King Willem-Alexander attends iftar to gain more understanding about Ramadan
Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited a community center in Rijswijk on Monday to take part in an iftar, the evening meal to break the fast during Ramadan. The king visited the Wijkcentrum Stervoorde, and emphasized the importance to learn about each other’s culture to gain a better understanding of those making up part of the community. Rijswijk Mayor Huri Sahin hosted the gathering.
The king was welcomed by the mayor on arrival, after which he met and shook hands with an imam, and was introduced to a reverend, and a pandit. Then, after a speech by the imam, the king took part in the iftar, which traditionally started with dates and milk. Local residents from different cultural backgrounds also came together during the meal. A total of ninety people took part in the event.
The dinner consisted of Afghan, Surinamese, Turkish, Syrian, Moroccan and Dutch dishes. Fattoush salad and chicken in turmeric yogurt sauce were included as part of the menu.
The king spoke to local residents about the neighborhood and about the activities that are organized there. During the conversations, the king asked why those present participated in the meal on Monday, and said that it was nice that there were people with different backgrounds and religions. "Understanding is important," he said at one of the tables where he sat down.
The king also asked many questions about traditions, including the practice of fasting. Every month, local residents can join the Wereldkeuken in the community center, where volunteers prepare meals "from their country of origin.” Willem-Alexander also stated that cooking is a beautiful thing, because it brings people together and people always need to eat.
King Willem-Alexander also joined an iftar in 2019, when he visited the Mandelaplein community center in the Transvaal district of The Hague. Even then, the king talked to local residents about the importance of the community center.
The iftar on Monday was organized by Welzijn Rijswijk, an organization "dedicated to strengthening the well-being of the inhabitants by seeking connection and improving social cohesion.”
Reporting by ANP