This week we received the sad news that Peter Capel passed away. Our thoughts are first and foremost with his surviving relatives: Ben Baks with whom Peter shared joys and sorrows for 43 years, and his twin sister Gerda. We wish them a lot of strength in this loss.
Peter has left his mark in the history of the LGBTIQ+ movement in The Hague. Particularly in the period between the end of the 70s and the end of the 90s, Peter worked as a volunteer and director of the then NVIH COC department in The Hague and the Stichting Trefcentrum HIG-COC. It was a period in which the organization moved with a large number of volunteers (about 150 at the time) and 6 professionals from a building on the Stationsweg (Feniks), via a short period on the Prinsegracht (next to the Paard van Troje), to the current building at Scheveningseveer 7, baptized BASTA through a competition. We now know the building as COC Café.
At the time, the organization was complex, with an active youth group, HIG, in addition to the The Hague section of the COC, and an even more active COC Women's Group. All those groups had their own wishes about how the new building should be used. With his unique personality, Peter was the right person in the right place. Socially and diplomatically as he put together, he managed to steer everything in the right direction, with respect and understanding for the interests and sensitivities of the various parties, without avoiding a strong exchange of words. But also by using his humor and perspective at the right time.
When tempers in the organization had risen again, Peter was asked to come back as chairman to get things back on track. He succeeded and it is therefore right that the large hall on the second floor of the COC building has been given his name as a tribute.
Peter had an extensive network in The Hague society: in politics, contacts at the city hall, the commercial gay bars, ADO Den Haag and the trade union. Peter considered these contacts important and enjoyed maintaining them. It is our belief that without Peter Capel the LGBTIQ+ movement in The Hague would have looked very different at the moment and we will always be grateful to Peter for that.