Ambassador van Hell told the gathering that the museum signified Hungarian culture and was testament to the sovereignty of Hungary. This made him think of his own culture, and he recalled that Dutch women had been given the right to vote in 1919, the year after Hungarian women were.

The ambassador said the museum made him think of these things. He said everyone was aware that World War Two had left scars, but looking back on 1949, this was when the Council of Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) had been formed. This had created a community dedicated to the rule of law, democracy and respect of individuals. Hungary had joined NATO 20 years ago, in 1999, and the European Union 15 years ago, in 2004.

All these strong sovereign states were working together, Ambassador van Hell said. At present the spotlight was on the European Parliament elections on May 23-26, 2019, and he urged people to use their democratic vote.

He said there had been a lot of international visits between Hungary and the Netherlands in the past six months, not only government players but also non-government organisations such as Amnesty International, Transparency International and the Helsinki Committee. Entrepreneurship was also important, there are 850 Dutch companies operating in Hungary, and 24 of them sponsored this event.

The ambassador said three-quarters of his embassy's staff were Hungarian and everyone working there was dedicated to one another. Although his country was ranked one of the happiest in the world, he had truly enjoyed Hungary in his year-and-a-half here. He raised a toast to King Willem-Alexander, who succeeded his mother, Queen Beatrix, following her abdication on April 30, 2013. The king was born on April 27, 1967.


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