Toespraak Prinses Laurentien bij opening gebouw van Europese School Den Haag

Toespraak van Prinses Laurentien bij de opening van het gebouw van de middelbare school van de Europese School Den Haag (ESH). De ESH geeft onderwijs aan kinderen van medewerkers van de instellingen van de Europese Unie. 

Chers amis, dear friends, Lieber Freunde, lieve vrienden,

Je ne peux pas vous dire combien j'attendais avec impatience aujourd'hui.

It’s a day of celebration, whereby a diverse community is coming together and getting to know each other – students, teachers, support staff, parents, the municipality of The Hague… I feel lucky to stand here, not just to welcome you nationally, but also as a member of this very special neighbourhood of The Hague.

Your mission is inspiring: to provide a positive, open-minded community that fosters ambition through rich cultural and academic opportunities and inspiring lifelong learning. And I know that most of all, you want to help your pupils to become responsible, future-focused, proactive and resilient citizens of Europe and the world. And rightly so – active citizenship seems more important than ever before in a world that is often confusing, polarized and under pressure. Our natural environment is calling out for help. Education, solidarity and community-building are key leverage points for a sustainable future…

It seems contradictory that to create a harmonious an inclusive community, we must embrace and stimulate diversity. I have always been fascinated by the notions of ‘the other’ and differences between people. Different from what or whom? And who decides on what the norm is? Aren’t we all ‘different’? As Jean Monnet said: “beyond differences and geographical boundaries, there lies a common interest.”

But just like Europe, no community is built “all at one or according to a single plan”, to cite Robert Schuman, another founder of the European Union. It takes motivation, effort and successes. Your school is a community in which everyone is different. Not just in nationalities and languages. More fundamentally, each of you has your own talents, thoughts, feelings, ideals, dreams and ambitions. But also insecurities about living up to expectations, anxieties about who you are and want to be and doubts about fitting in… There’s no such thing as perfection and all those aspects make us human.

Le respect et l’appreciation des différences de tous, crée une base solide pour une communauté forte et durable. Le vrai dialogue - à la fois au sein et entre les générations - aide a se comprendre en profondeur. Car le vrai dialogue demande la compassion, la curiosité et l’ouverture d’esprit…. Trois aspects qui forme la base de tout développement.

I know from experience that changing schools, country and culture can be challenging. 

So I hope that this location, with such a rich history, fosters an energizing learning environment, an open and safe space for dialogue and community-building. In this way, all students develop a sound identity and intercultural understanding that will prepare you for a future in which you can connect, communicate and collaborate with others on a local, national and global stage. 

J’y crois fortement que l’école européenne La Haye sera un membre active de cette communauté.

Soyez-les bienvenus, I wish you every luck in the world!