5 questions with... Hilde Vautmans
Spaghetti, makeup and Africa.
Hilde Vautmans | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
1. What one item would you save from your house or apartment if it was on fire?
This is probably the hardest question to answer, because I am not really a materialistic person. My family and animals are most precious to me... But I guess a pair of lenses and makeup could be handy.
2. Which of your personal achievements or actions would surprise others?
I have actually always been very adventurous. For example, in my twenties, I backpacked through India during the summer. If I look back on it now, it was quite a crazy trip: no cell phones, hardly any money, no clue when we would go home... I also climbed the Volcano El Teide in Spain and I once went paragliding.
3. Who is the person you have worked with during your carer who has inspired you the most? How?
At the start of my political career, I was involved in the Rwanda inquiry in the Belgian Senate as political advisor. There I met Guy Verhofstadt - I always found his determination, drive and political rhetoric truly inspiring. Verhofstadt's way of negotiating also showed me how important it is to build bridges. Today I still admire him for his fire and love for Europe. It's true what they say, "When Guy speaks, Europe listens."
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
I love cooking (spaghetti) and discovering Africa, but I truly relax when I am horseback riding.
5. What was the most inspiring and influential book you have read and why?
Definitely 'The Kite Runner', by Khaled Hosseini. A tragic, but beautiful story: how terrible situations sometimes might have been. I finished reading the book with a sense of hope. It carries a message of hope for the future.