Published On: Mon, Dec 17th, 2012

Successful Kingdom Concert in Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM – Dignitaries and invited guests of all four countries of the Dutch Kingdom enjoyed a marvellous and diverse Kingdom Concert in Rotterdam on Saturday in the presence of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander.

After the welcoming words of the hosts, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb and Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, the guests enjoyed the performances of various artists of the Kingdom.

"We celebrate a very beautiful day. A day where we celebrate the unity of the Kingdom at a moment that unity is displayed by all countries of the Kingdom. The unity of all Dutch people, people with one Dutch passport wherever our roots in the world are. We can be proud of this unity," said Aboutaleb.

The Mayor explained that Rotterdam has the largest Dutch Caribbean community in The Netherlands with some 20,000 people. He said that Rotterdam has good relations with the countries in the Kingdom. He said that, as Chairman of the Group of 22 so-called Antillean Municipalities, he regularly meets with representatives of the islands to discuss ways of improving the position of the Dutch Caribbean community in The Netherlands.

According to Aboutaleb, the well-being of the Dutch Caribbean community in The Netherlands cannot be seen separately from the well-being of the people living on the Caribbean islands of the Kingdom.

The Mayor singled out the women in the Kingdom. "Women, mothers and daughters are powerful, they are strong and withstand everything. Their achievements are impressive and they deserve respect," he said.

Minister Plasterk pointed out that the Kingdom is more than the delta of large rivers forming The Netherlands. "We share a history with the four countries of the Kingdom and we are looking towards the future. We meet each other, look each other in the eye, understand and show true interest in each other."

Plasterk said that it is even more important to make an effort to understand one another, because of the large distances in kilometres and the differences in culture. "It will make us better people if we all do so. Looking beyond our own borders. That is of great value to the cooperation in the Kingdom," he said.

Culture, and especially music, provides an excellent opportunity to meet each other and to appreciate the relations in the Kingdom, said Plasterk. "This concert is a sign of élan and optimism. Let's express that message with pride. You are not here for the words, but for the music, the universal language that we have besides Dutch, English and Papiamentu."

After these opening words, the musical part of the Kingdom Concert which had as theme the Mazurka, kicked off. Pianist Randal Corsen of Curaçao played classical Antillean and Caribbean Mazurka. The Codearts group danced ballet inspired on the Mazurka. Their dance expressed the ties in the Kingdom, sometimes synchronised and at times more loose.

The performance of Curaçao-born singer Giovanca was one of the highlights of the evening. Curaçao-born jazz pop singer Kris Berry and singer and rapper Pete Philly of Aruba, were also well appreciated by the audience of several hundred people. At the start of the evening, before the Queen and her son entered, the audience was shown the movie Mountains and Molehills about Saba and Vaals in The Netherlands.

Source: The Daily Herald Sint Maarten

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