Finland expresses its gratitude for contributions to equality with a special recognition to COC Nederland

Finland expresses its gratitude for contributions to equality with a special recognition to COC Nederland

Finland places great significance on promoting equality in the world, and wishes to thank those who are working towards this common goal. To express its gratitude, Finland has been presenting special recognition to individuals and groups around the globe who are committed to advancing inclusivity in society. One of the HÄN HONOURS has been given to COC Nederland.

Astrid Oosenbrug, Director of COC Nederland
Astrid Oosenbrug, Director of COC Nederland


Equality is a core value for Finland and its people. To highlight the importance of equality and to show gratitude for the valuable work that is being done to advance equality in society, Finland has been presenting the HÄN HONOURS special recognition to individuals and groups around the world. Finland aims to encourage conversation about equality and promote initiatives for a more inclusive society. 

Hän logo on an orange background and photo of two people hugging

COC Nederland receives the recognition for advocating LGBTI rights since 1946

In The Netherlands, COC received this recognition for advocating the rights of LGBTI people  from 1946 on – being the oldest existing LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual and intersex) organization in the world.

COC strives for the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity and for equal rights, emancipation and social acceptance of LGBTI’s in The Netherlands and all over the world. 

Screenshot from the webinar of Astrid Oostenbrug, Director of COC, Moderator Andrew van Esch and Ambassador Päivi Kaukoranta

The virtual handing of the HONOURS at the webinar on 11 November, 2020 with Astrid Oosenbrug, Director of the COC, Ambassador Päivi Kaukoranta and Moderator of the panel discussion, Andrew van Esch

COC has  for example organized Gender and Sexuality Alliances for high school students in around a 1000 schools nationwide, and supports more than 100 organizations in over 35 countries in their fight against violence and discrimination against LGBTI people.

Ambassador Päivi Kaukoranta with the recognition and a roll up of the Embassy of Finland in the Hague

Ambassador Päivi Kaukoranta with the HÄN HONOURS before it was sent to the COC

COC received the recognition from Päivi Kaukoranta, Ambassador of Finland to The Netherlands, on 11 November 2020 during the webinar “Eurovision Song Contest’s influence to Equal Rights and Gender Image? Finnish and Dutch experiences”.

The HÄN HONOURS was virtually handed to the Director of the COC, Astrid Oosenbrug, who accepted the recognition on behalf of everyone at COC. In her speech, Director Oostenbrug  thanked Finland for the honor: 

Astrid Oostenbrug with the Hän Honours recognition at the webinar

In the almost 75 years COC exists our staff members and volunteers joined forces to create a better world where people are not defined by their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or gender signals.
That’s why this HÄN HONOURS touches me, ”mutual respect and solidarity, along with equal opportunities and decent living standards for all, lead to an inclusive society”. Those words could be come easily speaking from my heart, because this is what I am, what we are, Hän.
Kiitos Suomi!

HÄN HONOURS all around the world

Individuals and groups for example from Ireland, Brazil, Australia, United States, Germany, Belgium, Singapore, Croatia and Japan have been among the other recipients of the recognition. They represent a range of fields, including education, minority rights and gender equality. 

The HÄN recognition forms part of a broader campaign about equality, launched in June 2019 and continuing until the end of this year. With the campaign, Finland aims to bring questions of equality to the fore of the international conversation. 

In addition, In 2017, the year Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary of its independence, Finland launched the first International Gender Equality Prize, IGEP. With it Finland  promotes action around the world in the name of gender equality. 




Further information :

Media contact and interview requests: 
Embassy of Finland, 
tel. + 31 70 346 97 54, 
e-mail: [email protected]