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Farwell to Ben Christiaanse. our chairman, mentor & friend

It is with great regret and sorrow that we inform you about the passing of our long-time board member, chairman, friend and mentor Ben Christiaanse. We would like to take this opportunity to express our condolences to Margreet and the rest of his family and thank Ben for all his support. 

Ben’s over 40 years of banking experience in Europe and Africa was a great asset to our organisation, that it came with Ben’s warmth and kindness was at least as important. 

Our first encounter with Ben was back in 2008. As a CEO of the National Microfinance Bank in Tanzania, he extended a helping hand for the founding of a modest museum at Mtoni Palace in Zanzibar. From that moment onwards he never shied away from giving us advice. This advice took a structural turn when - in collaboration with Stadsherstel Amsterdam - we got involved in the explorations for the start of a real estate company for monumental properties in Zanzibar. Thanks to his input a group of local investors stepped into this venture that became Hifadhi Zanzibar Ltd. Hifadhi is currently restoring and managing an Omani palace and is soon to start the refurbishment of Majestic Cinema in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

In 2012 Ben became the obvious choice for AAmatters' chairman, once that seat became vacant. He combined a critical look on the feasibility of our plans, budgets and projects with a warm friendship that became stronger every year. His dedication remained uncontested, also after managerial changes and a growing team. 

Ben will be dearly missed.

Ben Christiaanse in one of the pre-shareholders meetings of Hifadhi, Zanzibar in 2014.


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