Central and Eastern Europe, Diplomacy, Events: Limburg, International Journalism and PR, Limburg

Armenian medal for journalist Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska

On February 15, Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska was awarded the high Armenian Medal of 30 years of Armenian-Dutch Diplomatic Relations at the premises of the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in the Hague by H.E. Ambassador Viktor Biyagov .

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H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Viktor Biyagov said: ”Mrs Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska Chief Editor of Central-Eastern Europe Centre has been awarded with the Medal ‘’30 years of Armenia-Dutch Diplomatic Relations’’ for the contribution to raising awareness about the Armenian cause steps aimed at the addressing the existential threats Armenians are facing’’.

H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Viktor Biyagov thanked Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska for her many years’ devotion to Armenia.

The medal has been established on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between Armenia and the Netherlands in 2021 three decades after the independence of Armenia, which became an independent country again in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The medal is awarded to thirty individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the development of the new Armenia since 1991.

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Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska said while receiving the recognition: ‘’ Your Excellency, Mr Ambassador Viktor Biyagov. Thank you so much for this honorable recognition. I was born and I live thousands of km away from Armenia but Armenia is part of me, my heritage. Through the work for my Central and Eastern European Center I have been supporting and promoting Armenia for more than 20 years. I have and I will keep on doing it. This honorable recognition I feel will make my ancestors proud, proud that generations later Armenia is still alive in our hearts, even thousands of kilometers from its borders. Shnorhakalut’yun Hayastan. Thank you, Armenia.”

The event was attended by the closest family of Ms Bruggeman-Sękowska, her husband Aloys Bruggeman, RERA honorary consul of the Republic of Lithuania, their three children Alexia, Victoria, Maximiliaan and Mr Patrick van Schie, PhD-friend and colleague member of the board of the European Institute on Communist Oppression and director of the TelderStichting.

 From left to right: Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Ms Mariam Virabyan , H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in the Hague Mr Viktor Biyagov, Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska, Aloys Bruggeman-honorary Consul of Lithuania, Patrick van Schie, colleague member of the board of the European Institute on Communist Oppression and director of the TelderStichting. ©communications-unlimited.nl

After decoration Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska was presented with a beautiful Armenian shawl presenting Armenian alphabet and guests were offered Armenian wine and other beverages.

Consul General Ms Mariam Virabyan presents Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska with a beautiful Armenian shawl depicting Armenian Alphabet. ©communications-unlimited.nl

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Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska is an award-winning international journalist, TV correspondent, author, chief editor of international journalism centre, Central and Eastern Europe Centre established in 2003, president of the European Institute on Communist Oppression and a sworn translator. She was born in Warsaw, Poland and has also Armenian blood and roots in Lvov, which is part of Ukraine. She lives in Heerlen, the Netherlands.

Limburg-Armenian relations

Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska who lives and works from the Dutch region of Limburg says that this award has a special dimension to her since the Dutch-Armenian relations in Limburg has been strong for ages.

Saint Servatius, born in Armenia in the fourth century, brought Christianity to the Netherlands and was the first bishop of Maastricht. He died there around 384. The Basilica of St. Servatius was built on his grave. His feast day is May 13. In honor of Saint Servatius, there is the Saint Servatius procession in Maastricht on the first Sunday after this date. The Armenian community also participates in this.

In 2016, the Armenian community in Maastricht donated a monument to the city of Maastricht in honor of Saint Servatius.

The 2.5 meter high monument is a traditional Armenian chathkar, a standing cross stone, and is placed against the Basilica of St. Servatius.

On January 26, 2013 the first Armenian church in Limburg was opened and consecrated in Maastricht. The church called ‘Surp Karapet’ (Holy Forerunner) serves as a connecting factor between the Armenian community and the region. Armenians indicate that they feel connected to Limburg and would like to integrate. The services are public and everyone is welcome.

The Dominican Church in Maastricht contains part of the oldest fresco in the Netherlands by Thomas Aquinas presenting 10,000 Armenian martyrs. In addition, a cross from Surb Giragos Church from Diyarbakir and various other objects can be found in the treasury of St. Servatius Basilica.

In 1993, the first small gatherings of the Armenian community were held in the Maris Stella building in the Witte Vrouwenveld in Maastricht. As more Armenians settled in the city and its immediate vicinity, the need for a fixed structure in meetings and activities also increased. The Armenian Ani Foundation was officially established on November 25, 1999.

The Armenian Ani Foundation is the largest cultural institution in the entire region (Dutch Limburg, Belgian Limburg, Liège and Aachen). Thanks to the efforts of the foundation, the city of Maastricht has become known among Armenians at home and abroad and the grave of Saint Servatius has become a place of pilgrimage.

Our Central and Eastern Europe Center would like to thank wholeheartedly the previous Ambassador of Armenia to the Netherlands Mr Tigran Balayan for wonderful cooperation between the Armenian Embassy in the Hague and our Central and Eastern Europe Center.

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