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René Paas

King’s Commissioner in the province of Groningen
René Paas

Graduated in 1991

Specialization: Administrative law, law and public administration

Final-year supervisors: Vucsan and Coolsma

Academia, business, association and government

My career is characterized by a lot of variety. I’ve worked in academia, in the business world, with associations and in the government. After studying in Groningen, I started as a temporary research officer with the then department of Economics and Public Finances (under Prof. Nentjes) at the Faculty of Law. Following that academic experience, I began exploring the government and started as a policy officer with the municipality of Roden. I then crossed over to business and worked as a consultant for Bleker and de Koningh and at BDO CampsObers. I was also president of the CNV and Divosa, after which I then returned to government, first as an alderman for Groningen and now as the King’s Commissioner in Groningen.

‘Figurehead of the most beautiful province in the country’

What has always motivated me in my work is wanting to do something meaningful for society. For example, I really enjoy being on the boards of relevant organizations. It is fantastic being the figurehead of the most beautiful province in the country. What energizes me most is when things noticeably improve as a result of my efforts. And it sounds like a cliché, but I think it’s important that people who depend on us get proper help – work, proper care, safety and prospects. And, of course, there are also challenges. I think the biggest challenges in my present job are unemployment, the impact of gas extraction and the quality of the public administration in the province of Groningen.

‘Rich student years’

I have always been interested in society and public administration. Years ago, that was my motivation for choosing a degree programme in Administrative Law. My time at university was taken up with much more than just my studies. Of course, it’s easy for me to say, because we had more scope than do current students. But I learned just as much from my other activities as from the studies that were my reason for coming to Groningen. To this day, I have lots of contact with former classmates. I now work with some of them. The Province is a very interesting employer for lawyers and administrators. And I sometimes call my other former classmates. But that applies to many people who I got to know during my studies, not just lawyers.

‘Make an early start on something completely different’

I would like to give some very simple advice to school students who are currently having to choose their degree programme and to students who are at a more advanced stage: whatever you do, make the most of it. Be hungry and eager to learn. And make an early start on something completely different. When I look back on my own career, I see that I have greatly benefited from major changes. They help you to learn fast.

Last modified:16 July 2019 2.06 p.m.
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