Saturday, December 2, 2023

Roman Catholic Vicar Dr. Ad van der Helm leads off the “Prinsjesdag Viering” in The Hague

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By Anton Lutter.

The annual tradition before the state opening of parliament, known as “Prinsjesdag” was lot different this because of Covid. Usually it takes place at the Grote Kerk with hundreds of guests – of all religious denominiations – including members of the government and parliament.

Now the Prince’s day celebration was reduced, but important enough not to abolish. The venue Roman Catholic St. James church at Parkstraat, guests included Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus and Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld.

The chairman of Prinsjesdag Stichting (Prince’s Day Foundation) is the well known Roman Catholic pastor in The Hague Dr Ad van der Helm. But that’s not all he does, he’s – amongst other positions – adjunct-professor of canon law at Leuven University (Belgium), a clerical judge for Surinam and chair of The Hague Council of Churches. It was the first time that Prince’s Day celebration was aired on national television. Vicar van der Helm’s, welcoming speech:

“We have noticed in recent months that human life is precious. Because of care and because of the economic situation, extra money is being spent on supporting people. It takes courage and guts to spend so much money.

In spite of this generosity, tensions are growing and irritation is increasing. People feel that their fundamental rights are being eroded. 

We would almost forget that this year we are commemorating 75 years of freedom. 

What do we do with this freedom? 

In the following clips, peacemakers will have their say. They draw on their personal convictions to express this peace and to give it substance, because human life is precious. 

Religious streams see in man a reflection of the Eternal. They each express this with their own words and with different images. Humanism underlines the inviolability of mankind. The great diversity of people confirms this starting point. Take a look at the passers-by in the clips: they are all precious.

We have recently experienced unprecedented restrictions on freedom in peacetime.  However, precisely in isolation that people have come closer together.  Through special initiatives of connection, people have supported each other and helped each other through difficult times. We need to hold on to each other in the time to come.

So, there are always choices to be made, because the other is precious. Freedom to protect the other person’s precious, that is our motto today. For now I wish you a moment of peace and rest”.

Photography by  Ad van der Helm with His Holiness Pope Franciscus. Source:

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