By Roy Lie Atjam.
H.E. Ambassador Rumen Alexandrov hosted a reception in The Hague on 7 March 2019, celebrating the 141st year of the re-establishment of the Bulgarian state. It was the end of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) that ultimately led to the signing of Treaty of San Stefano of 3 March 1878.
The reception also celebrated the 110th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. An exposition showcased documentation pertaining to the longstanding cordial diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Ambassador Rumen Alexandrov started his welcome remarks by saying: it is my privilege to welcome you all this evening to celebrate the National Day of Bulgaria We have arranged a small exhibition of facsimiles of documents related to the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and the Netherlands, but also illustrating the Bulgarian presence in The Hague in multilateral fora back more than century ago. For example, you may be surprised by the fact that Bulgaria was represented in full capacity at already at the First Peace Conference in the Hague in 1899.
Nowadays we work with the Netherlands bilaterally, but also as EU members and NATO allies on a wide agenda with the ultimate aim to make our countries stronger, our communities safer, and our economies more prosperous.
Last year, my country has also demonstrated its positive political agenda and leadership during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU which was also an opportunity to enhance our bilateral relationship with the Netherlands (with numerous high level visits to our country of the Prime Minister Mark Rutte, many of the Government ministers, members of parliament and hundreds of Dutch officials ).
This year the Bulgarian – Dutch cooperation at local level was symbolically marked by another special event: the second largest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv was passed the title of European Capital of Culture for the year 2019 from the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in Friesland, the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Plovdiv – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, integrates an abundance of cultural events, a well-developing business sector and a rich history. Populated successively by Thracian, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs and Bulgarians,
Plovdiv is currently a cosmopolitan city – a home of different nationalities, cultures and religions. Plovdiv is celebrating its year in the spotlight as “European capital of culture 2019” with a rich programme of nearly 500 cultural events.
Our cooperation at local level is also very strong, having in mind the excellent cooperation for already 18 years between the twinning cities Dordrecht and Varna, which has developed strong ties in the business, cultural and social sphere and I take this opportunity to thank to the people from the Dordrecht Varna foundation and from the municipality of Dordrecht who are today with us but mostly to our special guest and friend of Bulgaria Mr. Arno Brok, the King`s Commisioner for Friesland, who previously was Mayor of Dordrecht, and who contributed immensely to the Bulgarian-Dutch relations in particular between Dordrecht and Varna, and to whom I have the pleasure to give the flour now.
Following Mr Arno Brok ’s remarks, Alexandrov proceded with his remarks. I take once again this opportunity to congratulate the people of Bulgaria on our National Day, and to thank you all for coming tonight to celebrate this special occasion with us.
Few more remarks – the distinctive red and white tassels you have seen around are known as “Martenitsa”. They are the Bulgarian way of celebrating the arrival of the spring. We wear them for health and good luck.
In conclusion, the young Bulgarian musician – Emilian Tоdinov, played on one of the best-known Bulgarian folk instruments, the Gaida – the Bulgarian bagpipe. A reception followed.