We are so lucky to be able to publish this unique photo from the private collection of Mr Jan H. Mans. It was taken in May 1985 during the first and only visit of Pope John Paul II in the Netherlands at the Maastricht-Aachen-Airport. Mr Jan Mans was at this moment a mayor of Meerssen and he supervised the Emergency Center during the visit of the Pope.
Mr Jan Mans has learnt for this occasion a Polish sentence to welcome the Pope in the Netherlands. He cannot recall any more what the sentence was. However you can judge from the photo and the body language of the Pope that the sentence was the perfect one and that the Pope loved it and responded to Mr Mans…in Polish.
What the Pope said at this moment would remain secret since nobody understood it!
At the same time this unique photo is a glimpse into the past which will always stay with us, showing the unlimited energy and bonding between people regardless of any borders.
Mr. Jan Mans is a well-known Dutch Politician, member of the Labour Party ( PvdA). He is an advisor of our Central and Eastern Europe Center.
He has been for more than 30 years a mayor in eight Dutch Municipalities and Cities: Meerssen, Kerkrade, Enschede, Zaanstad, Venlo, Maastricht, Moerdijk and Gouda.
He was and is also active in several European Organisations such as President of the Dutch section of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions; President of the Dutch delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe; Member of the Presidency of the Standing Committee Euro Mediterranean Partnership of Local and Regional Authorities, President of the Chamber of Commerce in the province Limburg, President of the Maastricht Institute for Central and Eastern Europe and Victim Support Netherlands.
Jan Mans has been also a founder of Governmental Crisis Management Network ( Bestuurlijk Netwerk Crisisbeheersing), which in 2007 was transformed into Dutch Society of Mayors (Nederlands Genootschap van Burgemeesters) .
Mr. Jan Mans studied Sociology at Radboud University in Nijmegen.
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