On January 28, 2019, Chatham MP Dave van Kesteren gave a speech in Parliament and introduced a private member bill to create Dutch Cultural Heritage Day in Canada.
He said, “It is my hope that by establishing the Dutch Heritage Day, Canada recognizes the voice of a grateful nation that says, ‘Thank you Canada,’ and in response, Canada recognizes all that the Netherlands has given us and says, ‘Thank you Holland. ‘ “
In his opening remarks he also mentioned “Canada shared many things with the Netherlands, but the greatest bond was forged in 1940, when the Royal Dutch family took refuge in Canada, during the Second World War, and with the future Queen Juliana gave birth to Princess Margriet at the Ottawa hospital, “he said,” a room was declared extraterritorial and for the first time, a Dutch flag was hoisted on the peace tower.
“So as destined by that fate, Canadians find themselves fighting for the liberation of the Netherlands, and on May 5, 1945, the Dutch were freed again.”
In recognition of this extraordinary sacrifice, the Netherlands began sending tens of thousands of tulip bulbs every year – the Dutch National flower, followed by a gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs given by the Royal family after the war. Every year, Canadians make a pilgrimage to the Netherlands, and Dutch children with their parents lay flowers and care for graves and memorials.
After the Second World War, more than 200,000 Dutch immigrants settled throughout Canada, contributing to Canadian society in all walks of life. Today more than one million Canadians can trace their heritage to the Netherlands.
“I hope that celebrating every May 5 as a Dutch heritage day, will have the same inheritance, and appreciate this friendship and bond for years to come,” Chatham said.
On April 10, 2019, the ballot took place in Parliament. The Canadian Parliament has declared Dutch Heritage Day May 5 after unanimous support for M-207. In recognition of the sacrifices made by Canadians for the liberation of the Netherlands, as well as contributions made to Canada by people from the Dutch heritage, the government recognizes every May 5 as Dutch Heritage Day to honor this unique bond.
The motion was approved by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ottawa, who followed the process very carefully.
“Historic ties that bind us like the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadians, and the wave of Dutch immigration into this country, have established very close friendships between our two countries. We are very proud that the Canadian Parliament recognized May 5 as a Dutch Heritage day. We look forward to celebrating this day with all Canadians, “said Henk van der Zwan, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
– Submitted by Pieter Koeleman
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