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Revitalizing Legal Collaboration: Highlights from the EUROJURIS Belgium/Netherlands Annual Meeting in Historic Ghent

Last 17th November marked a significant event in the Eurojuris community calendar: the traditional annual EUROJURIS Belgium/Netherlands meeting, held this year in the enchanting medieval city of Ghent. The Colloquium, which has become a cherished tradition over the past two decades, is a testament to the enduring collaboration and shared legal interests between our Belgian and Dutch colleagues.

Attended by 65 members from all over Belgium and The Netherlands, the event also welcomed Christophe Delahousse, representing Eurojuris France, as well as President Olivier Vibert and Secretary General Diane Tries as representatives of our international network. The meeting, which is organized alternately by Eurojuris Netherlands and Eurojuris Belgium, commenced with an intellectually stimulating academic session. The venue for these engaging discussions was none other than the majestic 'Boekentoren' (Book Tower) in Ghent. The tower had recently been restored to its former glory and houses a vast collection of historical literature, offering a breathtaking panoramic view of Ghent's skyline.

Professor Cedric Vanleenhove from the University of Ghent started the sessions and delved into the intricacies of the new Hague Convention on the cross-border enforcement of judgments, which came into force only recently on 1st September. Sylvia Van Peteghem, former chief librarian at Ghent University in Belgium, told the story of the Booktower, its building and restoring, with interesting footage. Adding to this rich discourse, Legal History Professor Georges Martyn explored the intriguing connections between law and art. 

After the academic pursuits, the attendees enjoyed a guided tour along Ghent's historic streets, culminating in a delightful dinner. The evening was a truly fantastic experience, featuring inspiring speeches and joint singing.

Lotte Vanfraechem, founder of Advocatenkantoor Lex Libris in Ghent, spearheaded the event organization and opened many doors for the participants, such as arranging a visit to the Belvedere of the Book Tower, which is usually not accessible to the public. She says: “It truly was a pleasure to receive Belgian, Dutch and French Eurojuris members in Ghent, and being able to show them my beloved hometown.”

Says Yves Daenen, former Eurojuris International Board Member: "It was a real pleasure to help organizing this joint Colloquium which in fact looks back on a tradition of more than 20 years - and what a treat to visit the beautiful city of Ghent!"

Benoît Timmerman, President of Eurojuris Belgium, adds: "The relationship between Belgium and the Netherlands is a never-ending story, in terms of lawyers, history, economy and art. We were lucky to combine both law and art at our Colloquium: Architect Henry Van de Velde's Book Tower with a belvedere on the 20th floor is a must-see in Ghent, if you can get access to (thank you Lotte!), and at the same time we learned a lot about the 2019 The Hague Judgments Convention."

This joint meeting was once again the Eurojuris way of networking. What a great way to start the weekend after a hard-working week! With anticipation already building, our Belgian and Dutch members eagerly look forward to the next Colloquium in The Netherlands.

Sjoerd Tilman, President of Eurojuris Netherlands, concludes: "Thank you Eurojuris Belgium for organising such a great Colloquium this year! It will be a nice challenge for Eurojuris Netherlands to organise the event next year. But a challenge that we will accept with pleasure!"

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