The Unbelievable Stories of a Gentleman Journalist

By Andra Oprea – Editor in Chief in Nice, France

It is the twilight that brings out the mysterious traits of humanity, the city seemed filled with dusty contours. But, among the stim of its beauty, a silhouette depicted from another era, seemed to pave its way on the historic streets of Nice, France. A gentleman in all his features was trying to fit the modern energy of the city. Dressed in a white-beige summery costume matching his hat and perfectly accessorized with the orange tie and handkerchief, the man seemed like having a stop from another decade! Not only his looks, but his witty presence was felt and can’t be missed. It was the look that hide a lot of stories we need to know and share with you. 


The Gentleman Journalist

In the world of journalism, where stories unfold and narratives are woven, there exists a luminary named Helmut Hetzel. An eminent figure in international journalism, Helmut stands as the Honorary President of the European Journalists, a proof of a career that spans continents and has left an indelible mark on the field. Born in Germany, he continued his career in China and, then in Holland, where he has been a foreign correspondent. Helmut Hetzel has received several awards, aming which  the European Price for Journalism from the EU, for his interview with Wim Duisenberg, the first President of the European Central Bank,  the International Communications Award of the Republic of China in Taiwan for his interview with Morris Chang, founder of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company TSMC – and called „The Godfather of semiconductors.“ 

Interview with Morris Chang – the Godfather of Semiconductors


Helmut Hetzel – Interview with Morris Chang, Godfather of Semiconductors and Founder of TSMC, Taiwan


Born with a natural curiosity that transcended borders, Helmut Hetzel embarked on his journalistic journey with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a keen eye for detail. As a freelance correspondent for numerous newspapers worldwide, his words have graced the pages of renowned publications, particularly in Germany Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Holland. He, also, published special reports about Finland, Taiwan and parts of the USA. His ability to capture the essence of diverse cultures, coupled with an unerring journalistic instinct, elevated him to a league of his own.

Helmut’s career, reminiscent of a grand odyssey, extends beyond the confines of traditional reporting. From the early days of covering jour amuse, the lighthearted stories that grace the back pages, to assuming roles as a lecturer and counselor, his trajectory is one of constant evolution. In his role as an educator at the University and investigator and reporter in the journalistic field, he imparted the wisdom garnered from his experiences to aspiring journalists, shaping the future of the profession.


Helmut Hetzel, Foreign Correspondent, The Hague, The Netherlands

One of Helmut’s most remarkable attributes is his unique style – a true embodiment of the term „gentleman journalist.“ Invariably dressed in a white beige costume and a hat that exudes an air of timeless sophistication, he is the epitome of a bygone era, but still is also up to date . His attire, coupled with orange accessories, reflects a note to tradition while embracing the vibrancy of the present. He wants to bring joy and respect to other people. He dresses to compliment the eye, as he said.

It is not only Helmut’s sartorial choices that harken to another time; it is his approach to journalism that transports readers to a different era. With a pen as his quill, he crafts narratives that whisk readers away to distant lands and bygone epochs. His writing and reporting are a mélange of elegance and eloquence, drawing readers into a world where storytelling is an art form. Writer of nine books, he has the bestseller „Women of China“ that made of him an innovator, bringing taboo to an unveiled spectrum, at that time. He seems daring and provocative.



Frauen in China : Erzählungen. - hrsg. u. ins Dt. übertr. von Helmut Hetzel / dtv ; 10532

Frauen in China – Women in China hrsg. u. ins Dt. übertr. von Helmut Hetzel / dtv ; 10532


Congress of the European Journalists Association in Prague 2018

When Helmut talks to Bill Clinton …

Helmut’s illustrious career is punctuated by interviews with major personalities on the global stage. From exclusive conversations with President Bill Clinton to delving into the minds of various political figures, his journalistic acumen has provided readers with insights into the minds that shape our world. His interviews, conducted with a blend of respect, curiosity, and incisiveness, reveal the depth of his commitment to uncovering the truth. He tells the story when he had lunch with ex President? Bill Clinton and when he asked what he thought about Holland. And Bill Clinton answered: „small country but big footprint“. A quote that stuck to his heart.

The highlights in his journalistic career had been the interviews Wim Duisenberg, the first President of the European Central Bank, and with Morris Chang, the founder and CEO of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company TSMC, who  is also called „The Godfather of semiconductors.“

For this interview with Morris Chang he received the „International Communications Award“ of Taiwan, The Republic of China.
From the Republic of Slovakia Helmut Hetzel received the Award of an „United Europe.“

As Helmut Hetzel stands at the zenith of his career, his legacy resonates not only through the words he has penned but in the impact he has had on the journalistic community. The Honorary President of the European Journalists, a role that reflects both esteem and responsibility, encapsulates the culmination of a journey that has spanned decades.

Helmut was also President of the Foreign Press Association in The Netherlands (1990-1998).

In an age where the media landscape is ever-evolving, Helmut Hetzel remains a beacon of journalistic integrity and a paragon of the gentleman journalist. His commitment to the craft, his unique style, and his ability to transcend borders through the power of the written and spoken word are a testament to the enduring power of storytelling in the hands of a true master. He has lived and is still living his dream and continues to do it with the passion and desire to be at a peak of what is he doing with the privilege of being in the right circles. He does it with style and with passion, reporting, analysing, commenting, debating – being part of the public opinion in Europe and in the world.



Helmut Hetzel in China 1983

Meeting with Madelaine Albright in The Hague

Helmut Hetzel – Interview with Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the UN


With the Primeminister of The Netherlands Mark Rutte in The Hague


Helmut Hetzel at the Buitenhof, The Hague, Foto: Marijke Hetzel




/ Textende / Copyright © by HELMUT HETZEL  and ANDRA OPREA/ The Hague/Nice/