On May 11, the celebration of the Polish National Day of May 3 was celebrated in the Old City Hall of The Hague in the Netherlands. During the celebrations also the open air exposition of works by a famous Polish artist Jerzy Nowosielski, whose 100 anniversary of birth is marked this year was launched by H.E. Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Ms Margareta Kassangana.
Nowosielski was one of the most outstanding Polish artists of the 20th century. Born to a Ukrainian father and a Polonised Austrian mother, Nowosielski was brought up in a blend of Polish and Ukrainian culture, and his art brings together both the heritage and pride of Poland and Ukraine.
The celebration of the National day was attended by around 450 distinguished guests, diplomats, High representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires and of international organisations, the NATO Command in Brunssum.
H.E. Margareta Kassangana with Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska and Aloys Bruggeman, honorary consul of Lithuania ©communications-unlimited.nl
© Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Hague
Ms Ambassador in her speech talked about the National Day during which the the Constitution of the Third of May, first in Europe and the 2nd in the world is celebrated. In May 1791, the Government Act of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth known as the Constitution of the Third of May was passed, which was a progressive and courageous legal act, initiating a number of visionary reforms, which laid the foundations of the modern democratic system.
‘’At the root of the Constitution laid a well- established tradition of a free and tolerant state. For centuries, continued Ms Ambassador Poland has been a melting pot of various ethnicities and religions – a safe haven, offering refuge for different religious denominations fleeing persecution, that included Jews.’’
She added: ‘’We Poles have freedom in our DNA. We constantly fought for it during the partitions, when Poland disappeared from the map of the world for 123 years, falling victim to the imperial policies of its neighbours. Our desire for freedom and our historical experience are behind Poland’s absolute and categorical condemnation of the unlawful Russian aggression against the sovereign and independent state of Ukraine.
Ukrainians, fighting today for their freedom, independence and the right to freely choose their future, fight for the freedom of the whole Europe. They remind us about something that we might have forgotten – that peace cannot be taken for granted and that freedom is worth paying the highest price.‘’
Ms Ambassador stressed that as centuries passed, many things have changed in Europe, but Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is a sober reminder of that imperialism and an outrageous attempt to trample Ukrainian dreams of a democratic and fully independent country.
‘’That is why today, standing here in the city of peace and justice, we need, as never before, to defend strongly a rule based international order and support the international justice system.’’
Furthermore, she added that both Poland and the Netherlands, although so different because of their geography, history and traditions, are nevertheless so close because of the shared love and respect for freedom. It is no coincidence that today Poland and the Netherlands are standing shoulder to shoulder to strengthen European security.
During the reception the guests enjoyed delicious traditional Polish food prepared by the Polish restaurant Kleine Zakopane, food products produced by such Polish companies as Wedel, Premium Rosa, Fruit Family, Microfood, Vortumnus, Łomża beer company, Chodeczek ham producer and tried Polish wines from the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. Gathered guests could also learn about interesting tourism destinations in Poland thank to the info and goodie bags prepared by the Polish tourism office.
Author: Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska is an award-winning international journalist, TV correspondent, author, chief editor of international journalism centre, Central and Eastern Europe Centre, 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 has been living in Heerlen, the Netherlands since 2005.