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Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven to open Canadian Inuit art exhibit

Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her husband, Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven are opening a Canadian Inuit Art exhibit in the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s founding.

The exhibit mostly consists of pieces from the collection of Hans van Berkel, who is a collector of Inuit art in the Netherlands. He recently donated his entire collection to the Museum Volkenkunde, which consisted of soapstone statues and items from the daily life of the Inuit. The exhibit will also have several pieces from the private collection of Princess Margriet and Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven. The items had a special place in the couple’s home. “So we could look at them every day. But we also like loaning the items to this museum so that other people can enjoy them as well,” said Princess Margriet.

They have a special connection to the country as it was the country of Princess Margriet’s birth.

Princess Margriet was born in the Ottawa Civic Hospital as the family had been living in Canada since 1940 after the German occupation of the Netherlands. The maternity ward where Princess Margriet was born was temporarily declared to be extraterritorial by the Canadian government, causing it to be unaffiliated with any jurisdiction, thus making the Princess solely Dutch. Dutch nationality law is based on the principle of jus sanguinis, so it was not necessary to declare the ward Dutch territory for the Princess to become a Dutch citizen. However, since Canada follows the principle of jus soli, it was necessary for Canada to temporarily disclaim the territory.

She was named after the marguerite, the flower worn during the war as a symbol of the resistance to Nazi Germany.

During the 1970s, the couple travelled to the north of Canada several times, where they spent time with the Inuit people.

The exhibit is organised in cooperation with the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands and is open until 7 January 2018.

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