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AFS Netherlands has a turbulent history with many ups and some downs.
At the moment, we have the feeling that a new spring has started. We have a new and ambitious staff. We are moving the office to a better place, a nicer office, more central in the Netherlands and better accessible by public transport: It will now only be a 10 minute walk away from the train station!
Our goal for the next 5 years is to get AFS Netherlands back on the map again, grow as an organisation in quantity and quality to make sure that we have a bright future. We want to experiment with new programs and to be innovative.
Beginning of April, we had our first Volunteer Weekend in at least 15 years (AFS Netherlands used to have an annual volunteer day for the past 15 years). Volunteers were invited to come together, participate in 9 different workshops, and celebrate, since this year is the 70th anniversary of AFS Netherlands.
Nobody seems to exactly know the founding date of AFS NED, but because of when the 25th, 50th and 60th anniversary were celebrated, we do know this really is the 70th year of our organisation. Together with our volunteers we celebrated our birthday with a nice party during the Volunteer Weekend. Almost half of our active volunteers were present at the event, and the other half surely was sad to have missed it…
Our almost 70 years old staff member opened the evening with a great swing, dancing to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. After this spontaneous and spectacular start, the floor was full for the rest of the evening, and our volunteers, staff and board members of all ages danced the night away and enjoyed the 70-year celebrations.
On 24 November we will have a more formal celebrating of the AFS Netherlands anniversary. This conference will take place in the World Trade Centre in Rotterdam. Rotterdam is the place where the AFS adventures all started for our country. Each year, hundreds of exchange students embarked on ships that brought them from Rotterdam to the USA for their first AFS experiences.
Back at our roots, where it all started, we will be commemorating all the past accomplishments of AFS Netherlands, as well as thinking about the way to our next 70 years: we are ready to bring AFS to the next level…!
Text by Vlady Kasperaitis, AFS Netherlands National Director
Photos by AFS Netherlands