Announcing Great News!

H.R.H. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands is coming to Goderich, May 14th, 2017

The “Dutch-Canadians Remember As One” organizing committee is pleased to announce they have received official word, that Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her husband Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven has graciously agreed to be present in Goderich May 14th this year for a celebration of friendship between Canada and the Netherlands. Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa during the Second World War, and has become an enduring symbol our nations' special relationship.

“It is gratifying that Princess Margriet and her husband are coming to unveil a plaque at Liberation Memorial Park in Goderich in May this year, as Canada marks its 150th anniversary celebration of the confederation, says committee chair Sid Bruinsma. “Princess Margriet and her husband will be visiting this region –where many Canadians with Dutch roots live – to celebrate the historical ties between our countries and to support our current cooperation in a variety of fields, such as innovation, economy, and defence. Both countries share the same values and a vision for the future, and I like one of the one-liners of the Netherlands Embassy in Ottawa: “Canada & the Netherlands - two countries, one spirit.”

Through the month of May, Ontario celebrates its Dutch heritage and pays tribute to the close bonds of friendship our two countries have developed since 1945, when Canadian Forces played a pivotal role in liberating the Netherlands. After the Second World War Canada became a popular destination for Dutch immigrants and many settled in Ontario. Nowadays, Canada counts more than one million Canadians of Dutch descent and almost every Dutch family has relatives in Canada.

In Goderich the upcoming visit of the Princess and her husband will be highlighting the Canadian sacrifices during the campaign to liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945. “I came to appreciate this bond in a tangible way when (co-chair) Jim Rutledge and I visited Holland in May, 2015”, says Sid Bruinsma. “We attended the 70th Dutch Liberation Anniversary celebration and were overwhelmed with the warmth and respect we received as Canadians.”  

Local historian Jim Rutledge points out that 7,600 Canadians, including 20 Huron County servicemen, gave up their lives to Liberate the Netherlands,. “We want to reach out to all veterans and the families of our Huron County “20” to express thanks. We are working to connect this generation of Huron County residents with the continued friendship and gratitude expressed by the people of the Netherlands.”

The organizing committee has been meeting for the past two years to re-imagine how to create a living connection with our young people. “We would like to take advantage of modern technology to create a memorable, world class event in Goderich, and then maintain that connection by providing a unique dynamic website that will endure for many years afterward,” says committee media manager Patrick Nagle of the Rural Business Network. “Canadians are not very good at telling their own stories. Our service people came home wanting to get on with their lives, rather than relive the past war experiences. Unfortunately, that leaves much of our nation’s story untold. We will capture this story with first hand accounts while we still can”, says Nagle. The website will invite participation from our veterans, their families, and Dutch immigrants who settled in Canada after the war. Participating military units from the 1st Canadian Army will be invited share their regimental histories, participate in the May celebration, and make known their continued commitment to freedom.”

The May 14th event begins at 2:30 p.m. when Princess Margriet, accompanied by her husband, Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven arrive at Liberation Memorial Park in Goderich. The couple will then review a parade and unveil a plaque which honours the Canadian sacrifice in the Liberation of the Netherlands campaign.

Princess Margriet and her husband will then travel to the Trinity Christian Reformed Church in Goderich where a concert will be performed by the Royal Regiment of Canada, accompanied by pipers of the 48th Highlanders. During a reception, the Princess and her husband will be meeting with veterans, and the families of the 20 Huron County servicemen killed during the Dutch Liberation campaign. A scroll of remembrance will be signed by both Princess Margriet and Professor Van Vollenhoven, which includes the names of each of our “Huron County 20”.

We are honoured to host Princess Margriet and Professor Van Vollenhoven in Huron County on this historical occasion. We are grateful to all the organizers and supporters who have helped make this possible.

-30-

A News Conference is Scheduled

at Goderich Public Library

Thursday, May 4th, 10:30 a.m.