Burgemeester Welcome Royal Welcome Event for expats

Speech Mayor Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, City Hall, 27 April 2017

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Utrecht, welcome to the heart, the very heart of the Netherlands.

We are honoured to host you, here in the Utrecht City Hall, to witness one of our country's greatest traditions: the King's Birthday. In every city and village, and according to tradition this day starts with an aubade. As you may hear, outside, the bells of the Dom Tower are ringing already.

Because we find it important that you feel home in our country and in the Utrecht region, the Economic Board Utrecht invited you to take part in the aubade. It may add even more colour (mainly orange) to your first experiences in our region, confirming its attractiveness and hospitality. As you will see, during the King’s Birthday Dutch people of all origins, all colours, all ages, all natures, all beliefs present themselves in their most festive light. Orange clothes and other attributes are everywhere during the countless festivals and free markets, organized in villages and town quarters by highly motivated volunteers. Making The King’s Birthday lesson one in any course 'Understanding the Dutch'. An ideal day, in other words, to practice the information you absorbed or are going to absorb during introduction days or language lessons.

And please do not forget to share your experiences on the 'Expat Utrecht Facebook Page', which will welcome its ten thousandth member during the coming summer.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are happy to host you in our country and in our region and no less on The King's Birthday. In a moment, you'll be witness, outside, of the beginning of everything, the aubade. Although you may have noticed that the Utrecht Free Market already started last night.

Please plunge into the crowd, enjoy yourselves here in Utrecht, not only in the City Centre but also in the town quarter where you live, because this is an ideal day to get to know your neighbours. Thank you very much.