"You are indispensable": King calls for compassion, forgiveness in "tough" 2020
As in previous years, NL Times has produced a full English translation of King Willem-Alexander's 2020 Christmas Address. His speech was recorded earlier in the week inside the Chinese Hall at the Huis ten Bosch palace in The Hague.
During his six-minute annual Christmas Day address from the Huis ten Bosch palace, Dutch King Willem-Alexander asked the people of the Netherlands to abandon hatred and divisiveness, and instead practice forgiveness and understanding. "At the end of a tough year, this is not the Christmas we hoped for," he said.
"In living rooms all over the Netherlands, seats remain empty, while we would have been more than happy to bring in extra chairs." The King said it has been a year marked by nearly endless grief, with lives turned upside down, and with people being forced to keep their distance when what they need is a loving embrace.
Despite the many difficult stories he has heard throughout a year marred by an intense pandemic and the difficult social restraints which followed, he reflected that, "The coronavirus pandemic awakened the very best in us," and said people must remember that everyone needs their voices to be heard.
"You may be tired of tension, suspicion, and fanaticism," he said. "You may be quietly yearning for a little mutual understanding. Relaxation. Ordinary kindness." Willem-Alexander spoke directly to those people, to tell them they are certainly not the only ones who feel that way, even though at times they might think of themselves as an outsider.
"Let me reassure you: You are not. You are indispensable. Even the quiet voices deserve to be heard."
Repeating a prominent theme from his Christmas speeches in previous years, Willem-Alexander asked people to remember that "there is always room for nuance," adding that curiosity, study, self-reflection and irony are among the best cures for a troubled state of mind.
He asked that people remember to be forgiving, particularly at a time when so many are facing tension and stress. "We humans were not created to hate each other. A country in which people approach each other with a little love, is a country in which people can feel at home, even in times of great uncertainty."
Willem-Alexander closed his eighth Christmas speech to say, "Christmas is traditionally the festival of the returning light after the darkest period of the year." In that spirit, he added, "Have patience. The sun will return. The light will return."
In wishing everyone a blessed Christmas, he vowed, "We will be able to meet and hug each other again."