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Princess Beatrix presents Silver Carnations awards at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

The annual presentation of the Silver Carnations took place at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam yesterday, and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands was on hand to present the awards.

Established in 1950 by Prince Bernhard, Princess Beatrix’s father, the annual Silver Carnations awards are given to three individuals who voluntarily show dedication to a cultural or nature cause.

The awards were founded as part of the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, and their unique nature can be attributed to the fact that Prince Bernhard was known for frequently wearing a carnation in his lapel. Prince Bernhard handed out the awards every year until his death in 2004 and, following his passing, Princess Beatrix took over the honour, attending the ceremony every year since.

This year’s honorees were Jan Buisman, Elise Wessels and Pieter Breuker.

Hague resident Jan Buisman was honoured with a Silver Carnation for his research and publications as a Dutch historical geographer. The 92-year-old calls weather “the main sideshow in history” and has published several books, including his extensive series: Thousand Years Wind and Water in the Low Countries which overviews the climate from the eighth century to present day. He has published six volumes in the series thus far and is busy working on the seventh book in what the Silver Carnations award jury call “an important reference book of historical weather [which is] part of our cultural heritage’.

Elise Wessels was honoured with a Silver Carnation for her role as a “modern benefactor” for the visual and performing arts. For her eightieth birthday, Wessels celebrated by donating a unique collection of over two thousand Japanese prints to the Rijksmuseum. Wessels said that she likes “to give a warm hand” and the Silver Carnation jury praised her generosity and highlighted it as a guide for others who want to make a difference. They added that “the collection is unique in the Netherlands”.

Pieter Breuker was honoured with a Silver Carnation for his sports history research and was proclaimed “king of sports history” at the award ceremony for his “bold and ambitious approach to sports history.”

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