The quite recent history of Coornhert Model United Nations
COMUN started as an initiative mainly of Coornhert student Jesper Kuppen, after which Saskia Tak, Geert van Gils and Evelien Driesen quickly joined in, who then brought together an Executive Staff from within the Coornhert Gymnasium (or more specifically, its Debating Society).
The students of the Coornhert Gymnasium Debating Society have been visiting many MUN-conferences in the Netherlands and other countries over the past seven years. However, in 2015 they decided that it was time for organizing their own conference. These students wanted to make this conference different from other conferences, and therefore many ideas were conceived. Plans were developed over the year 2015, and that resulted in this unique conference.
The Board of Directors, consisting of teachers of the Coornhert Gymnasium, supervises the Secretariat and the Executive Staff. It is a permanent panel that watches over the quality of the Coornhert Model United Nations conference. With of course Michel Klijmij as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, being our school’s MUN-Director for the past seven years.
The Board of Advisors, consisting of the founders of COMUN, advises the Secretariat on organizational matters. It is a permanent panel as well, and provides useful guidelines for the Secretariat and the Executive staff, based on its experience in organizing the conference. The head of the Board of Advisors is Jesper Kuppen, being the first Secretary-General of COMUN.
Back in the Middle Ages, Gouda became a thriving city due the location where the Hollandsche IJssel and the Gouwe merge. The strategic trading position made Gouda a wealthy city, where the textile industry, beer brewing and eventually cheese trading quickly developed. Several buildings of this prosperous time have been preserved in the historic city center, such as the Sint-Janschurch, the longest church of the Netherlands, and the Old Town Hall that was finished in 1459 which is one of the oldest gothic city halls in the Netherlands. The Old Town Hall is famous around the world and draws a lot of tourists to Gouda every year.
Apart from the historical heritage Gouda is also well known for its syrup waffles, candle making, Gouda faience, pipes and the annual Candle Evening. This is an event on which the candles in the enormous Christmas tree in front of the City Hall are lit, as well as thousands of candles in the surrounding houses. But most of all is Gouda known for its cheese, known as Gouda cheese or just Gouda all over the world. However, syrup waffles are gaining terrain on global popularity. Which we can understand.
Gouda has been the home of many memorable people, who were born or were moved to the city, such as Desiderius Erasmus, who moved from Rotterdam to Gouda where he studied at the parish school, the forrunner of the Latin school of Gouda and the Coornhert Gymnasium after that. Erasmus was known as a great humanist. He pleaded for freedom of religion, science, ideas and for people to think for themselves. Also Dirck Volkertszoon Coornhert, after which our school, Coornhert Gymnasium, is named, lived in Gouda. He also was a famous humanist and renaissance thinker. He is buried in the Sint-Janschurch. Moreover born in Gouda were the brothers Cornelis and Frederik de Houtman who where the first Dutch men to sail to the Indies.
COMUN is hosted at the ‘Huis van de Stad’ (literally translated: House of the City), the new town hall of Gouda. The construction of the Huis van de Stad was finished in 2012, and carries the nickname ‘The Syrup Waffle’, due to its appearance. In the building are various municipal departments located. The city council meetings and working spaces for the members of this council are housed in the Huis van de Stad.
The Huis van de Stad is the most perfect venue for such an international event, with the City Council Hall functioning as the Security Council and the plenary sessions’ venue. It is located right next to our central station and our ‘Cheese’ cinema (Gouda seems to like its local products). The conference is therefore very easy accessible. When inside on the 11th of February, you’ll get a warm Gouda welcome, involving coffee, tea and of course; syrup waffles.
Conference venue address:
Huis van de Stad
Burgemeester Jamesplein 1
2803 PG Gouda