King’s Christmas address focuses on freedom, respect for all
As per Dutch tradition, the King addressed the nation in his Christmas speech on Christmas day. This is the third Christmas speech King Willem-Alexander gave. According to him, the Netherlands fought hard for its freedom, and we must maintain that freedom, but without giving into our base fears.
The King started his speech by stating that Europe is facing one of the biggest challenges of the past decade, with the recent terrorism attacks in Paris and the large groups of refugees "cast adrift by terrorism and violence" seeking refuge and a chance at a better life in the Netherlands and surrounding regions.
Many people in the Netherlands are worried about the future and protecting their way of life, according to the King. "What is particularly close to our hearts, is our freedom and ability to make our own choices. For that freedom we fought so hard and made so many sacrifices!"
Freedom is important to the Netherlands, from the very beginning. And the Dutch managed to do a lot of good with that freedom. "We have built a democratic state that belongs in many ways to the strongest in the world." the King said. Though there is still much to do to make sure that everyone is involved and that everyone is heard, not only the loud voices.
It is only understandable that many fear for that freedom. "Of course we want to protect what is dear to us. We do not have to hide our fear away or deny it. But we must also not give it the reins to our life and let it dominate our society. Tranquility and mutual trust are friends of freedom."
According to the King, we need to stand together for our democracy and our constitutional state when it comes to major challenges. "Peace is not for the idle. It requires courage to listen to each other and to hold our own ideas critically up to the light. This courage is required from all of us, now that we have to work together to find a way in a turbulent time. The challenge is now to show what we, together as liberated country, are really worth."
These difficult times show again how much we have in common with the countries around us, according to the king. "Belief in freedom, Respect for the life of every human being and for everyone's right to make their own choices. Solidarity with those who really need our help. Concern for the future of our planet, as was shown this month in Paris, where the European countries marched united."
"I have great confidence in the ability of our country - even now - to respond to this call and to remain a community of free people", the King concluded.