To Amsterdam for a Conference on Dementia


After the end of splendid Golden Week with beautiful weather, I left for Amsterdam.

This year, the EU Presidency is held by the Netherlands. This conference was hosted by the Netherlands in order to showcase and share the measures taken for dementia by the Dutch. Since being appointed as a member of the World Dementia Council (WDC) , which was formed at the G8 Summit hosted by the UK in 2013, I have participated in many such activities and have written about them on this blog.

Three months ago, at the conference in London, the WDC was reformed to become independent from the UK government and to become a truly global council. I participated in this conference and continue to be a member.

The Chair of this newly reformed council is Yves Joanette and the Vice-Chair is Raj Long. The last time I saw them was at the WDC meeting three months ago. The transition to the new, global Council has been smooth and is making progress, especially due to the enthusiastic efforts and support of the secretariat, temporarily transferred from the UK Department of Health.

The British government regards dementia as one of the most significant problems in the world and raised the issue at the G8 Summit, pouring in roughly 100 million US dollars in funding and raising another 100 million US$ from other relevant organizations. I am always amazed by the dynamism that is an important part of the fabric of British politics and governance, its foreign policy as well as universities and scientific research, in spite of its problems with the EU and national politics.

The last time I visited the Netherlands was last year in June, when I attended the conference at the Hague. In the meantime, I’ve met with the Dutch State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, Martin van Rijn at a seminar held at the Dutch Embassy, during his visit to Tokyo.

The conference venue was the Europe Building. The venue was characteristically Dutch, in the sense that the venue was not particularly flashy but the program content was well thought out and was moderated effectively. The conference kicked off with a speech by Martin van Rijn and the panels were moderated by Member of Parliament, Marijke Vos (donning a red dress in the photograph above). These two days have been very informative.

Japan will host the G7 Summit in Ise-Shima in May and I often get asked many questions about how dementia will be approached in the Summit. There will be many activities by organizations dealing with dementia.

Tulips are currently in full bloom in The Netherlands. I had the chance to visit the nearby National Maritime Museum. It is worth making a visit.

In the afternoon of the second day, the people of DUJAT (Dutch & Japanese Trade Federation) invited me to dinner. It turned out that the Managing Director of DUJAT and a medical doctor who was also as guest at the dinner had mutual friends of me from a long time ago and that the doctor joined my teaching sessions before. It was a very fun dinner.

After my stay of three days and two nights, I returned to Schiphol Airport. I came across this very moving photograph of a whale and people, which won first place in a contest, and I share this image with you here.

My next stop: Oslo.