King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has called for the return of reason in his annual Christmas speech.
“Celebrating Christmas can be confrontational and make us think. Close to the place where the crib once stood, there is now fear and violence. The hardships of the regular people there – including many young children – in Syria, but also in other countries are unimaginable. Violence can come so much closer. Terrorist attacks, like those in Berlin this week, have put many families into mourning this year. Christmas 2016 gives rise to conflicting feelings. That is why I have struggled with the Christmas speech.
In these uncertain times, we need to keep our feet on the ground. Those values that traditionally belong to the Netherlands will also determine our ability to get ahead in the future. Even now when the hold of the world is lessening, we must keep the things we share and protect that which connects us. Because that is how we wish to live together. Like free and equal people. People with a different opinion shouldn’t be afraid to voice them without being threatened, intimidated and discriminated on the basis of religion, race, sex or sexual orientations. These rights are for everyone, always.
In these uncertain times, anger and fear are understandable emotions. But anger can never be the final destination. The peace that we so desire will not come closer if people give up and burrow. Peace begins with protecting the things we share and turning to positive forces. With you, we can not do that. On Christmas, we are encouraged not to give up. Not to give up on each other. Every person counts. The light of Christmas shines for us all and make us visible to each other again.”
The annual Christmas speech is the most personal of all the speeches the King gives, as he writes most, if not all himself.
King Willem-Alexander and his family will be spending the Christmas holidays in Argentina with Queen Maxima’s family as they have done for the last few years. They flew there on a commercial flight on Saturday morning.