In Memoriam: Peter Kok

It is with great sadness we wish to inform you that our former colleague Peter Kok has unexpectedly passed away last weekend in Dublin where he served as Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

For over fourteen years Peter worked at the  EU Permanent Representation of the Netherlands in Brussels and was closely linked to this city and this Permanent Representation.

He started his career in Brussels in 1991, when he became coordinator for the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management of the EC Presidency. First seconded to the European Commission, he subsequently an attaché of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management to the Dutch Permanent Representation in Brussels.

After seven years in Brussels, with his family still living in Brussels he briefly returned to The Hague, where he worked as Director of International Affairs at V&W. Peter returned to Brussels in 2002 as EU coordinator of Top Appointments to support Dutch officials in their professional ambition to work for the EU institutions. He proved the right person in the right place. The job combined all of Peter's qualities and skills. He knew Brussels, worked in Brussels, lived in Brussels and was, in a way, Brussels.

In 2006 he became deputy permanent representative to the EU. He was a skillful negotiator with a keen eye for Dutch interests, but always willing to explore the space for compromise. With his disarming sense of humour he easily managed to break the ice, to connect and to unite people. This made Peter a pleasant, personable and popular colleague and valuable member of the  Coreper and its social cohesion. Even the darkest nights and longest negotiations wouldn't dent Peter's good spirits and his kind attention for others. He felt at home both in the formal world of the Council and in the political domain of the European Parliament. Authenticity and human interest were the most heard words around him.

Besides the fact that Peter was an absolute top diplomat, he was a mensch with indestructible optimism, witty humour and a permanent joyful expression in his eyes. He combined a deep insight into his loved ones with an exceptionally big heart in which he generously closed everyone. With Peter, kindness and tolerance went hand in hand with strength and integrity. He always gave his all, and he knew exactly where to find happiness in life: that was where he was, and especially with whom he was. That is a lasting inspiration for all of us.

Peter was a human being par excellence who combined everything of value in life. With Peter's death we lose a great colleague and a close friend. Without him, 'Brussels' will no longer be our Brussels. Even though he no longer lived there, he was a frequent visitor.

Our thoughts go out to his wife Terry and his children Ronelle, Peter Jan and Marin.