Speech by Jan van Zanen at the opening of the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival, 17 March 2024


Ambassador Rogers,

All the Irish in The Hague,

And everyone who feels a little bit Irish,


How wonderful it is to be here, together with you, enjoying this festival once again.

The biggest celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in the Netherlands.

With this festival now taking place in The Hague for twelve years in a row.

And for me this is the third time that I get to be here.

I want to offer everyone who has come here today from outside our city:

a very warm welcome to The Hague.

Although today, where we are now standing, you might think you were actually in Ireland.

It could not be more Irish.

Or greener.

But then again, The Hague is, after all, a city where the world is at home.

So Saint Patrick’s Day really fits with our international character.

It is a festival for everyone.

Whether you were born here, in Ireland or anywhere else in the world:

Saint Patrick’s Day surrounds you with warmth and cheer.

Celebrating life, together, as one.

Have lots of fun today.