F.W. de Klerk

In 2013, F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa (1989-1994), delivered the 12th Europe Lecture. The theme of this lecture was 'Europe in the World' i. Additionally, professor Karel van Wolferen i gave his view on the position of Europe in the World. They were introduced by Bernard Bot i.



F.W. de Klerk

F. W. de Klerk

Frederik Willem de Klerk (1936) was president of South Africa from 1989 to 1994. During his presidency the system of apartheid was dismantled. F.W. de Klerk led, in close cooperation with Nelson Mandela, the transition towards the first truly democratic elections held in South Africa in 1994. For their efforts they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

After retiring from active politics in 1996 F.W. de Klerk is still active in promoting peace, democratic values and sound leadership.



I wish to speak to you tonight about Africa's perception of Europe. I would also like to discuss Europe's search for greater internal integration on the one hand and its wish to play a more coherent role in the international community on the other.

First I wish to talk about my own relationship with Europe as the descendant of one of the many peoples throughout the world that trace their roots to your continent. My ancestors were Huguenots from France who came to South Africa via Holland in 1688. My language, Afrikaans, has its roots in the Dutch, Flemish and German spoken by the employees of the Dutch East India Company and by the first settlers in the Cape.

It also draws richness from the Malay language that was brought to the Cape by slaves from the East Indies. My religion derives from the Dutch Reformed Testament of Dordt in 1619. My culture, like the cultures of so many peoples throughout the world, is suffused with the unparalleled literature, art and music of Europe.