Yesterday Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima and Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel of the Netherlands attended a Red Ribbon Concert at AFAS Live in Amsterdam. The concert was put on to raise international interest and attention for AIDS research and response worldwide, and to show solidarity for those living with HIV and AIDS. For more than 15 years Princess Mabel has been dedicated to the fight against AIDS and was praised by the late Nelson Mandela for her dedication.
The concert saw performances from 40 young musicians including the Ricciotti Ensemble, Berget Lewis and the Dutch gospel choir, Sjors van der Panne, Ellen ten Damme, Jim van der Zee and Maaike Ouboter. Performances were also given by the Dutch National Ballet and musicians from Zimbabwe, Curaçao and Chile.
The concert took place ahead of International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day on Sunday. Started in 1983 and falling on the third Sunday in May every year, International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day commemorates those who have died from AIDS. It is also a potent global campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS. From the organisers website: “With 33 million people living with HIV today, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.”
The Red Ribbon Concert was accompanied by a pop-up exhibition which the royal couple visited earlier in the day to hear stories of people from all over the world who are living with HIV. The mobile exhibition will be travelling throughout the Netherlands in the coming months in the lead-up to international AIDS conference AIDS2018, which will take place in Amsterdam later this summer.
The AIDS2018 conference will run from 23 until 27 July 2018 and will see 20,000 people in attendance including international scientists and doctors, AIDS activists and people living with HIV. From the conference website: “The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health issue in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights. Each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic.”