Message from Jan van Zanen at the lighting of the Swedish Christmas tree on Lange Voorhout, 8 december 2021


Ambassador Oljelund and everyone watching,

Dear Johannes,

Dear Theo,


Coming together on the Lange Voorhout, lighting the lights in the Swedish Christmas tree, raising a glass together.

It is a fine tradition which has been kept alive for almost a quarter of a century now.

Many thanks to the Swedish Embassy, the 2005 district local community and the sponsors.

Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, we cannot do this in person. The pandemic still keeps us in suspense.


Once again we will be celebrating Christmas and New Year in a small circle.

Here we offer each other warmth, security and hope.

Now, in particular, it is all the more important not to forget anyone.

Visit someone, give them a small gift.

Or do something for an initiative in your neighbourhood.

Do it for those who lack the support of loved ones.

They may be elderly, single or homeless, but they could also be migrant workers or expats who will not be travelling to their homes or families.


This celebration is a virtual one, as we meet each other on YouTube.

But the tree on the Lange Voorhout and the lights on its branches –  they are real.

As always, this giant from the North reminds us daily that soon it will get lighter again and spring will come.

Soon we will be able to go out and meet each other again in the international city of The Hague.


I wish everyone happy holidays and a wonderful New Year.

God Jul och Gott Nytt Ar!