Speech by mayor Jan van Zanen at the benefit concert for Ukraine, 13 April 2022
Good evening everyone, Dobryy Vechir,
I hope you have enjoyed a varied musical programme this evening. Although ‘enjoyed’ is perhaps not the right word. Maybe it offered you some distraction or comfort, stirred up your emotions or, indeed, made you think of the unimaginable tragedy that is currently unfolding in Ukraine.
If the programme went according to plan – unfortunately, I could not be here – then there was also an auction of high quality art. Not least, because both those who donated work and those who bought it want to provide Ukraine with practical support. The same applies to the individuals and businesses who also pledged their support this evening by sponsoring medical packages and emergency transports. It is not my place to say it, but thank you, nevertheless.
As I understand the ‘Help Ukraine Desk’ was also launched this evening. An initiative devoted to the 44 million people in Ukraine who now lack the most basic necessities: food, drinking water, medicine and warm clothing. And for seed, too, for example, because the sowing and harvesting must continue. The funds raised by this benefit concert will go to the hard hit ‘Okhmadyt ‘ National Children’s Hospital in Kyiv.
The Hague is doing everything it can to support Ukraine. We are welcoming refugees, enabling them to stay here for the time being. Our residents are involved in many different aid initiatives. Those in our international city who have ties with Ukraine, know how this can best be achieved.
Apart from which The Hague is the city of peace and justice. And international law, which at the moment does not seem to be able to do much yet. The Peace Palace, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice are all here. Close by is the International Criminal Court which is currently investigating and documenting alleged war crimes. So that the guilty can later be brought to justice.
As mayor of this city I am pleased that I could be here for almost the conclusion of this memorable evening. My compliments to everyone who made it possible. To everyone who cares about Ukraine, I wish you strength and endurance in these difficult times, now and in the coming period.
Thank you very much, Dyakuyu.
And now enjoy the music.