Meet the new Consul General in Toronto: Harman Idema

This summer, the team at the Consulate General in Toronto welcomed its new Chef de Poste for the upcoming four years, Harman Idema. Harman has already started to learn all about Canada in the few days that he has been here, but let's also ask him some questions to get to know him a bit better!

Welcome in Toronto Harman! Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

It is wonderful to be here! What a vibrant city with such a diverse population! I just finished my posting as ambassador for the Netherlands in Santiago de Chile. My family and I were posted abroad several times, besides Chile also in Uganda, Guatemala and Colombia.

Consul General in Toronto Harman Idema on a bike

This is the first posting for my wife Marissa and I, without our two children, Maya and Noa. They are both studying in the Netherlands. We’ll miss them on this new adventure, but of course they have to go on and have their own!

I love my job, because I get to explore new places, meet new people and get to know their cultures and ideas. I’m curious to learn more about the Canadian provinces and territories we cover out of Toronto: Ontario, Manitoba and Nunavut.

As a diplomat I always look for opportunities to cooperate, to find ways to solve global challenges together and to connect people and organizations from the Netherlands with those in the country I’m stationed in.

Why were you interested in coming to Canada and to Toronto in particular?

My wife is originally from the United States, and we have always kept an eye on a posting in North America. What really convinced me about Toronto is its vigorous and vibrant economic activity, as well as the diversity in its population. And so far we have only been confirmed in what we have heard about Canadians: very friendly people!

My job here focuses on two areas: the connection with the Dutch community, including consular services, and fostering the Dutch-Canadian cooperation, especially promoting trade between our two countries. As you may know, the Netherlands is the second largest investor in Canada. Moreover, our two countries have historically excellent relations and the role of the Canadians in the liberation of our country in the Second World War will never be forgotten.

What are you most looking forward to, both with regards to the work and on a personal note?

I am really looking forward to work in the second largest country in the world, an economic powerhouse. Our two countries are likeminded, for example on climate change, and I hope to strengthen the already strong cooperation between the Netherlands and Canada in this and many other areas.

With regards to our personal life, both my wife and I love to run, go on a bicycle and hike, so we are eager to explore all the trails in and around Toronto. Toronto has so much to offer both in terms of green spaces as well as lively neighborhoods, so we are sure we will come to love this city. Not to mention the tremendous nature Canada has to offer! We’re just a bit tentative about the cold winters, but I’ve been told that good shoes and a good coat go a long way to beat the cold!

Want to know more?

Do you want to learn more about Harman's work and the activities the Consulate General is involved in?  Please follow Harman on Twitter and the Consulate General on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date!