King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands talks about courage and perseverance on his Christmas show – Royal Central
Speech by King Willem-Alexander in its entirety:
In October, I received this first copy of the last translation of the Bible. The old sources have been converted into the language of our time on the basis of the most recent knowledge. The story of Christmas too.
A helpless child as a sign of hope. The story of Jesus’ birth continues to appeal to the imagination. It has been said at all times and in all places. In the festively illuminated churches. But also in barracks and air raid shelters. Everywhere and again and again it gives people comfort and courage. Even now, this Christmas has to be so much more sober and calmer than we all hoped for.
Stories give meaning and purpose to our lives. By telling and listening to stories, we connect with each other.
Each of us has our own story. After all, we humans are very different. We look at life in very different ways.
We are free to think and believe whatever we want. Free to form and put into words our own vision of the world. Fortunately!
I have the privilege of meeting the most diverse people in my work and hearing their personal stories.
Sometimes it is a story of courage and perseverance.
Like at the Van Weel-Bethesda Hospital in Dirksland, where a nurse told me about the exhaustion of many intensive care patients. I immediately thought of the war of attrition this must be for her and her colleagues. An effort to date by all those wonderful doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who go on and on for our health.
I also hear stories of pride and ambition.
Students from TU Delft working on the mobility of tomorrow: clean and climate neutral.
And the company of Deurne. It manufactures electric buses with lightweight materials and aerospace techniques. The employees told me how they started with a small club and how proud they were of their team’s success.
In other stories I hear, worries and tensions are central.
A farming family in Overschild, Groningen, with a dairy farm. Will one of the kids still be able to take over the business in the future, with all the misery of leaking manure pits and other earthquake damage?
Police, firefighters and paramedics that I met last month in Rotterdam, after the irrational violence there. A policeman with 37 years of experience said: “I have never experienced this”. A young officer told me how he had taken care of a victim and had been shelled with stones.
Sometimes I hear stories of intense anger and hopelessness.
The conversation with a group of parents embroiled in the benefit affair left a lasting impression on me. Dutch citizens whose lives have been destroyed. One of them recounted how she came to the Netherlands with her parents when she was little. His mother and father had always told him: If you do your best and work hard, you can go far in this country. Now a disappointed woman was sitting across from me. It touched me deeply.
There are many other stories that I remember. As different as they are, it seems to me that they also have a lot in common. The same elements come back.
Again and again – in everyone – there is a need to be heard. Look at me. Listen to me. Put yourself in my place. Allow me to participate. Allow me to contribute!
We have no shortage of stories, but sometimes we have a hard time listening to them and seeing the people behind them. Even though we know we can never agree on a topic, we must keep looking for what we share. Even though the points of view are distant, we must continue to live together.
In the midst of all the uncertainties, everyone is looking for a connection. Even under the thickest armor, there is still a desire to work with others for a better future.
Perhaps this is where the seed of a shared story lies.
What I see is the willingness of many people – young and old alike – to help solve problems that affect us all. Like the coronavirus pandemic. But also climate change, which we ourselves created and from which we are now suffering the consequences.