Ambassador Henne Schuwer decorated Conny Willems with the Order of Orange-Nassau on the basis of her longtime work as honorary consul in New Orleans.

Constance “Conny” Willems has stepped down as the Netherlands’ honorary consul in New Orleans after 28 years of service.

“Conny has been doing an incredible job representing the Netherlands, not only in Louisiana, but also in Mississippi and Alabama for 28 years,” Ambassador Henne Schuwer said during her farewell reception in New Orleans Monday night. “Besides her regular voluntary duties, she went above and beyond to support Dutch businesses in her jurisdiction in any way possible, introducing them to relevant contacts, organizing events at the World Trade Center New Orleans together with the Netherlands Consulate in Miami, but also assisting companies when tough challenges came on their path.”

Willems is a partner in the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford, and has more than 30 years of litigation experience, practicing before federal and state courts, Public Service Commissions, and other state and federal administrative agencies.

To honor her service, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander awarded Ms. Willems the honor of Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau on the basis of her special, personal merits to society.

The Order of Orange-Nassau is a civil and military Dutch order of chivalry founded on April 4, 1892, by the Queen regent Emma, acting on behalf of her underage daughter, Queen Wilhelmina.

The Order is a chivalric order open to “everyone who has earned special merits to society.” These are people who deserve appreciation and recognition from society for the special way in which they have carried out their activities.

The first consular representative in New Orleans was appointed in 1815, a dozen years after Thomas Jefferson asked Dutch bankers to help finance the Louisiana Purchase. It is the oldest diplomatic post in Louisiana to be opened and staffed continuously.

Deirdre McGlinchey, also of the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford, is the new honorary consul for the Kingdom of the Netherlands.