Letter from Mayor Tjapko Poppens about King's day, Remembrance Day and Liberation Day
Dear Amstelveen Citizens,
Spring is in full spring. Under normal circumstances, we would be looking forward to the special days we celebrate each year together throughout the whole country: King's Day, Remembrance Day and Liberation Day. Everyone will understand that the events and commemorations cannot take place this year. At least, not in the setting we are used to.
There are definitely things we can do: we must not let these days go by unnoticed. Especially in these difficult times for many, it is important and valuable to commemorate the dead, to remember the liberation of our country 75 years ago, and to celebrate King's Day together. Let's do what we can to make these days special days.
King's Day, 27th April
It is what it is: this year we are celebrating King's Day at home for the first time since World War II. On 27th April 2020, no free markets, performances, events or other forms of gatherings may be organised, not even for children. Spontaneous neighbourhood or street gatherings are not allowed either.
That does not mean King's Day is not happening at all. What can we do? A number of actions have been set up nationwide, such as a national aubade at 10 a.m. with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and a national toast at 4 p.m. Besides this, you can organise all kinds of things by yourself within the applicable rules. Think of live streams of performances, online bingo's, online quizzes and competitions.
To bring an orange atmosphere to our city, the Stichting Amstelveen Oranje (Amstelveen Orange Foundation) makes an appeal to all citizens of Amstelveen: display the flag and put an orange item in front of the window. The Stichting Amstelveen Oranje will reward the nicest and most creative expression with a surprise. Further to this, the Stichting Amstelveen Oranje will be visiting the nursing homes with 3,000 orange tompouce cream cakes for residents and care workers.
Remembrance Day, 4th May
For many people in the Netherlands, the commemoration of the dead is an important moment in the year. Especially this year, when it has been 75 years since our country was liberated. This makes it even more painful that the commemoration cannot take place in the traditional way. Instead of commemorating the dead together, we will be commemorating at home this year.
The National Commemoration on Dam Square in Amsterdam takes place without the public, and will be broadcast live by the NOS. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will be laying a wreath at the National Monument, only in the presence of Prime Minister Rutte, Mayor Halsema and Chairman Verbeet of the National Committee 4 and 5 May.
Since no commemoration ceremony with the public can take place in Amstelveen either, the Stichting Amstelveen Oranje will provide a different implementation of the commemoration of the dead. During the day, wreaths will be laid at monument 40-45 on Amsterdamseweg. On behalf of the city council, I will lay a wreath at the monument. Later in the day, other organisations will lay a wreath, also without any public. RTVA will make a special commemoration report and broadcast it during the day.
In cooperation with Platform C, Stichting Amstelveen Oranje invites everyone who plays an instrument to play befitting music in their own garden, balcony or from the open window from 7:30 p.m. and to play the tattoo signal at 7.58 p.m. At 20.00 hours we will take two minutes’ silence. After that, everyone is invited to sing the Wilhelmus, the national anthem, at home.
Liberation Day, 5th May
The Netherlands was liberated on 5th May, 75 years ago. This special year was a reason to celebrate this day more exuberantly than usual. Unfortunately, that will not be possible: this year we will also celebrate Liberation Day at home. For example by following the ambassadors of freedom, Roxeanne Hazes, Snelle, Lucas & Steve and Kris Kross Amsterdam online or via social media. And by sharing with each other the thoughts and emotions we have with 75 years of freedom.
A few weeks ago, all children of the Amstelveen primary schools were invited to make their own freedom flag and post a photo or video of their flag on #amstelkids. They have also been invited to participate in a poetry contest about freedom. The best writers will be given the opportunity to present their poem to Amstelveen via RTVA on 5 May.
Do hang in there!
We have been living in an unusual, and for many of you, difficult situation for weeks now. A situation that demands a lot of us. I sympathise with everyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by the virus or by the restrictions we have to live with until further notice.
In the interest of our health and the health of our loved ones, we must persevere. The rules are simple and everybody is familiar with them: stay at home as much as possible and, if you go out of the house to do some shopping or for a stroll, always keep a distance of 1.5 metres. Groups of three or more people are not allowed. This also applies on King's Day and 4 and 5 May.
We trust you will continue to adhere to the measures. Police and city enforcers will continue to take firm action against those who do not. Fortunately, by far the majority of Amstelveen citizens keep to the measures. I would like to thank you for your discipline, understanding and patience. Only together we can overcome this crisis.
It is good to see that difficult circumstances also bring out the best in people. People help each other, with small and large initiatives. People look after each other. And people come up with creative ways to make everyday life more bearable, more fun and more beautiful. Let's use this solidarity and creativity to give meaning to these special annual days.
I wish you much strength and yet, also a pleasant time!
Mayor of Amstelveen