A Day in the Life of an Ambassador Reinout Vos

Reinout Vos, Ambassador of the Netherlands in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is fascinated by the richness of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the hospitality of its people, but also the immense culture and tradition of the country, which he describes as a ‘thousand years old’. His Embassy’s vast and prolonged interest and engagement in the area of Rule of Law remains among his proudest accomplishments, but his belief in a better tomorrow is a strong driving force for his own and his Embassy’s involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. What does a day in his life look like?

I am not a big fan of driving and I know that walking is not only good for me but also for the environment. That is why I make a point of walking to the office. It is a part of my day that I really like, as my walk takes me from Kovači to Grbavica. I walk through different parts of Sarajevo’s history, I see the city waking up and I get the chance to think about the day ahead.

Once in the office, I make my way around the embassy, and have a morning chat with my staff. We catch up on the news, ongoing work, the weather, and usually we have a little chat about our children and families as well.

My days are mainly filled with meetings, visits and office work. As diplomats, we are in the service of our ministries and government, which means that my efforts are aimed at keeping my colleagues in The Hague adequately informed. So at the office, apart from our internal meetings and activities connected to our involvement in BiH, my time is mostly dedicated to producing reports, briefs and updates for The Hague. My evenings are usually reserved for receptions, dinners or cultural events.

Despite the complex set up of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Vos aims to present the situation to his colleagues in The Hague in an understandable way, which is challenging. However, traveling across the country, meeting new people and being inspired by them are an incentive to deal with the complicated political intricacies.

As we are all aware, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a simple country. There are many issues, a lot of space for progress and the governing system itself is quite a challenge. Explaining in understandable terms the complicated intricacies of Bosnian politics to my colleagues in The Hague is therefore probably the most challenging part of my job.

I look forward to meeting Bosnians, wonderful people with a great sense of humour! That is why I love so much to make field visits and travel through the country. I always return to Sarajevo stunned by the people I have met, their mentality, hospitality and humour. It also shows me that Bosnia and Herzegovina has so much to offer and that people outside of Sarajevo and other larger cities can be a true source of inspiration in my work. Therefore, discovering this beautiful country and its people is something I always look forward to.

Being posted in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2017, Ambassador Vos will always cherish the people and nature of the country the most and advises all future diplomats to keep an open mind and try their best to make the world a better place.

The proudest accomplishment would be our cooperation programme between the Court of Amsterdam and 11 courts in BiH, an effective and practical contribution to the enforcement of the Rule of Law in this country. My embassy and other Dutch embassies in the region put great emphasis on the Rule of Law in their work. We have invested lots of money and resources in this cooperation and we can already see results. I hope we will achieve much more, but I am already proud of what we have done so far, it is a big and important cooperation.

The richness of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s culture and tradition fascinate me. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the country of Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić, of the Sarajevo Film Festival and the Heart of Sarajevo, but also of rich folklore music and dance traditions. At the same time, all over the world, we see genius IT experts, programmers, designers and engineers from BIH, making it to the top of their professions. BIH is rich in many ways, the more I am learning from it, the more it fascinates me.