We must stay united, says Dutch king

speech of King willem Alexander
King Willem-Alexander wearing the ermine robe (April 2013). Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

King Willem-Alexander addressed the nation last night. He began his televised speech by expressing his condolences to the victims of the coronavirus.

He also expressed his appreciation to all those who are contributing to the fight against the virus and called for people to help in the battle against loneliness. The speech was recorded on Friday afternoon in his office in the Paleis Huis ten Bosch in The Hague.

King Willem-Alexander said people are currently giving it their all, especially doctors and nurses. “We are proud of our healthcare professionals and the entire medical sector,” he said. He mentioned other professions too.

‘We can’t do it without you’

“There are people who are indispensable when it comes to preventing public life from coming to a standstill – people who work in logistics, the supermarket, cleaning companies, ICT, education, childcare, public transport, the police and all the rest. We simply cannot do it without you. Thank you very much.”

According to the king, this crisis demands a lot from everyone in the country. He was particularly concerned about older and vulnerable people. “But, fortunately, there is a lot we can do,” King Willem-Alexander said. “We know who needs extra attention in our immediate vicinities.”

“This is something we have to go through together, and people realise that. We cannot stop the coronavirus, but we can stop the virus of loneliness. Let’s work together to make sure no one feels abandoned.”

‘A year to remember’

He concluded, optimistically, saying, “If we stay alert, united, and compassionate, we can handle the crisis together. 2020 will be a year all of us will remember for a lifetime. I hope and expect that a sense of togetherness and pride will continue to unite us”.

And the king is right. People across the country are responding to the call to unite in these troubling times. The hospitals in Eindhoven are being inundated with help from all sides.
“We are getting everything, from protective materials such as masks to flowers, food boxes, fruit, and fruit juice. Too much to mention actually”, says Jesper Rijpma, spokesman for the Maxima Medical Centre.

The Fontys University of Applied Sciences is one of the places providing aid. They told the press that about a thousand masks, used in their Nursing course, are being now sent to the hospital. The college is also sending 49 bottles of disinfection hand gel to them.

In other news, a triage tent has also been placed at the entrance to St Anna Hospital in Geldrop. The tent has been put up so incoming and outgoing patients and staff can be checked for the coronavirus.

Image credit: Coronahulp Eindhoven’s Facebook page

Coronahulp Eindhoven

The Facebook group, Coronahulp Eindhoven, was started by Maartje de Vries just over a week ago. Now it has more than 5,500 members. This number climbs every day. Maartje started this Facebook group to match the supply and demand for help during this coronavirus outbreak.

“People want to do health others in these difficult times”, she says. People are sending cards to each other, or doing shopping or cooking for someone else. Or taking people’s dog for a walk or are ‘just’ being there to listen.

Similar online ‘market places’ for givers and takers of coronavirus aid have also sprung up in other towns in the region too. These include Geldrop and Mierlo-Hout. People in the Eindhoven district of Stratum even have their own coronavirus help group on Facebook.

Translator: Chaitali Sengupta, who gives Inburgering classes in Meerhoven. Click here for more info.

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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