Welcome by Mayor Jan van Zanen on lighting the Christmas tree lights in Hotel Des Indes, 7 December 2022
Dear Yvonne van der Klaauw,
How wonderful it is to be here with you today.
Gathered around the Christmas tree in Hotel Des Indes.
A hotel with a long and rich history.
The guestbook includes many familiar names.
Such as Theodore – Teddy – Roosevelt, President of the United States.
Descendant of a family with Dutch roots.
115 years ago he travelled to The Hague to take part in the second Peace Conference.
As you probably know, that conference was an important milestone on the road to The Hague becoming international city of peace and justice.
The construction of the Peace Palace, for example, had just started at that time.
Peace: we are only too happy to sing the word at Christmas.
‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all men’.
The reality, sadly, is rather different.
The Hague provides shelter to people who have had to flee their country, their city and their homes due to the violence of war.
Women, men, children.
From Ukraine or one of the many other war-torn countries.
For all these people the festive season is far from carefree.
The same is true for business owners and people living in The Hague who are weighed down by financial worries brought on by inflation and high energy costs.
Therefore I call upon on you: please help all these people in whatever way you can.
Help them through these dark December days.
If only with some small gesture of humanity.
So that they know: “we have not been forgotten”.
I warmly wish you all a happy and peaceful festive season.