On November 27th Embassy of the Republic of Albania to the Netherlands celebrated with their guests the 106th Anniversary of the National Day of Albania in the Lutheran Church in the Hague.
Speech: Armenia cultural heritage and the Albanian-Dutch relations
The evening was opened with the speech of H.E. Ms. Adia Sakiqi, Ambassador of the Republic of Albania to the Netherlands, in which she talked about Albanian cultural heritage and Castriot’s mission of forging ties with Western Europe and amalgamating Southern Eastern Europe into the European system. She also stressed the strong relationship between Albania and the Netherlands.
The celebration marked three very important moments in the formation of the Republic of Albania. First, the 106th anniversary of the independence, declared in Vlora in 1912, second on 29 November Albania also celebrates its 74th anniversary of its liberation. This year also marks the commemoration of Skanderbeg, known as (George Castriot). Skanderbeg played a significant role in forging a European presence and relationship with the Balkans states of the time more 600 years ago.
Ms Ambassador in her speech added that in order to mark these celebrations, she believes it is only right to showcase an imperative piece of Albania’s cultural heritage also as part of a European Identity. The performance of the evening added a cultural aspect to an already strong relationship shared between Albania and Netherlands.
The formation of diplomatic ties between the Netherlands and Albania dates back to 1970. The Netherlands is the second investor in Albania. Along with economic ties, the relationship between Netherlands and Albania is increasingly extending to tourism.
Ms Ambassador stressed the significant role The Netherlands has with regards to development in Albania. The creation of a more independent impartial, efficient and professional judicial system in Albania, is encapsulated in the expert legal Dutch presence in Albania.
The Netherlands has been a significant contributor to the rule of law reforms in Albania and has therefore, aided in the facilitation of change in the Albanian judicial system. The embrace of the rule of law reforms also comes to signify Albania’s eagerness to embrace the EU. The presence of initiatives such as EURALIUS, with predominantly Dutch composition from the EU level, as well as Matra Rule of Law Program of Foreign Affairs, and project like CILC’s together with Ministry of Justice and Security, are very important in supporting the democratisation processes in Albania, Ms Ambassador added
Albania is steadfastly driven and already working hard towards membership in the EU. Building further long-term relationships with EU member states including the Netherlands, the founding father of EU, is crucial, Ms Ambassador concluded.
The speech was followed by the national anthems of Albania and the Netherlands and by an amazing concert of polyphonic music performed by Himara Polyphonic Group. Polyphonic music is traditional part of Albanian folk music and is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Himara Polyphonic Group performed 12 songs written by an Albanian singer and composer Neço Muko and by Odhisea Goro, Thanas Beni.
On November 28 Albania celebrates its Independence of 1912.
The Ottoman Empire collapsed in the first Balkan War that began in October 1912. Albania was afraid of invasion by Greece, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Spain. Ismail Kemal bey Vlora (1844-1919), also known in Albanian as Ismail Qemali- leader of the movement for free Albania -returned to Albania with Austro-Hungarian support. He together with a formed assembly declared Albanian independence in the town of Vlora on 28 November 1912.
Although the declaration had a theoretical character since Vlora was the only town in the country under the control of delegates it turned to be effective.
Albanian independence was recognised de facto on 17 December 1912 at the London Conference of Ambassadors,but it was not until 29 July 1913, after the second Balkan War and the solving of the delicate problem of Shkodra, that the international community agreed to recognise Albania as a neutral, sovereign and hereditary principality.
From that day it is a public holiday, offices, schools and companies are closed on that day in Albania.
Sources: Embassy of the Republic of Albania to the Netherlands, Communications-Unlimited.nl, Albanianhistory.net, Wikipedia
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Himara Polyphonic Group
With H.E. Ms. Adia Sakiqi
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