Kind words, kind postcards,
On the 1st of January I stepped down as head of our Psychiatry Department. 17 years ago, I was privileged to take over from Willem van Tilburg. Willem, Richard and Piet had built up the department and I considered myself the ‘next generation’ then – part of a new era of our department. Buitenamstel and Geestgronden had only just merged and the intention was that we would merge as a new Division of VUmc into an academic centre for Mental Health (together with medical psychology). We were given more resources and were allowed to develop a new focus for research and patient care. There was a lot of attention and space from the hospital for our profession and our patients. A wonderful time with a lot of momentum and pleasure to build our beautiful department together. Many of the ambitions from that time have succeeded. Some things really didn’t succeed either.
We have weathered many storms together: administrative crises, budget cuts, personal problems and we have lost several beloved colleagues through illness. Those who know me know that I almost always enjoy coming to Amsterdam and that this is mainly because of the colleagues and the atmosphere here. For those who don’t know, I’m not retiring yet. For the next two years, I will still ‘simply’ work here, but no longer as head of our department.
With the merger of our two psychiatry departments, we are once again at the beginning of a new era. Handing over is tough on the one hand, because I enjoyed that part of my job. It is also fine and comfortable because there is a very good successor. Next generation! Over the Christmas holidays, I read and reread the postcards you – our beloved colleagues – wrote (more than 60) and listened to the echo of all the things said at the Christmas lunch.
Thank you! Fortunately, no real goodbyes yet, happy to see you soon.