Queen Beatrix has called for people to show interest and compassion for each other and warned that contact via mobile text messages and internet cannot replace face-to-face engagement with those around you.
Speaking during her traditional Christmas Day address, the queen said technological advancement has made people more independent and more aloof.
In difficult times, physical presence is needed to create a feeling of solidarity and express compassion, she said. ‘Real contact consists of words and deeds.’ In the past, people knew each other but today people are mainly busy with themselves, said the queen.
”We tend to look the other way and close our eyes and ears to what’s going on around us. Nowadays even our neighbours are strangers,’ said Queen Beatrix.
And she warned that the lack of community feeling means our lives are empty. ‘It is not possible to fill that emptiness with virtual meetings,’ she said.
Her Christmas message was recorded at the palace where she lives, Huis ten Bosch, and broadcast on public radio and tv at 1pm and repeated later in the afternoon.