Frank Elderson: Beacons of hope to navigate the spring tide of urgency - from Terschelling to Frankfurt to Paris

Keynote speech by Mr Frank Elderson, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank and Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, at the Springtij Forum, Terschelling, 20 September 2023.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
21 September 2023

"From here, if you drive east, or better yet if you cycle east past Hee, Kaart, Baaiduinen, Midsland, Landerum, Formerum, Lies and Hoorn, on after Hoorn you arrive on a road to the end of the world. The end of the world? Not quite. First past that last little village. And then Siberia begins, as Wouter van Dieren wrote in a poem. That last village's name is – fittingly – Oosterend: East end.

I first made that journey forty-five years ago. With my parents and my two sisters. To Oosterend. The second farm on the right. That's where we stopped. That's where we stayed. Summer after summer. And a part of me has stayed there forever. Just a part? No, that's where I became a native of this island: a Terschellinger.


Inside, next to the dining table hung a long poster, in a white glass frame. That poster must have been hanging there for a very long time. Because the colours were already faded and yellowed with age. It showed the protected flowers of Terschelling. Parnassia, the heath spotted-orchid, the marsh helleborine, the lesser butterfly orchid, the round-leaved wintergreen, the blue sea thistle, the beach morning glory, the sundew and the blue marsh gentian."

I spoke these words – these exact words – five years ago almost to the day in the Tonnenloods, just a few hundred metres away from behind this same, solid, timeless, dependable, driftwood lectern.