Published On: Tue, Jul 3rd, 2018

The King said his visit to Curaçao was “beautiful”

Excell ArtsWILLEMSTAD - King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima closed their lightning visit to Curaçao on Monday afternoon with a visit to the Excel Arts Academy, winner of the Appeltje van Oranje, the annual prize of the Oranje Fonds, of which King and Queen are the patron.

Subsequently, a meeting was held in a youth center with participants in the Opportunities for Young People program, which was previously also supported by the Oranje Fonds. The King characterized the visit to Curaçao on departure as "beautiful." According to Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath of Curaçao, it was "totally successful".

The royal visit to the award-winning Academy was one of the highlights of the full day of the royal couple on the island. It was also one of the few occasions that King and Queen could move because their participation earlier in the day in the festivities on the occasion of Dia di Bandera (Flag Day) consisted mainly of sitting and watching. On the Brion Plaza in Willemstad, Monday morning was three hours in a row. At the Excel Arts Academy, the couple could at least walk around, watch demonstrations of the dance and drama lessons and engage in conversation with the participants and instructors.

'Young and socially enterprising' this year was the theme that the Oranje Fonds had chosen for the Appeltjes van Oranje. We searched for young people who are committed to society in a special way. The Excel Arts Academy that Shelomi Doran-Bakhuis founded in 2000 not only emerged as one of the three winners, but also received the largest Appeltje at the Noordeinde Palace at the beginning of last month - an extra royal praise.

Doran-Bakhuis was slightly nervous for the special visit, but the children and young people who give her and her volunteers a chance to develop their artistic talents were not very aware of restraint. They lived out in the demonstrations, told the curious King and Queen about their goals and wishes, and shouted and clapped enthusiastically when Orange Fund Director Peter Douwes emphatically put the Academy in the limelight once again. "You are the future", he said to the participants he praised for their courage to use and develop their talent.

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