King Willem-Alexander has made his first Christmas address to the nation, in which the relationships between people took centre stage.
Seated in front of a fire at his home in Wassenaar, with photographs of his children, wife Máxima and parents behind him, the king spoke of the importance of working together and the connections between people.
The king referred to the effects of the economic crisis that some people are feeling, and the suffering of people elsewhere in the world because of natural disasters, hunger, hate and terror.
‘Whoever loses a job or company, or cannot find a job or work any more, loses more than financial security,’ he said. ‘Our work is part of who we are and helps shape the vision of ourselves and place in society and the world,’ he said.
The king used an African proverb to emphasise the importance of relationships. ‘People are people because of other people,’ he said.
Christmas is a festival which foresees peace on earth, the king said. Peace, he said, begins close to home, in the family, the street, the neighbourhood, the club, the village and the city. Everyone can contribute to peace by seeking connections with each other.
The king listed several examples: people who open their homes to children in trouble; buddies who are there for people with serious illnesses; innovative entrepreneurs who have a strong social awareness; and neighbours who take the initiative themselves to improve their locality.
The king concluded by referring to his investiture on April 30. It was a day in which the collective power of people could be felt, he said. ‘For many people, and for me, it was an unforgettable experience. We must welcome the year ahead of us in the same spirit. There are many great things to be done.’