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Oranjestad, Aruba – September 26, 2023 — In a heart-warming ceremony held on September 26th, 2023 at the home of Mr. Harold Malmberg, the Government of Aruba and the Dutch Kingdom, bestowed one of its highest honors, namely, “Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau”.

Members of the Malmberg family were present, while Governor Alfonso Boekhoudt and his officers, together with the island’s Prime Minister Evelyna C. Wever-Croes presided over the ceremony, where Mr. Malmberg was honored and celebrated for his remarkable and enduring contributions to Aruba’s tourism sector. Harold Malmberg’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of dedication, perseverance, and a visionary spirit. His unwavering commitment to the island of Aruba has left an indelible mark, shaping the tourism industry into what it is today.

A Visionary from Humble Beginnings
Born to immigrant parents, Harold Malmberg came to Aruba when he was only a toddler and grew up in the modest surroundings of Pos Chiquito and Dakota. Despite facing financial hardship and being unable to complete his high school education, he exemplified the qualities of a lifelong learner, constantly reading, pursuing courses, and learning from others.

As a young man, tragedy struck when he experienced the loss of his beloved mother. Undeterred by this challenging period, he pursued a career in aviation with KLM, where his dedication, determination, and innovative mindset garnered him the admiration of both superiors and colleagues. However, during those times, he encountered a formidable glass ceiling that overshadowed his aspirations. Harold’s career path later led him to the travel department of Maduro & Sons, where once again, he excelled in every aspect. However, attaining a leadership position remained an elusive dream, reserved for Dutch nationals.

The governor of Aruba is bestowing Mr. Harold Malmberg with "Officer in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau"

Governor H.E. Alfonso Boekhoudt awarded Mr. Harold Désire Malmberg the title of “Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau”

A Pioneering Spirit and Sacrifices Made
Opportunity soon knocked when he was presented with the chance to purchase De Palm Tours. Lacking recognition in the world of business, financial institutions denied him access to capital. Undeterred, he turned to loyal friends and some of his long-time customers, who had benefited from his integral service over the years. They confidently embraced his proposal, and with the unwavering support of his wife, they sold their home and car, liquidated all their savings, and embarked on this adventurous journey.

Harold Malmberg’s nomination for the “Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau” is not just a recognition of his achievement as a successful businessman but stands as a tribute to the character of the man himself. He has embodied integrity, hard work, sacrifice, resilience, creativity, and an indomitable spirit throughout his life. At every challenge, he steadfastly refused to accept “no” or “impossible,” finding ingenious solutions to each obstacle. He has embodied the concept of “deferred gratification,” reinvesting earnings at every opportunity to grow his enterprise.

A Benevolent Soul Behind the Scenes
Behind the scenes and in the most unassuming and discreet manner, Harold Malmberg has extended a helping hand to those in need. He facilitated medical treatments for individuals requiring care outside Aruba, provided valuable advice to countless facing challenges and dilemmas, and consistently demonstrated a kind heart, a generous spirit, and acts of compassion between himself and his beloved wife.

He is also the founding visionary behind the Aruba Tourism Sector’s Pension Fund, considering the need for the Tourism Sector’s employees future to be safeguarded by a Pension Fund, decades before this was required by law. He was also a firm believer and supporter of ATA’s privatization.

The Government of Aruba firmly believes that Harold D. Malmberg deserves this distinguished honor, not only for his success as a businessman but for the exceptional character he has consistently displayed throughout his life. He serves as a role model for younger generations, offering them a glimpse into the values and virtues that lead not only to personal success and significance but to the rarer kind—generational success and significance—where the dedication and sacrifices of one individual bestow blessings upon many.

A Legacy of Impact and Inspiration
Harold Malmberg’s legacy extends beyond the boundaries of his business empire. His passion for Aruba’s tourism industry has enriched the island’s visitor experience, bringing countless smiles to tourists from around the world. His pioneering spirit has contributed significantly to a sector that now represents more than 90% of Aruba’s GDP—a sector that was once obscure to the world but now stands as a cornerstone of our nation’s economy.

As Aruba continues to thrive as a top-notch tourism destination, Mr. Malmberg’s vision, dedication, and unwavering commitment serve as a timeless source of inspiration. His life story exemplifies the core values of integrity, hard work, sacrifice, perseverance, creativity, and an absolutely indomitable spirit.

A Beacon of Hope for Future Generations
The Government of Aruba is confident that by recognizing Harold D. Malmberg with the title of “Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau,” younger generations will have the opportunity to learn from the values and virtues demonstrated over time. These qualities not only lead to personal success and significance but represent the rarer form—generational success and significance, as his children, Ricky and Lisette now continue the family’s business endeavors and social contributions, leading the De Palm Group of companies and other charitable institutions.

The entire De Palm Tours family takes immense pride in its pioneer, Harold Malmberg’s honor and achievement and extend our heartfelt congratulations to him and his family. We would like to make use of this opportunity to sincerely thank each and everyone who has contributed to this nomination.

The Government of Aruba is confident that by recognizing Harold D. Malmberg with the title of "Officer in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau,"

“Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau”

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