What is your background?
A lawyer by training, I worked for the Ministry of Justice in the Netherlands, predominantly in the areas of law enforcement and forensic psychiatry, and was seconded to the European Commission and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, before I joined the Council of Europe in 2005. I like hands-on jobs, and remember with great fondness working as an assistant psychiatric nurse in a large Psychiatric Hospital, my first job after university graduation and military service. When, in 2005, I was asked to join the secretariat of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), a Council of Europe Monitoring body, it was an easy decision.
What do you do at the Council of Europe?
Since 2011, I have managed the Council's Office in Tirana, which includes a joint responsibility for the projects the Council runs in Albania. I should add that I also represent the Council of Europe's Secretary General in Albania.
What do you like about your job?
"Hands-on" describes perfectly the work I do here in Tirana; every day is different and frequently plans have to change. For me this isn't a problem; it is one of the attractive features of the job, alongside a wide mandate to take initiative, uncommon in an international organisation, and easy access to decision makers in the country.
As an office we are small in comparison to our colleagues from other international organisations, but thanks to the status of the Council of Europe, including the European Court of Human Rights, we are significant; moreover, we are growing.