Kings Day in Warsaw

On Thursday, 26 April 2018, we celebrated King’s Day in Warsaw, together with our Polish contacts, diplomats and Dutch citizens. King’s Day, 27 April, is our national holiday. On this day we celebrate the birthday of H.M. King Willem-Alexander. It’s is a day on which people dress in orange and party together with concerts, street markets and festivals.

In his speech ambassador Ron van Dartel expressed his deepest respect and gratefulness for the Polish liberators of WWII who fought for the freedom of our country, some of whom were present during the King’s Day reception. He also expressed his admiration for the highly successful democratic and economic transition process Poland experienced in the past thirty years. ‘Poland became our close ally in NATO and we could welcome Poland in the EU. The country that liberated parts of the Netherlands returned as a free country in our framework.’ Looking forward, the ambassador told the guests he counts on Poland as partner, in the center of decision-making, fulfilling the commitments agreed on in our treaties, defending common values and playing its role in adapting the European framework to our future needs. The complete speech and pictures can be found below.

Speech Ambassador Ron J.P.M. van Dartel at King’s Day Reception 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, respected colleagues, dear friends, waarde landgenoten

It is a great pleasure to welcome you all, also on behalf of my wife Brigitte and my colleagues from the Embassy, to our King’s Day celebration.

A special welcome to our dear veterans, who fought for the freedom of my country. We are honoured by your presence and will never forget what you have done for us.

This day we celebrate both the 51st birthday of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and his first 5 years-lustrum as monarch. This morning, I have sent the Palace a message congratulating the King and his family on behalf of the Dutch Community in Poland and Belarus. Tomorrow our country will be orange again.

This year we celebrate regained 100 years of Polish independence. I would like to express my congratulations. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate one hundred years of Polish-Dutch diplomatic relations. These hundred years make me a humble diplomat aware of my modest role in our relations during a small interval in time.

The last thirty years are within living memory of most of us present here today. In ’89 we were delighted to receive Poland back in our midst. Poland became our close ally in NATO and we welcomed Poland in the EU. The country that liberated parts of the Netherlands returned as a free country in our framework.

Since then Poland has experienced a highly successful democratic and economic transition process, putting Poland back on common track, making the country an important and reliable partner. With impressive economic growth, the country and society have developed in a remarkable way. Living conditions of the Polish people improved and personal liberties returned.

Moreover, from the beginning our countries worked together in this process, with the annual Utrecht conference as valued proof of that. Both countries benefitted from the remarkable economic transformation. Currently Poland is the eighth trade partner of the Netherlands and we are the sixth export destination for Poland. The Netherlands became one of the main investors in Poland and Polish investments increasingly find their way the other way around.

In the last few years, it has become clear again that we can never take freedom and security for granted, not even in Europe. The current timeframe shows us the importance of commitment and reliable partnerships with the responsibility and solidarity it requires from the participating countries.

We highly value Poland as an indispensable EU- and NATO partner. With our strengthening partnership, we even see our expectations growing. We count on Poland as partner, in the center of decision-making, fulfilling the commitments agreed on in our treaties, defending common values and playing its role in adapting the European framework to our future needs. This year our countries stand together as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, which reaffirms our partnership in peace, justice and development. I would like to wish our Polish partners success in their almost starting chairmanship of the Security Council.

Before we will play our national anthems, I would like thank our sponsors, logistics company Raben Group for the generous support, Żywiec/Heineken for the more liquid support and cheese company Beemster. I also hope you enjoy our beautiful garden, with the specially cultivated tulips to honour general Sosabowski and general Maczek.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I invite you to join me in a toast to His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, to Queen Maxima, to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Poland and to the friendship between Poland and the Netherlands.