen Emma donated her private estate, Oranje Nassau Oord, to be used as a sanatorium for TB patients, personally funding its transformation from palace to hospital. She also became Patroness of The Netherlands’ KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, now a long-standing member of The Union.

“It is a rare honour to secure the Ridderzaal – which has national significance, royal connections and a setting at the heart of the Dutch Parliament complex,” said Union President Dr Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa. “I am delighted to welcome supporters from around the world to this beautiful historic venue, thanks to the patronage of the Honourable Minister Bruno Bruins, Minister for Medical Care and Sport, The Netherlands.”

The Ridderzaal was originally built as the banqueting hall for the knights of the royal household in the 1200s. Throughout its long and varied history, it has been used for a variety of purposes – from a court of law, to an exercise room during the Napoleonic era. Since its significant restoration in the 1900s, the Ridderzaal has hosted events of national and international importance, the most significant annual event being the Prinsjesdag when the monarch addresses the nation and announces the government’s policies for the coming year. Find additional images and information on the building here.

Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception and dinner among fellow Union supporters, on the eve of the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health. During the evening, recent achievements of The Union will be marked: development of a new TB treatment regimen, community-level active case-finding for TB and HIV, and new research and tools developed by Union members and teams.

A few seats are still available for the 7th President’s Centennial Dinner. To book, or for more information, please contact centennial@theunion.org

With special thanks to KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation for their support and collaboration in organising this year’s President’s Centennial Dinner.

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